Culture plays an incredibly important role in the cause and reasoning of mental ill health. Cultural beliefs can shape the way people identify stress and the way in which they seek help. In some cultures, people suffering from depression and anxiety disorders can also present physical/psychosomatic symptoms.
Research has indicated that there are more Black Caribbean, Black African and other Black groups in psychiatric hospitals than other ethnic groups. It is also documented that a higher number of African Caribbean people are diagnosed with schizophrenia than other ethnicities.
Other studies have shown that Irish people have a higher rate of mental illness than the general population. This ethnic group is often overlooked because they have white skin, but Irish-born people living in the UK have a higher suicide rate than any other minority ethnic group in the country.
It is important to look at the wider picture when examining statistics. Different cultures respond to mental illness in varying ways. Research indicates that although more Black Caribbean people are treated for psychosis, this may be because of the way in which they express their symptoms rather than because their ethnic group is more prone to the condition.
Racism and mental health-
Minority groups commonly report experience with racism and discrimination, which causes considerable stress and anxiety. In the USA, African Americans and Hispanic Americans report higher levels of stress than white people. As a result, researchers have made the connection between racism and poor mental and physical health.
Racism and discrimination adversely affect mental health and place minorities at risk of depression, anxiety and stress. It is not clear if these disorders can be attributed solely to a person's ethnicity, but it is certain that race is a contributory factor.
How the Priory can help-
The Priory has been helping to treat people who have mental health issues in relation to their culture for over 25 years. We know that everyone's situation is different, which is why we ensure that everyone has a unique treatment plan tailored to their needs.
The type and length of treatment for transcultural mental health issues is dependent on the individual's circumstances and the severity of the condition. Some patients are treated as outpatients, which mean they visit the Priory for hourly sessions with their consultant, psychologist or therapist. Others require a more structured treatment approach which can include staying at one of the Priory hospitals for the duration of their treatment where they take part in the psychological group programme as well as regular sessions with their consultant.