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Tam An (Inner Peace) Project
San Jose, California

About our project:

Our project goals are to raise awareness and provide prevention and early intervention services for emotional and behavioral health promotion programs to the nearly 100,000 Vietnamese who live in San Jose by engaging schools, families and communities. The cultural bias against mental health programs and services is strong within the Vietnamese community and persists, in part, due to the linguistic isolation experienced by many adults. The project focuses on reducing the stigma that prevents families still living with the trauma of war and forced relocation from addressing the challenges that young Vietnamese struggle with. For more information, view our poster.

Demographic Information:

California:http://www.migrationinformation.org/datahub/state.cfm?ID=CA

San Jose:http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/0668000.html

Our work:

The three project strategies include: (1) weekly radio and newspaper programming for parents and families about mental health, (2) an annual community forum that addresses mental wellness issues in the Vietnamese community, and (3) school-based counseling services for students and weekly psycho-social education for parents at the Morrill Middle School.

Our Partners:

• Asian American Recovery Services
• Morrill Middle School
• Immigrant Resettlement and Cultural Center (IRCC)
• Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI)
• International Children’s Assistance Network (ICAN)
• Viet-American Mental Health Network  (VMHN) VietMHnetwork@yahoogroups.com
• San Khau Viet Cali (SKVC)

What we are learning:

In our Vietnamese community, mental health has been neglected, considered taboo, a sin, or bad karma. As a community, we must recognize and address mental health. Our community is beginning to respond to this need. AARS, Inc. provides a range of mental health services using methods based on non-shame techniques that are culturally competent with proven success within the Vietnamese population.

The following documents record what we have learned during the course of this project. We hope they will be useful to you:
•  Organizing a Community Forum for Vietnamese Immigrants: Report & Findings
•  Screening and Referral Process for School-Based Mental Health Services
•  Derma-Abrasion (Coining) as Healing Technique
•  Community Outreach and Education Strategy For Mental Health Awareness
•  Project Tam An Year 2 Highlights and Lessons Learned

For more information about this project, contact project director Lien Cao at lhcao@aars-inc.org.