New study explores BC mental health support across cultures

Illustration: Needpix

A UBC Psychology undergraduate student has launched a new study to understand the barriers to mental health support for BC residents who aren’t fluent in English.

Anjali Arora, a fourth-year psychology student, is leading the Intercultural Study as part of UBC’s directed studies program. Anjali, whose research interests include mental health and cultural psychology, joins us for a Q&A on what she hopes to learn and how people can take part in the study.

What is the goal of this study?

Our goal is to learn about the perspectives of people living in British Columbia who aren’t fluent in English or prefer speaking in a different language. We want to understand what they think about mental health and BC’s distress services like crisis lines, which operate in English but also use interpretation services for non-English speaking callers. Since very few callers utilize this accommodation, we want to explore the various reasons behind this.

How does the study work?

We conduct a 45 minute interview with a participant on Zoom with the help of an interpreter who can translate to and from the language the participant speaks. We ask them various impersonal and hypothetical questions regarding mental health and services to learn about their perspective on this topic. They are compensated $15 for their time.

What are you hoping to learn?

We want to learn about the reasons behind why such people are unable to access mental health distress services in BC. We hope to create a free web app informed by the data collected and help them gain access to these services. In addition, we also hope to raise awareness about the scarcity of services in languages other than English.

How can people take part in this research?

Any adults living in BC who are not very fluent in English and prefer to speak another language can connect with us by sending us an email at to participate. We would also appreciate it if people who don’t fall under this criteria but know someone who does could refer them to our study.