Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Greyhound Slaying, Immigration, Mental Health and Culture

Posted by chinesecanuck on August 5, 2008

I’m sure most of you have already heard about the Greyhound beheading in Canada a few days ago. The accused is an immigrant from China who apparently has no real history of mental health issues. However, many of his close friends have said that he did seem distant and refused help, according to an Edmonton Journal report. I’m wondering if his refusal for help is cultural-related. The social stigma of mental illness is much greater there than it is here, and therapy is relatively new. I have relatives who find therapy weird, especially if it’s for “normal” people (i.e. those who are depressed. They believe that depression is an invention of the modern middle class). But no one has said that the murderer is depressed. It could be a whole host of issues. But I’m not sure if things will change all that quickly. The culture is very old, and talking to people who aren’t related to you is seen as odd, even for younger people.

When people immigrate to Canada, they are required to have a medical examination. This includes physical and mental health. However, to my understanding, the mental health exam is not too detailed. Should it be more detailed? Perhaps people like this guy would not have been allowed in. If this isn’t a case of depression, it’s likely that this guy has had issues LONG BEFORE HE CAME TO CANADA.

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One Response to “Greyhound Slaying, Immigration, Mental Health and Culture”

  1. Scapegoat said

    I have found non-westerners to be closed-minded when it comes to therapy and depression.

    I would imagine that working at McDonald’s and delivering newspapers at the age of 40 probably exacerbated pre-existing issues.

    Aside from psychiatric evaluations, I think that immigration requirements need to be changed, to ensure that immigrants are filling labour shortages, and they are likely to find a job in their own field. I’ve had underemployed immigrant coworkers who were mean because they were not happy with their jobs. Sure, not all of them become murderers, but we don’t need this kind of toxic environment, in addition to the stresses that we face daily.

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