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Do you consider that contemporary theories of mental health ignore the cultural values of 'others'?

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  • Essay length: 2842 words
  • Submitted: 20/06/2006
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Do you consider that contemporary theories of mental health ignore the cultural values of 'others'?

Word Count: 2509

Interest in the relationship between culture and mental illness is not new (Kluckhohn 1944). However, in recent years, there has been a greater recognition and realization of cultures' influence over individual expression of mental distress, in psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, and in the delivery of mental health care community-wide.

It is clear that cultural values shape the way in which mental symptoms are expressed and how individuals and their families respond to such distresses. Thus dictating when a cluster of symptoms and behaviours are labelled 'normal' or 'abnormal'. Cultural values also determine the accessibility and acceptability of mental health services. Consequently, effective mental health care cannot be separated from the cultural context in which the formation and expression of psychiatric distress occurs.

Nonetheless, diagnosis of mental illness is still by and large taken from peoples' behaviour, often received via second-hand accounts or self reports of emotional state and cognitive processes, which may be inaccurate. Furthermore, there are very few objective, scientific tests that can be carried out to help with this diagnosis or

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