Mental Health in the Tibetan Community
Due in part to the relative infancy of psychology as a subject, a tendency by some researchers to view mental health as ‘less important’ than physical health, and cultural biases, information on the effects of Chinese occupation on the Tibetan community has been focused largely on physical abuse and loss of statehood. When Tibetans have spoken to foreign researchers about mental health, linguistic barriers and different cultural attitudes towards the subject may have blurred data gathering results.
However, just because mental health issues in Tibetan communities have been underreported, this is not to say that these issues do not exist. Rather, there is concerning data which shows that incidences of suicide, substance abuse, and mental health disorders are on the rise.
Tenzin Dakpa explains that Tibetans living in exile are subjected to countless environmental factors which can lead to mental health issues, and observes that many Tibetans struggle with PTSD, anxiety, burnout, toxic and emotionally abusive relationships, stress, eating disorders and perfectionism. He suggests that these issues arise as a result of intergenerational trauma.