This article analyses a clinical intervention that was carried out at the ethnopsychiatric unit of the Jean-Talon hospital in Montreal. The authors first present an overview of the central concepts of an ethnopsychiatric approach elaborated in France by Nathan in response to mental health problems experienced by immigrants. The authors' intervention is in line with this ethnopsychiatric approach currently being developed in Quebec. The clinical situation is then presented followed by a description of the intervention carried out by the ethnopsychiatric unit. Finally, the authors conclude with an analysis of the situation from various perspectives: psychosocial, psychodynamic (modern etiology) and cultural (traditional etiology).
To identify and describe barriers to access to mental health services encountered by ethnoracial seniors.
A multiracial, multicultural, and multidisciplinary team including a community workgroup worked in partnership with seniors, families, and service providers in urban Toronto Chinese and Tamil communities to develop a broad, stratified sample of participants and to guide the study. This participatory, action-research project used qualitative methodology based on grounded theory to generate areas of inquiry. Each of 17 focus groups applied the same semistructured format and sequence of inquiry.
Key barriers to adequate care include inadequate numbers of trained and acceptable mental health workers, especially psychiatrists; limited awareness of mental disorders among all participants: limited understanding and capacity to negotiate the current system because of systemic barriers and lack of information; disturbance of family support structures; decline in individual self-worth; reliance on ethnospecific social agencies that are not designed or funded for formal mental health care; lack of services that combine ethnoracial, geriatric, and psychiatric care; inadequacy and unacceptability of interpreter services; reluctance of seniors and families to acknowledge mental health problems for fear of rejection and stigma; lack of appropriate professional responses; and inappropriate referral patterns.
There is a clear need for more mental health workers from ethnic backgrounds, especially appropriately trained psychiatrists, and for upgrading the mental health service capacity of frontline agencies through training and core funding. Active community education programs are necessary to counter stigma and improve knowledge of mental disorders and available services. Mainstream services require acceptable and appropriate entry points. Mental health services need to be flexible enough to serve changing populations and to include services specific to ethnic groups, such as providing comprehensive care for seniors.
The report chronicles a 44-year career in cultural psychiatry spent at Duke, Cornell, Harvard, the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, and Ryerson Universities. It describes my studies in a rural community in Nova Scotia, in traditional villages in Senegal, West Africa, on Canadian First Nations reserves and American Indian reservations, in refugee camps in Southeast Asia, among immigrant and refugee communities in Canada, in Ethiopia, and in Israel. The report summarizes major findings resulting from these research efforts, and discusses contributions to theory as well as potential implications for practice as well as policy. The article concludes with reflections about the present state of cultural psychiatry, raises concerns about where the field seems to be in danger of going wrong, and offers suggestions about what needs to be done next.
OBJECTIVE: To compare parent-reported problems for children in 12 cultures. METHOD: Child Behavior Checklists were analyzed for 13,697 children and adolescents, aged 6 through 17 years, from general population samples in Australia, Belgium, China, Germany, Greece, Israel, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States. RESULTS: Comparisons of 12 cultures across ages 6 through 11 and 9 cultures across ages 6 through 17 yielded medium effect sizes for cross-cultural variations in Total Problem, Externalizing, and Internalizing scores. Puerto Rican scores were the highest, while Swedish scores were the lowest. With great cross-cultural consistency, Total and Externalizing scores declined with age, while Internalizing scores increased; boys obtained higher Total and Externalizing scores but lower Internalizing scores than girls. Cross-cultural correlations were high among the mean item scores. CONCLUSIONS: Empirically based assessment provides a robust methodology for assessing and comparing problems reported for children from diverse cultures. Age and gender variations are cross-culturally consistent. Although clinical cutoff points should not necessarily be uniform across all cultures, empirically based assessment offers a cost-effective way to identify problems for which children from diverse cultural backgrounds may need help.
This article discusses major themes in recent transcultural psychiatric research in the Nordic countries from 2008 to 2011: (a) epidemiological studies of migration, (b) indigenous populations, and (c) quality of psychiatric care for migrants. Over the past several decades, the populations of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, which were relatively homogeneous, have become increasingly culturally diverse. Many migrants to Nordic countries have been exposed to extreme stress, such as threats of death and/or torture and other severe social adversities before, during, and after migration, with potential effects on their physical, mental, social, and spiritual health. Growing interest in transcultural issues is reflected in the level of scientific research and clinical activity in the field by Nordic physicians, psychologists, social scientists, demographers, medical anthropologists, as well as other clinicians and policy planners. Research includes work with migrants and indigenous minorities in the Nordic countries, as well as comparisons with mental health in postconflict countries. We conclude by suggesting future directions for transcultural psychiatry research and providing guidelines for the education and training of future clinicians in the Nordic countries.
OBJECTIVE: The publication of DSM-IV is notable for the improved coverage of cultural issues in the diagnosis of mental disorders. In particular, Appendix I of DSM-IV includes an "Outline for Cultural Formulation" (Outline) which assists the clinician in evaluating the impact of an individual's cultural context on diagnosis and treatment. However, the capacity of the Outline to facilitate the development of comprehensive cultural formulations for children and adolescents has not been established. In this article the use of the Outline with American Indian children is reviewed critically. METHOD: Based on the Outline, cultural case formulations for four American Indian children were developed and their comprehensiveness was assessed. RESULTS: Applied to the case material, the Outline provided a clear template for the development of cultural formulations. Nonetheless, several gaps in the material required by the Outline were identified, particularly in the areas concerning cultural identity and cultural elements of the therapeutic relationship. CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians working with children should recognize the strengths as well as the limitations of the Outline and expand their cultural descriptions accordingly. Several additions to the text of the Outline that will facilitate the development of comprehensive cultural formulations specific to children and adolescents are proposed.