Table of Contents
ISRN Psychiatry
Volume 2012, Article ID 815707, 7 pages
Research Article

Wellness Centre: An Evidence-Guided Approach to Delivering Culturally Relevant Community Psychogeriatric Services for Chinese Elders

1Wellness Centre, Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada M5T 3L9
2Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 1A1
3Applied General Psychiatry, Community Psychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry Programs, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada M5T 3L9

Received 1 November 2011; Accepted 21 November 2011

Academic Editors: I. M. Hunt, J. L. Metzner, and T. Oiesvold

Copyright © 2012 Kar C. Chan and Joel Sadavoy. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ethnic elders are commonly reluctant to access mental health services and their mental health problems are often overlooked and detected late in the course of illness. Prior studies identified major barriers to ethnic seniors accessing appropriate mental health care demonstrating that language and cultural beliefs cannot be ignored if effective mental health services are to be provided to patients from diverse cultural groups. These are particularly important when care is needed by less acculturated immigrant ethnic seniors for whom language barriers are often greatest. Differences in conceptions of mental distress affect ethnic seniors' choice of help-seeking and often discourage or divert aged persons from utilizing mainstream conventional psychiatric care. Despite the extensive need for appropriate service models for ethnic populations, there have been limited data and models to illustrate how these programs can be systematically and effectively integrated within the mainstream mental health service framework. This paper describes an innovative, mainstream, community-based psychogeriatric service delivery model developed for Chinese seniors in Toronto, Canada, aiming at improving their access to care and enhancing earlier mental health problem detection. The important concepts and strategies of designing and operating a culturally acceptable program are illustrated supported by program data and the challenges analyzed.