How do race and ethnicity affect access to mental health treatment and its efficacy? What aspects of the treatment are insensitive to the needs of culturally diverse people?

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The cultural norms and beliefs of some ethnic groups and people of color make it less likely that they seek or persist in mental health treatment, and aspects of mental health treatment like diagnosis and inherent stereotypes can be insensitive to the needs of culturally diverse people.

Some cultural groups...

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The cultural norms and beliefs of some ethnic groups and people of color make it less likely that they seek or persist in mental health treatment, and aspects of mental health treatment like diagnosis and inherent stereotypes can be insensitive to the needs of culturally diverse people.

Some cultural groups fail to seek mental health treatments because their belief systems do not recognize mental illness or attach a stigma to it. This makes people unwilling to admit or face their problems, much less seek help for them. They are sometimes told to merely cope with it or are labeled as weak or cowardly. Other groups exhibit a strong lack of trust in the mental health system and treatment.

Further, some mental health professionals and treatment systems have failed to adapt to the needs of culturally diverse clients. Sometimes their methods of diagnosis simply don't work. Scholars have found that Latinos find clinical diagnosis "potentially very socially damaging." They don't like to be labeled. Sometimes, mental health professionals focus on treatments that might be unacceptable to cultural groups. Studies show that African Americans, for instance, become frustrated with the reliance on psychiatric medications.

Finally, even though they may not be aware of it, many mental health professionals still hold to stereotypes about racial and ethnic groups that can lead to misunderstandings and frustration all around.

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