Difficulties in Diagnosing Mental Health Problems

Difficultiesin Diagnosing Mental Health Problems


Difficultiesin Diagnosing Mental Health Problems

Opinionsvary significantly regarding mental health problems when people ofdifferent ethnic background encounter similar problems (Colombo etal., 2003a, 2003b). Research done in London showcases that most blackpeople and less ethnic group are likely to be mentally ill withdifferent views as whether the prevalence of this challenges isgreately experienced (Department of Health, 2005). Structural straintheory, stipulated by American sociologist Robert Merton (1957)focuses on mental illness regarding cultural goals. In order toachieve the cultural goal, equilibrium should exist between culturalgoals and institutional norms. Balancing these two paradigms greatlycontributes to the state of confusion or disorder (Merton, 1957 p.163). The state of confusion can result to mental health problem ofan individual (Agnew, 2002). In addition, the disequilibrium betweencultural goals and institutional norms affects individual mentally(Agnew, 2002).

Researcheshave focused on the effects of cultural barriers to individuals fromaccessing mental health services. This is attributed to the fact thatthe minorities fear and mistrust forms strategies for treatment,speculating ideas of what constitute illness and good health. Ethnicminority group in United Kingdom are found to be over-represented inmental health services giving its relative presence in the generalpopulation.

Crucialdeterminants such as lower socioeconomic resources, segregation ofethnic minority group through homes and apartments, racism, anddiscrimination contributes to mental illness. The socioeconomicbarriers between the rich and poor contribute to unequal treatment tomental services with the poor being oppressed to full services ofrecovery from mental problems (Howell, 2013 Black and O’Sullivan,2012).

Identificationof mental health need for black and minority ethnic patients has beenproblematic. Research is done in several inner cities GP surgeriesshows that black people psychological problem is not easilyidentified. The rationale behind this is that the ethnic groupsnotably the Caribbean’s in UK do not consult the nature of GPs formental disorders. Various suggestions speculate that it might be thenature of GP-patient interaction and communication.

Whereasmental health problems are widespread in the UK, it has beenevidenced that is more evidenced in various communities. The feelingof shame and denial can potentially prevent mental health treatment.The black and ethnic minority people are disadvantage when it comesto public policies implemented. Generally the people from the blackand other minority groups that dwell in the UK are

  1. Have a higher likelihood to be diagnosed with the mental health problems

  2. Are more likely to be diagnosed at admitted to hospitals

  3. Have a higher propensity to disengage from the mental health services, which result t the social exclusion and mental health deterioration.

Thereis a high propensity that the mental problems could go unreported oruntreated since the people in these ethnic minority groups arereluctant to participate in the in the healthcare servicesTentatively, it is highly likely that some mental problems are overdiagnosed among people whose first language is not English.


Theblacks have been subject to countless racism with respect to theacquisition of mental health services. The Black Africans haveshowcased a moderate admission rates in the for mental health relatedproblem, than any other minority groups in UK. Arguably, they aretypified by higher rates of alcohol and depression problems. Theserates could be contributed by social disadvantage existing betweenthe African black people. Particular needs of the black minoritygroups are not considered when accounting and planning for theirneeds.


Theminority groups, for instance, African Caribbean have a greaterincidence of psychoses problems compared to the white population inUK. The finding stipulates that something in inherently to ethnicminority which has been enhancing individual vulnerability to mentalhealth problems. Furthermore, the ethnic minority cannot access themental services needs through GP compared to the white British peoplewith the same needs (Morgan et al. 2005). On the other hand, Indianshave showcased high level of alcohol problem. Data shows a highprevalence for alcohol related disorders, notably among sikh men.UK’s approach may be unsuitable to address appropriate mentaltreatment of these minorities

Onepossible disparity that constitutes to these problems is that healthpractitioners make unwarranted judgment on the patients, with respectto their ethnicity and race. Such in appropriations result to themisinformed actions and decisions. Evidently, reaction to anindividual on the with respect to the perceived membership is anaspect of human category, which constitutes to potential bias. Somecritics argue that responding to ethnic and racial differences isimportant, such that heath intervention is divergent and shouldconsolidate cultures, race and ethnicity. It is claimed thatappropriate treatment presupposes for an intervention in the criticaldifference between the ethnic minority groups and the other sensitiveaspect of mental health. To ignore ethnic and racial differencepresent s some form of bias.

Discrimination,attitude, and culture have an impact to less ethnic minority group.The minority groups are affected through on individualism andmeritocracy claiming that people are responsible for their povertyinhibits the anti-poverty programmed. Such beliefs affect theirattitude towards seeking mental treatment in public hospitals (Linand David, 2009). The poverty level continues to indicate massivecontemporary racial stratification.

Emotionsvary with different cultures. Emotions are understood in social andcultural situations. Salient cultural norms are diagnosed as anillness, which has a negative impact on individual’s health.Different ethnic group use different nonverbal communication, whichcan lead to negative emotions. A good example is in Europe when onebeckons someone you do it with the palm of your hand upwards while inEthiopia when beckoning an animal you use the same procedure. Whenthe two individuals of the two different cultural backgrounds meet,one will feel being treated like an animal.

Theinterpretation external environment can communicate emotionsnegatively. When one comments in countries that have higher powerdistance like China, which someone looks older compared to biologicalage, it is a respect while countries with lower power distance inEurope it is considered an insult culturally. As such, chineseethnioc minortities within the UK are adversly affected in thisrespect.

Systemlinks also pose a challenge to negative emotions. The audience linkbetween different states differs hence posing challenges whenindividuals meet. In Europe, an individual receives respectirrespective of age to what the person has achieved. In Asiancultures the status on individuals increasing, as people grow older.When the two groups meet, the differences will lead tomiscommunications from two different age groups are involved henceone will feel intimidated.

Behaviorsalso have an impact on communication emotions. Differentintercultural behaviors can lead to miscommunication. The gesturesgiven differ in terms of bowing. A good example in Europe when peopleare having conversation they are expected to look at each other theotherwise looking different direction will be seen to be impolitewhile other countries have no stress on this form of culture.


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