RESIDENT: Evaluation of a Novel Culturally Sensitive Mental Health Training Intervention for South Asian Youth Living in Canada

Evaluate the session

Presenting Author(s): Dr. Harleen Hehar, Dr. Raveen Virk

Co-Author(s): Monika Sohal, Ravneet Sran, Jasleen Brar, Dr. Scott Patten

Date and time: 25 Mar 2023 from 13:20 to 13:35

Location: Hawthorn B  Floor Map

Learning Objectives

  1. Identify unique mental health stressors faced by South Asian youth;
  2. Acquire a model for a culturally tailored youth mental health education/training and community outreach program;
  3. Measure the effectiveness of a culturally-sensitive community based mental health training program.



To assess the effectiveness of a culturally sensitive mental health training for South Asians aged 16-25 volunteering to raise awareness of mental illness. We evaluated effects of the training and community outreach on participant knowledge, perceptions, and well being.


A mixed methods, prospective cohort study was conducted with participants (n=15 pre/post-training; n=8 post-outreach). Questionnaires on mental health knowledge and well-being were completed pre/post training and post-outreach. Focus groups to explore responses were also completed. The Mental Health Knowledge Schedule (MAKS) and Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEBMWS) were used to collect quantitative data. Paired t-tests compared scores post-training and outreach (p<0.05).


A significant increase in mental health literacy (MAKS) was observed (p=0.01) immediately after training. There was no significant difference after outreach in both MAKS and WEMBAS scores. Focus groups conducted post-training revealed well-received training aspects and key learning points. The professional panel and culturally tailored presentation of mental health was particularly informative and participants felt more comfortable supporting the mental health of others and self. Post-outreach revealed the realization that the South Asian experience of mental health is distinct, with need for culturally sensitive support.


Overall, our findings suggest that a culturally-tailored mental health training program improves mental health knowledge and perceptions. Given that this was a novel intervention to promote mental wellness in South Asian communities who face unique barriers, continued implementation can have positive benefits.

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