Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This qualitative study explored help-seeking behaviors for mental health services among Filipino Americans. Filipinos are the second largest Asian American population in the United States and have been identified as one of the high-risk Asian American groups for mental disorders. Yet as a population they remain understudied and underserved. Existing studies are quantitative and have been conducted on college age students that are transitioning to adulthood. We know little about the help-seeking behavior for mental health services among Filipino Americans in adulthood and in their own voice. This study involved face-to-face interviews with a sample of 12 persons of Filipino ancestry that were over the age of 22 years, currently living in the United States, and English speaking. This sample of convenience was skewed towards Filipinos that were foreign-born naturalized citizens, well educated and affluent. The major findings were that positive sentiments about and high utilization of mental health services by the sample was inconsistent with the literature that suggests utilization of mental health services is highly stigmatized among Filipinos. Those who sought counseling did so for problems with intimate partner relationship conflict. Consistent with the literature, the cultural norm of "saving face" was identified as the greatest impediment to seeking mental health services among Filipinos, yet there was little to suggest that mental health services were stigmatized or that saving face was an issue for this sample. The need for culturally specific outreach and targeted education about mental health needs and services in the Filipino community was identified.


iii, 82 p. Thesis (M.S.W)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2007. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 72-74).