Mental Health and Multicultural Perspectives

Living as a foreigner in the U.S.

Having been born in Japan and raised up in several countries such as Japan, U.S., England, and Thailand, the issue of multiculturalism has always revolved around me. This has been especially true since I started to live in the United States and particularly in NJ/NY area which is often times described as a “Melting pot” of the race, ethnicity, and culture. I consider myself to be fully Japanese, however that is my personal perspective and opinion. Others, mainly my peers and colleagues in the U.S., will also refer to me as being Japanese, but once I am back in Japan, people will say I am not fully Japanese that somewhat I am Americanized. People often times have tough and stressful times on acknowledging and accepting one’s identity. Although it is true that some people might choose to adhere to single identity or language in order to present themselves as successfully assimilated individuals, I strongly believe that there are benefits in maintaining multiple cultural identities.

One of such advantages is the expansion of access to possible resources. If you are capable of comprehending and communicating in multiple languages, that will provide you an additional opportunity to find a service that best, or at least better, suits your need. It is useful to know what give resources and services you have access to, especially if you live in the Tri-State area where there is an abundancy of nationality, ethnicity, and culture. It is very possible that, in case if you speak multiple languages, you might be more comfortable to speak in one language over another. Being able to communicate your feelings and opinions more efficiently and clearly have possibilities to optimize the result, therefore it is then more favorable for you to find services that are offered in your preferred language.

Being able to speak, or being bilingual is different than being bi-cultural, or comprehending cultural values and ideology. Another advantage for an individual with multicultural background that is noteworthy is various cultural values or opinions to depend on. Depending on a culture, you will be provided different explanation for a same phenomenon. It will enable an individual to look at one’s problems or questions from multiple perspective, possibly giving an additional insight. Cultural, religious, social, ethnic, and values differ greatly, and could provide diverse solutions. The mainstream value might not fully provide explanation and satisfaction, therefore having an access to wider range of values and opinions can be beneficial.

It is possible to say that maintaining physical and mental healthiness is one of the many goals that an individual might think of, however it is also important to realize that you have to be proactive to find best available resources that you have an access to. It is recommended to do a self-assessment to understand what kind of cultural aspects you have inherited or accustomed to.Mental Health and multicultural perspectives