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      Cultural Diversity and Mental Health: Considerations for Policy and Practice


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          The purpose of this paper is to explore some of the key considerations that lie at the intersection of cultural diversity and mental health. Mental health providers and professionals across the world have to work with clients that are often from cultures other than their own. The differences in cultures have a range of implications for mental health practice, ranging from the ways that people view health and illness, to treatment seeking patterns, the nature of the therapeutic relationship and issues of racism and discrimination. This paper will excavate some of these considerations with a view to raising possible ways in which mental health systems and professionals can engage across cultures more equitably and sustainably.

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          Most cited references69

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          Discrimination and racial disparities in health: evidence and needed research.

          This paper provides a review and critique of empirical research on perceived discrimination and health. The patterns of racial disparities in health suggest that there are multiple ways by which racism can affect health. Perceived discrimination is one such pathway and the paper reviews the published research on discrimination and health that appeared in PubMed between 2005 and 2007. This recent research continues to document an inverse association between discrimination and health. This pattern is now evident in a wider range of contexts and for a broader array of outcomes. Advancing our understanding of the relationship between perceived discrimination and health will require more attention to situating discrimination within the context of other health-relevant aspects of racism, measuring it comprehensively and accurately, assessing its stressful dimensions, and identifying the mechanisms that link discrimination to health.
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            The Process of Cultural Competence in the Delivery of Healthcare Services: a model of care.

            Several models of service care delivery have emerged to meet the challenges of providing health care to our growing multi-ethnic world. This article will present Campinha-Bacote's model of cultural competence in health care delivery: The Process of Cultural Competence in the Delivery of Healthcare Services. This model views cultural competence as the ongoing process in which the health care provider continuously strives to achieve the ability to effectively work within the cultural context of the client (individual, family, community). This ongoing process involves the integration of cultural awareness, cultural knowledge, cultural skill, cultural encounters, and cultural desire.
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              The social construction of illness: key insights and policy implications.

              The social construction of illness is a major research perspective in medical sociology. This article traces the roots of this perspective and presents three overarching constructionist findings. First, some illnesses are particularly embedded with cultural meaning--which is not directly derived from the nature of the condition--that shapes how society responds to those afflicted and influences the experience of that illness. Second, all illnesses are socially constructed at the experiential level, based on how individuals come to understand and live with their illness. Third, medical knowledge about illness and disease is not necessarily given by nature but is constructed and developed by claims-makers and interested parties. We address central policy implications of each of these findings and discuss fruitful directions for policy-relevant research in a social constructionist tradition. Social constructionism provides an important counterpoint to medicine's largely deterministic approaches to disease and illness, and it can help us broaden policy deliberations and decisions.

                Author and article information

                Front Public Health
                Front Public Health
                Front. Public Health
                Frontiers in Public Health
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                19 June 2018
                : 6
                : 179
                Social Work, James Cook University , Cairns, QLD, Australia
                Author notes

                Edited by: David Preen, University of Western Australia, Australia

                Reviewed by: Brenda McGivern, University of Western Australia, Australia; Dimitris Ballas, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen, Netherlands

                *Correspondence: Narayan Gopalkrishnan narayan.gopalkrishnan@ 123456jcu.edu.au

                This article was submitted to Public Health Policy, a section of the journal Frontiers in Public Health

                Copyright © 2018 Gopalkrishnan.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 04 September 2017
                : 31 May 2018
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 67, Pages: 7, Words: 6753
                Public Health

                culture,cultural diversity,mental health,mental illness,cultural partnerships


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