Home Institution

Vanderbilt University

Publication Date

Fall 2018

Program Name

Vietnam: Culture, Social Change, and Development


Almost 12 million people in Vietnam have been diagnosed with a mental illness; the prevalence of mental illness within the population means that understanding how people perceive it. Previous research has demonstrated the negative impacts that stigma and negative perceptions of mental illness have and how they can inhibit individuals from seeking treatment for a mental illness. The aim of this exploratory study was to answer the question: How do Vietnamese university students and mental health professionals living in Hanoi perceive mental illness? Fifteen university students and five mental health professionals were interviewed in a series of semi-structured interviews. A mixed-methods approach was used in the analysis of data, interviews were transcribed and the coded using content analysis, in addition to using a context-sensitive method of analyzing qualitative data from responses. The results of the study reveal trends of lingering stigmatization of mental illness among university students in Hanoi. The stigmatization is possibly related to the cultural context and values of Vietnamese society such as Traditional medicine, lack of awareness, and Confucian values. The results of the interviews with the mental health professionals coincide with the perspectives many of the students have. It is not that Vietnamese culture needs to undergo drastic changes to decrease stigmatization, but increased understanding will clarify how it currently matches existing cultural values.


Asian Studies | Mental and Social Health | Other Mental and Social Health


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