Presented By Richard Oni, Ph.D. November 16 th, 2013
Overview of Today’s Presentation Does Culture matter in Mental Health intervention or healing?
Role of culture in Mental Health Intervention Culture of the client The culture of the client influences many aspects of mental health, mental illness, and patterns of health care utilization.
Symptoms, presentation, and meaning The symptoms of mental disorders are found worldwide there are differences in the way that each client describe or present their symptoms to their clinicians. There are some well recognized differences in symptoms presentation across culture.
Role of Culture What might it mean for us to approach mental health from a culturally sensitive lens? How will each of us take responsibility for upholding an ethic of cultural relevance and critical thinking as we discuss the multiple dimensions of what is known about mental health as well as the populations we represent and work with?
Cultural Competence Questions to Ponder About.. How do we know that our constructs around mental health mean the same thing to our clients? DO processes for obtaining informed consent need to be modified? Is evidence-based and best practices appropriate for people from Sub-Saharan African communities What adaptations are necessary to make sure our treatment programs are effective? How can we begin to see mental health and psychotherapy through the eyes of culture? How much training ( as well as anxieties) do you have working with issues related to cultural relevance with different populations?
Culture Influences and Affects all Aspects of the Illness: It affects the relationship between the client and the clinician Culture accounts for variation in how clients communicate their symptoms and which one they report Culture influences definition of mental illness Culture explains the cause of mental illness Culture and beliefs about how to fix the problem and who should fix the problem Culture influences motivation to seek help and also impacts how mental illness is experienced
Continued.. Culture influences what type of coping styles and social supports people have Culture influences the meanings that people impart to their illness Culture dictates how much stigma is attached to an illness Culture relates to how people cope with everyday problems and types of adversity Some aspects of culture also underlie culture-bound syndromes (sets of symptoms much more common in some cultural communities than others.
Culture influences expectation between the clinician and the client ( different assumptions about what a clinician is supposed to do, how a client should act and what treatments are available) Everyone, and not just those from cultural communities have “culture” therefore clinicians must mindful of their own perspectives and how these interplay with those of the clients and families (as relevant)
Recommendations Service providers need to understand the help seeking practices of immigrants and refugees and through which a victim’s trauma incubates or is internalized. Practitioners and clinicians need to allow clients to teach them about what healing means in their culture or country of origin. Establish professional relationship, high in trust with high personal outcomes. Acknowledge language limitations on adequate self expressions of symptoms. Clinicians and practitioners need to consult with service providers who have expertise in serving African Immigrant populations to upgrade their knowledge and skills.
“THERE IS NO GREATER SORROW ON EARTH THAN THE LOSS OF ONE’S NATIVE LAND”