Mentally ill Taiwanese friend


I have a Taiwanese friend I’m rather worried about. She’s 40+ and quite troubled. Paranoid delusional. I understand mental illness is something of a taboo in Chinese culture. Still, I’d like to help her in some way. Any advice? Who to contact? What to do? How to approach it?

Any feedback is appreciated.


Given that it’s taboo in the culture, if she hasn’t asked for help/assistance, she may be resistant or resentful for you to make a suggestion. Dealing with mental health, in any culture is a sensitive matter because of the connotations surrounding it. My suggestion would be is to discuss your concerns with her in such a manner that she is able to feel safe to reveal her problem if there is one. One way is to make sure she understands that her behavior is not WHO SHE IS. If she is able to feel confident in sharing herself, then you can suggest what measures people take in the West to enable themselves.

You can not force her to see what she doesn’t want to be. If her behavior is affecting your life, wellbeing(spiritual/emotional) then it would be wise for you to distance yourself so that you are not affected. Best of luck with this because this is a difficult situation. But remember, you can’t rescue her from herself. You can support her growth, but it’s one she has to be WILLING to make on her own. Other than that , you have to respect her free will.

Best of Luck :rainbow:

Oh, man. This is a very touchy issue…
Don’t want to go into it right now, but I have some very personal experiences in dealing with this kind of dilemma. The enemy is this perception that any admittance to having a mental problem is starting on a slippery slope that can only end in a sanitorium. There is also a very negative prejudice against any medication that affects the mind, including sleep aids. I know my mother gives me shit for taking Ambien to overcome jetlag.

I don’t really know what advice to give you, since I have had nothing but frustration in trying to get this person the help. Except perhaps this – your friendship is important to her. Don’t jeopardize that in trying to pressure your friend into doing something she’s not ready for.

I am really hoping that there can be a sea-change on a society level in attitude towards mental illness soon. Taiwan is still a very reactionary society in many ways, but I believe that positive change will come with time.

Has she sought professional help? There some good shrinks here, although their approach is purely clinical, ie they prescribe medication rather than the couch-style psychiatry-clinical combination we’re used to in the West.

I agree with them, given the human body is nothing more that a complex chemical structure, the brain included; thus prescribing medication to control or inhibit certain behaviour makes scientific sense.