A person’s beliefs, norms, values and language affect how we perceive and experience mental health conditions. Cultural differences can influence whether or not we seek help, what type of help we seek, what coping styles and supports we have and what treatments might work for us.
Diverse communities face many barriers such as higher levels of stigma, misinformation about mental health and language that prevent them from receiving care. Even when they are able to access treatment, these communities often receive poorer quality care due to lack of cultural competence, bias and inadequate resources. This results in misdiagnosis, dropping out of treatment and a longer time to achieve recovery.
However, when a mental health professional does take into account cultural needs and differences, outcomes can be significantly improved.