A Regional Disability Tribunal for Asia and the Pacific?. TERRY CARNEY University of Sydney. Background. Asia Pacific is the only world region without regional human rights machinery. Serious mental health and disability needs
University of Sydney
In traditional Chinese societies … mental illness is often considered a punishment for misdeeds done by the individuals or their family members. Mental illness is generally viewed as a family problem rather than a societal problem ... . Because of this, families of individuals with mental illness … typically receive minimal assistance from their community and government. Some Chinese families actually choose to keep the fact that one or more family members has a mental illness a family secret rather than seek help because they know that if they reveal this information, they are likely to face stigma similar to that faced by their family member(s) with mental illness (Hsiao & Van Ripper 2010).
Stigma … an overriding concern for the caregivers and their families. It manifests through the prejudiced views toward mental illness held by neighbours, work colleagues or an undifferentiated wider community. So stigmatised is mental illness in Chinese societies that [caregivers] …view[ed] the phenomenon as understandable and reasonable given the disease symptomatology and based on ‘‘historical’’ grounds. Rarely is stigma vigorously contested by caregivers. They actively conceal their family member’s illness from outsiders (including relatives who are not co-resident), even in the knowledge that their actions, such as refusing in-patient hospital treatment since it may ‘‘expose’’ the family, may be detrimental to the ill family member.