JE11.1 will bring embarrassment and shame to one’s


Overall, the way we view mental illness is changing
for the better. Influential individuals are speaking out and spreading
awareness helping to educate others on mental illness helping to break the
stigma surrounding mental ill health. Although stigma and labelling still
exists, with charities setting days such as World Mental Health day or World Suicide
Prevention day they are helping individuals have a voice enabling them to share
their battles with others hoping to change the opinions that others have on
mental illness helping to create a more positive society for those who suffer
from poor mental wellbeing. JE1 

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Other barriers which may implicate treatment of
mental health is more related to social class than culture. Mental health
services may ne unaffordable for those of a low socioeconomic status,
furthermore individuals whom lack health insurance may try and find alternative
solutions to treat their mental illness. Language barriers may arise, for
example; immigrants where English is not there first language may fear a lack
of understanding during treatment. Studies have proven that if the patient and
therapist is of an ethnic match there is a decrease of premature termination
and an increase of better outcomes. (Leong, 2011)


Furthermore, in Asian cultures there is a
sociological concept known as ‘face’ and the ‘loss of face’ will bring
embarrassment and shame to one’s self and their family. A psychiatric label
that comes with seeking psychological help will impact one’s reputation in the
Asian community. Even though Asian-Americans have one of the highest suicide
rates, a 2003 study carried out by the National Institute of Mental Health found
that Asian-Americans were amongst the lowest to seek professional help. (Peng,
2008) In some cultures such as, India, mental illness is unheard off. There is
not even a term in Urdu or Punjabi for the phrase ‘Mental Health’ or
‘Depression’, this can cause implications for individuals seeking treatment. (Liftcraft,
2016) In India the population is around 1.21 billion and according to the Royal
College of Psychiatrist’s there is around 70million people whom could be
suffering from a serious mental disorder however, there is only around
3,500-5,000 psychiatrists which equals around one psychiatrist to every
200,000-300,000 people. Whereas in America there is over 10 times the number of
psychiatrist for a faction of the population figure. (RCP, ND)


Ethics and culture are intertwined in mental health
care. An individual’s belief or custom may conflict with the views of the
health care professional therefore ethical issues may arise in the treatment of
mental health. A patient may not seek treatment as it goes against their
culture, but in some cases if the patient is suffering from a severe psychotic disorder
they may hear voices which instruct them to harm themselves and therefore it would
be compulsory for them to receive treatment. It would be ethically wrong to allow
a patient with a disorder of this calibre to go without treatment as they may go
onto harm themselves or others. (XploreHealth, 2013)


Culture and sub-culture views will determine
whether an individual seeks help from a health care professional or from
friends and family. Many different cultures and sub-cultures have their own ethnic,
religious and health customs which may cause implications for treatment. A psychiatrist,
Yasir Abbasi, opened up to The Guardian regarding how culture affected
treatment for one of his patients. A young south Asian girl had been diagnosed
with severe depression and Cotard syndrome (A syndrome where the patient
believes that they are already dead) Her family wanted her to be healed with a
spiritual healer as they had the assumptions that their daughter was possessed
by a demon in the Muslim culture known as jinn. Abbasi had then discussed with
the family and the spiritual healer to form the agreement that the girl would
continue treatment in the hospital, but the family were allowed to have
spiritual amulets in the room. (Abbasi, 2016)


Although campaigns are helping to break the stigma
surrounding mental illness, it is still a longstanding challenge. Suzanne Baines,
whom works for the See Me organisation, suffered from mental ill health growing
up and would self-harm. Suzanne found that other individuals would say she was
‘attention seeking’ and show negative behaviours towards her even calling her
‘weird’. She found that she carried the label that comes with having poor
mental health into adulthood especially when she was discriminated at her
workplace. When they found out about her poor mental health past, she was let
go on grounds of lack of capability. (See Me, ND) According to a new research
carried out by YouGov, 67% of British people said that individuals with mental
ill health are the highest group of people discriminated against in Britain
today. (Jordan, 2013) This stigma can arise from many different factors. Early
beliefs surrounding mental illness were set out to cause fear and to excluded
those of mental ill health, where they would describe that the mentally ill
were of demonic possession. (Davey, 2013) This theory behind mental illness is
still present in some cultures today, one woman, Ramila, expressed that in
Indian cultures one will become mentally unwell as a result of karma or a
curse. Furthermore, a woman called Anne, expressed how others in her church
feel that mental illness develops when someone has sinned or has not prayed
enough. (Health Talk, ND)


In today’s 21stcentury society, people
are becoming more accepting towards those with poor mental wellbeing. A report
published by Time to Change found that people’s attitudes towards mental
illness have improved from 1994 to 2012. (Mind, 2013) This shift in thinking
can be due to the rise in social media where organisations such as, The Blurt
Foundation are launching campaigns through sites such as twitter. The Blurt
Foundation recently launched the campaign #WhatYouDontSee giving individuals a
platform to share their story and educate others on mental illness helping to
break down prejudice and stigma. (Hinde, 2016) On the 10th October
2017, the hashtag #WorldMentalHealthDay was trending on various social media
platforms. Thousands of individuals took to social media to share their story
and positive thoughts towards mental health helping to raise awareness.
Furthermore, many celebrities such as, Ryan Reynolds, Care Delevingne and Lady
Gaga have all used their status to share their own mental health battles which
helps to spread knowledge and helps to educate others allowing them to become
more accepting and allowing those whom suffer from poor mental health experience
more positive behaviours. (Brotherton, 2017)


Carpenter-Son et al (2010) carried out an 18-month
long observation of 25 individuals from a European American, African-American
and Latino background, whom suffered from mental ill health. The observation
concluded that the European American participants actively sought-after help
from mental health professionals whereas the African-American and Latino
individuals were less likely to accept help. Although stigma was discussed in
all three ethnic groups, it was more prominent in the African- American and
Latino participants. Furthermore, the European American participants found
medication a necessary form of treatment, whereas the Latino and African-American
individuals expressed negative views on the mental health service and the treatments
that they provide. The African-American participants considered mental ill
health to be ‘private family business’ and the Latino individuals expressed
that psychotic and mentally ill labels were socially damaging. (Carpenter-Son
et al, 2010) A 2007 study further highlights the stigma associated with mental
illness within the African-American culture where 63% of African-Americans
described depression as ‘personal weakness’ and a further 30% said that they
would not seek help from a mental health service and instead deal with
depression themselves. (Unite for Sight, ND)


Culture is the customs of certain people or society
and within that culture there may be a subculture present whom may have
conflicting views. For example, in some cultures the role of the woman would be
to care for the children and look after the home whilst the man would be out
working whereas in today’s society many couples would share or reverse these
roles. Societal, cultural and sub-cultural factors can influence how mental
illness is viewed and treated. It is estimated that there are 7.6 billion
people and 195 countries in the world all of which could have different or
similar views of mental ill health. (Worldometers, 2017) Furthermore, there are
thousands of different cultural and religious beliefs which impact how others
may view one suffering from mental ill health.


Mental health refers to
that state of one’s wellbeing. A person may be characterised as having good mental health if they are able to manage
a range of positive and negative emotions, form and maintain good relationships
and manage change. (Mental Health Foundation, ND) If one is unable to meet the
criteria of what is described as good mental health then they may be considered
to be of mental ill health. Mental ill health can be difficult to define as it
varies with each individual and is a phrase used to describe a wide spectrum that
can be anything from everyday work stress to suicidal depression. Within the UK
1 in 4 people will experience ill mental health annually and ill mental health
is one of the main causes for overall disease burden worldwide. (Mental Health
Foundation, ND) A range of different aspects can influence mental health and
the behaviours that one will experience including, cultural, societal and
subcultural differences. (Gofal, ND) This essay will discuss these differences
and how they determine the behaviours experienced by people suffering from
mental ill health.