Postpartum Traditions, Mental Health,
and Help-Seeking Considerations
Among Vietnamese American Women:
a Mixed-Methods Pilot Study
Van M. Ta Park, PhD, MPH
Deepika Goyal, PhD, RN, FNP-C
Tung Nguyen, MD
Hong Lien, BSN, RN, PHN
Denise Rosidi, MPH
The purpose of this study was to explore Vietnamese American mothers’ perceptions and experiences
with postpartum traditions, postpartum depression (PPD), and mental health help-seeking behavior.
Participants were 15 Vietnamese mothers who had given birth to at least one live infant within the
previous year. A screening tool revealed that a third of the mothers had probable PPD. More than half
reported having recent/current postpartum Bsadness^ during the interviews. Postpartum traditions
played important roles in their well-being and maintaining strong cultural values. However, some
reported feelings of isolation and the desire to be able to carry out postpartum traditions more
frequently. Many who had reported sadness said that they would not seek professional help; all had felt
that their condition was not Bsevere^ enough to warrant help-seeking. Future PPD interventions
should consider the importance of postpartum cultural traditions and address help-seeking barriers as
ways to prevent the adverse effects of untreated PPD.
Postpartum mood disorders, in general, and postpartum depression (PPD) in particular, is a
signiﬁcant and preventable public health problem, particularly among populations that underutilize
mental health services. For example, Asian-American mothers may use fewer mental health
Address correspondence to Van M. Ta Park, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Science and Recreation, San José State
University, One Washington Square, MH 514, San José, CA 95192, USA. Phone: (408) 924-2988; Email: email@example.com.
Denise Rosidi, MPH, Department of Health Science and Recreation, San José State University, San José, CA, USA.
Deepika Goyal, PhD, RN, FNP-C, The Valley Foundation School of Nursing, San José State University, San Francisco,
Hong Lien, BSN, RN, PHN, The Valley Foundation School of Nursing, San José State University, San Francisco, USA.
Tung Nguyen, MD, Department of Medicine, The University of California, San Francisco, USA.
Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 2015. 428–441. c
2015 National Council for Behavioral Health. DOI
428 The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research 44:3 July 2017