Essay, Pages 5 (1108 words)
In all areas of dealing with people, knowing how to communicate with them is the key to success in all working environments. Cultural competence is defined as the range of effective and appropriate communications of people of all cultures. This is very valuable when in any career, but in health care, it is very vital to be able to understand the ways of different cultures. This enables healthcare providers to be able to treat the patient holistically. Although, there have been many models developed for nursing and other health professionals knowing how to effectively embrace the culture of another person is crucially important because this leads to the outcome of patient care.
One of the most important elements emphasized in pursuit of competent cultural care is identifying your own beliefs and culture before caring for others. According to Culture Advantage, an organization formed to help individuals develop cross-cultural awareness and communication skills, “Caregivers are expected to be aware of their own cultural identifications in order to control their personal biases that interfere with the therapeutic relationship.
Self-awareness involves not only examining one’s culture but also examining perceptions and assumptions about the client’s culture.”
Developing this self-awareness can bring into view the caregiver’s biases or culturally imposed beliefs. It can also shed light on oppression, racism, discrimination, and stereotyping and these affect nurses personally and their work. Mental health providers and professionals across the world should 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.
Attitudes toward mental illness vary among individuals, families, cultures, and countries. Cultural and religious teachings often influence beliefs about the origins and nature of the mental illness and shape attitudes towards the mentally ill. For example, one study comparing Indian and American attitudes toward mental illness surveyed students at a university in the Himalayan region of Northern India and at a university in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. The Indian students were more likely to view depression as arising from personally controllable causes (e.g. failure to achieve goals) and to “endorse social support and spiritual reflection or relaxation” as ways to deal with depression.
African American ethnic groups believe in God to heal them and they have one of the most negative health outcomes. African Americans have underlying health issues that include heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. Heart disease is the number one killer of African Americans. Research from the American Heart Association says that heart disease and hypertension does not affect all African Americans around the world it affects the certain environment that chooses to live in an environment where they have poor nutrition habits like frying all their food and have a high sodium intake, stress, and lack of exercise. African Americans have a rather high tolerance for pain and most people in the culture refuse to go to the doctor unless they feel something is terribly wrong. African Americans display that they are terrified of hospitals because they fear what the doctor may diagnose them with, and they do not trust their healthcare providers to act in their best interest. Research shows African Americans have a higher chance of death than other counterparts in America.
Mental health within the African American community is a taboo topic that does not receive the attention as it should. A lack of education and understanding of mental health within the African American community leaves those who need the help hesitant to seek help and often feel shame. They have a strong sense of spirituality and hold tight to their religion. They place all their problems in God’s hands and look to him in times of all adversity. When individuals in the African American Community suffer from mental illness, they are often believed to be experiencing the wrath of God for some bad deed they have done.
With a lack of cultural competence in mental health care, there are often cases of misdiagnosis and insufficient treatment. Individuals seeking help should feel comfortable with whomever they choose and the service they are provided. They can seek help from their primary care physician if they are not comfortable seeking mental health treatment right away This gives them the opportunity to learn more from a person they trust and are used to dealing with. Most African Americans prefer an African American mental health care professional, they feel that they are more knowledgeable of their cultural situation than their Caucasian/ other counterparts. Unfortunately, there is a small percentage of African American mental health professionals. Only 2% of the American Psychological Association members identify as Black/African American.
This is acting a barrier, whereas some individuals may have reservations about mental health care providers not being knowledgeable enough to treat their explicit needs. Stigma and judgment are the most common barriers that prevent African Americans from seeking the necessary treatment for their mental illnesses. When seeking help, individuals should always ask questions. The mental health providers are prepared and are welcome to answer any questions. This also serves as a tool for them to better understand how they should help and develop the treatment plan for the individual. Mental health providers should not treat each person the same. “One-size-fits-all’ approaches cannot effectively meet the needs of diverse populations. To ensure that services are more congruent with their needs, health and care organizations should enable service users, families, and community members to become active creators of interventions to remove barriers to help-seeking for mental illness” (Mantovani, Pizzolati, and Edge, 2017).
To sum up, talking openly about mental health issues serves as an important step in overcoming the obstacles of mental illness and beginning at home, in church, and around the community. Shedding the light on mental health should be a community effort, one conversation at a time. As of late, African Americans are progressively seeking treatment for mental illness, but there is a long way to go and a lot to heal. Treatment for mental illness should be just as important as treating cancer or any other disease, it is affecting people on so many levels and its only getting worse. Raise awareness, host community forums, work together to inspire a better understanding of mental health, while embracing the act of understanding and supporting those who suffer in silence, and those who speak on their suffering. By educating individuals on identifying warning signs and where and how-to seeking treatment, the quality of life for millions can improve.