How different cultures view mental illness
Culture—a person’s beliefs, norms, values, and language—plays a key role in how people perceive and experience mental illness, whether or not they seek help, what type of help they seek, what coping styles and supports they have, what treatments might work, and more. To effectively serve America’s diverse populations, mental health systems need to understand and respect cultural differences.
Cultural competence is the ability to work effectively and sensitively within various cultural contexts. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) defines it as "a set of values, behaviors, attitudes, and practices within a system that enables people to work effectively across cultures" and says the term "refers to the ability to honor and respect the beliefs, language, interpersonal styles, and behaviors of individuals and families receiving services, as well as staff who are providing such services."
NAMI Fact Sheet: Cultural Competence, A Key for Success
Cultural Competence Now Law in New Jersey, American Medical News (AMNews) 4/25/05.
Cultural and Linguistic Competence Coordinators Network for State, Territorial, and Tribal Mental Health Services Collaboratively organized by the NAMI Multicultural Action Center, National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health and National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development
Cultural Competence on the Web
For more information about cultural competence: