Hope & Wellness, Together Program

Vietnamese American Cancer Foundation

Grant: $10,000

The Vietnamese American Cancer Foundation’s Hope & Wellness, Together program aims to address the unmet need of emotional and psychosocial support in Vietnamese American (VA) cancer patents/survivors and co-survivors. Studies have shown that Asians with cancer recognized their need for mental health support, but very few seek professional help, feeling that their concerns would not be taken seriously by doctors and their mental health status is beyond their control. As a result, close loved ones are often not informed of the patients’ mental health concerns, or their fear of shame and extra burden on their caregivers and families. VA in particular face barriers of cultural stigma about cancer, and lack of awareness and support for mental health aspects of cancer survivorship. Many VA believe that the immoral behavior of a person in their past life is the reason they get cancer, or that an ancestor’s misconduct causes incurable illness or bad luck to their descendants. This accumulates as ‘bad karma’ and cancer is the punishment. These barriers significantly lead to mental health co-disorders with cancer and those who live with mental health issues often internalize the stigma that exists in the Vietnamese culture, damaging their hopes for recovery. Even worse, both cancer and mental health stigmas are exacerbated by disparities in socioeconomic status and English language proficiency in the VA community. With a grant from Tower Cancer Research Foundation the Vietnamese American Cancer Foundation’s Hope & Wellness, Together program will provide educational series, peer-to-peer and, as needed, professional support (one-on-one and/or group). Hope & Wellness, Together is being developed by mental and public health professionals, key informants and cancer survivors from the community. The program is focused on reducing cancer-and mental health related cultural stigma and resulting burdens in VA cancer patients, improving their mental health outcomes, survivorship, and quality of life.

For more info please visit: https://www.vacf.org/