Address correspondence to this author at Cooper University Hospital 401 Haddon

Address correspondence to this author at cooper

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*Address correspondence to this author at Cooper University Hospital, 401 Haddon Ave., Camden, NJ 08103; Tel: 856-757-7853; Fax: 856-757-9651; E-mail: [email protected] mental illnesses as well as meet the health demands both a young as well as aging population (Conde, 2004). BURDEN OF MENTAL ILLNESS There has been very little research on child/adolescent mental health in the Philippines compared to other develop- ing countries. The World Health Organization Seven Nation Collaborative Study (WHO AIMS, 2007) included the Philippines, and showed that 16% of children had mental disorders (WHO, 2007) compared to 21% in the United States (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999). A study in the 1970's conducted in Lubao City re- ported 18.6% to 29% of children consulting a health center were found to have psychiatric problems (Conde, 2004). A population survey for mental disorders conducted from 1993 to 1994 by the University of the Philippines' Psychiatric Foundation was conducted in three underprivileged urban and rural provinces. It showed the top five most prevalent childhood psychiatric conditions were enuresis (9.3%), speech and language disorder (3.9%), "mental sub- normality" (3.7%), "adaptation reaction" (2.4%), and "neu- rotic disorder" (1.1%) (Conde, 2004). An unexpected finding was discovered in a study of a community sample of Filipinos who emigrated to the United States. They were found to have the second highest fre- quency of depressive symptoms among all Asian ethnic groups, second only to Korean-Americans (Kuo, 1984; Baello & Mori, 2007). Another study showed a greater prevalence of depression for a Filipino American sample in comparison to a white American sample (Tompar-Tiu & Sustento-Seneriches, 1995). Despite these findings, Filipi-
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12 Adolescent Psychiatry, 2013 , Vol. 3, No. 1 Consuelo Cagande nos, both in their native and adoptive countries, greatly un- derutilize public outpatient mental health services compared to other Asian populations. Furthermore, the onset of mental illness in childhood and adolescents can be missed without appropriate screening and services. The majority of Filipinos are Christian and have a strong belief that suicide is a sin, which is generally protective. An- other perception that has an impact on children and adoles- cents is that one’s mental affliction is identified as the fam- ily’s illness and is associated with shame and stigma. Pac- quiao (2004) found that some of the barriers Filipino Ameri- cans face in relation to stigma are: 1) Dealing with established family hierarchy, including protection of family reputation; 2) Fatalism and religiosity, such as magical-religious at- tribution of illness, trusting fate to Divine will, or lacking trust in one's ability to make changes; 3) Communication barriers such as language problems or somatization of complaints 4) Lack of culturally competent practitioners who can speak the patient’s language Filipinos’ source of strength for coping with mental ill- ness is support from family and friends and faith in God.
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