Firstly cultural barrier and
misunderstanding between health care professionals and patients can have a
great impact on people with mental health issues and the support they receive.
This is because Social norms are specific to cultures,and may not be understood
by others when in a different environment/culture for example British
psychiatrists who are mainly male, white and middle class may not be able to
fully understand the behavior, emotions and motivations of individuals from
different cultural and social backgrounds.This could explain why Afro-Caribbean
immigrants are seven times more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia
Failure to Function
Adequately is when a person is
considered to have mental issues if they
are unable to cope with the demands of everyday life. They may be unable to
perform the behaviors necessary for day-to-day living such as self-care and holding down a job(Cardwell,
Rosenhan & Seligman
(1989) suggest that the following characteristics define failure to function
adequately these are: Suffering, Unpredictably & loss of control,
Irrationality/incomprehensibility, Violates moral/social standards etc
It is important for health professionals
to understand the patients background to know whether they are failing to act
adequately according to the culture they are from before making a diagnoses.
Understanding the patients culture will help treatments to be best tailored to
suit them. Lack of understanding and awareness of the patients origin can influence
the individuals mental wellbeing and the support they receive.
It is important for
psychologists to understand the individuals culture in order to effectively
diagnose and support them. The article of unite for sight on the cultural
perspectives on mental health highlights how the view of mental illness may be divided,
even within the same culture.
Study by Abdullah et al.
(2011)explains how American Indians view mental illness. Some tribes do not
stigmatize mental illness, others stigmatize some mental illnesses, and other
tribes stigmatize all mental illnesses.This shows how even within the same
culture mental illness can be viewed differently. It is important for
practitioners to understand this and the influence it could have on the
individuals mental health, their willingness
to seek for help and ability to open up about their mental illness (Flanagan C
et al ,2015) .
Furthermore the differences in origins of the health
care professionals and their patients, may create misunderstanding of the
individuals mental illness and results in treatment often not been tailored
properly to meet the patients’ needs. This
could have an immense impact on the wellbeing of the patient if they are misdiagnosed
or given the wrong treatment plan to help them.
People from black and minority ethnic groups living
in the UK are more likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems, to be admitted
to hospital and to experience a poor outcome from treatment. It is argued to be
the case because often, psychologists and
their patient often come from different cultural backgrounds , which makes it difficult for the practitioner to know if what
they are seeing is a symptom of a mental illness or simply a different way of
thinking, feeling or behaving linked to the patient’s culture. This is why it is
important for the health practitioner to learn about their patients culture and
consider the effects it has on them before making diagnosis.