The Cultural Effects on Mental Health & WellnessAugust 30, 2022 |
What comes to mind when you think about culture?
Mental health is not often included in this list, but it is very important to consider how culture can influence mental health. Cultural influences affect our behaviors, how we cope with mental health issues, the support that we have, the decision to seek support if needed, and even how it impacts our loved ones.
As a Mexican first-generation woman, it was earth-shattering to realize how long it took me to begin therapy. Don't get me wrong, I fully believe in the benefits of therapy. I even obtained my bachelor's degree in Psychology and my master's degree in Social Work. But, for some reason, I just couldn't bring myself to start my own therapy. I felt like there was something holding me back. This is when I realized how directly my cultural values affected my decision (or lack thereof) to seek support. And while I know that I'm not alone in this, it was interesting to identify how my culture impacted my mental health.
First, let's take a look at how individuals from different cultural backgrounds may view, understand, and report their symptoms. Our cultures can influence how people describe their symptomatic presentation and how they may feel. It can also affect whether someone chooses to share their experience with the manifestation of their symptoms, and if they choose to speak about both physical and emotional indicators.
Cultural stigma is another cultural influence that can determine how we view mental health. What does that mean? Various cultures may have a stigma around mental health where it is difficult to open up about personal struggles and seek support. Individuals may also feel a sense of "weakness", "shame", or "discomfort" when disclosing their mental health challenges. Finding a mental health provider that fosters a safe, inclusive environment can help remedy the difficulties that many with cultural stigma experience.
Resources may also affect culture and mental health for individuals. It is important to provide resources for people who may be monolingual or have a specific language preferences. It can also be helpful to find providers who share similar cultural values and can understand specific experiences.
And while these are just a few of the numerous ways that culture can influence mental health, every individual who seeks support will have his or own unique journey. Candelen provides free consultations to adults, children, and teens who may need mental health support or evaluation. Click here to schedule a consultation or call us at (480) 829-0500, ext. 2655 for more information.
Candelen is proud to have bilingual clinicians for those in our community that speak Spanish. We also have language translation services available to ensure that any individual seeking behavioral health services can have an authentic, comforting experience.