Zero Stress/零压力

Asian Americans with depression often suffer in silence due to tremendous stigma surrounding mental health problems and their treatment, especially for newer immigrants with more traditional values. Those who do seek help often find that Western approaches are a poor fit for their beliefs and preferences. This mismatch has deadly consequences; for instance, Asian American women ages 15-24 have the second-highest rate of completed suicide of all other racial/ethnic groups, and the highest among women ages 65-84.

We are a group of mental health clinicians, students, and educators who are passionate about improving the mental health of vulnerable immigrant populations. We have been funded by the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care to develop and implement an innovative group-based stress-management intervention for depressed Chinese immigrants at South Cove Community Health Center in Boston. This 8-week program, called Zero Stress (零压力), utilizes a mix of education, group discussion, and practical skills coaching led by bilingual/bicultural social workers at South Cove, and flexibly bridges different cultural understandings of mental illness while avoiding stigmatizing terminology in order to increase engagement into care. Our intervention is shaped by clinical experience working with Chinese immigrants at South Cove as well as an in-depth focus group of depressed Chinese immigrant patients designed to enhance our understanding of their unique preferences regarding terminology and treatment.

Our existing funds have enabled us to conduct the focus group and develop the intervention itself, but now we need your help! We need to raise money for gift cards to reimburse our first group of 32 participants, who will participate in a randomized, waitlist-controlled pilot study of the intervention. This rigorous program evaluation is crucial to ensure that we are actually achieving what we set out to accomplish, to assess which aspects of the program are most effective, and to lay the groundwork for eventually scaling up this intervention to help even more people -- incuding other racial/ethnic minorities who are currently left out of the U.S. mental health care system.

Every little bit helps. As a donor and supporter of this important initiative, we promise to keep you updated on our progress and findings.

Thank you for your support!!

The Zero Stress / 零压力 Team

Tomi Jun, Harvard Medical School
Janine Knudsen,  Harvard Medical School
David Lee, Harvard Medical School
Joanne Chan, Harvard School of Public Health
Tam Duong MSc, Harvard School of Public Health
Sharon Wu PhD, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Katherine Curtiss, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Ina Chu, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Christine Marsico, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Pauline Tan, South Cove Community Health Center
Owan Chow LICSW, South Cove Community Health Center
 Xiaodan Zhou LICSW, South Cove Community Health Center
Albert Yeung MD, ScD, South Cove Community Health Center/Massachusetts General Hospital
Justin Chen MD, MPH, Massachusetts General Hospital


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Justin Chen 
Boston, MA
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