Cultural Considerations Regarding Perspectives on Mental Illness and Healing

  • Declan T. Barry
  • Mark Beitel


In recent years, mental health professionals have increasingly recognized the role of cultural factors in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders (Lewis-Fernandez & Kleinman, 1995). The growing interest in examining cultural considerations pertaining to clinical practice in the U.S. is, in large part, driven by demographic changes. For example, racial and ethnic minority group members in 2006 were estimated to comprise 18.6% and 14.8% of the overall U.S. population, respectively (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007). Given the increased diversity of the U.S. population, it is no longer unusual for clinicians to treat patients from dissimilar cultural backgrounds (Bernal & Castro, 1994; Barry & Bullock, 2001). Thus, in their daily clinical practice, many providers become “culture brokers” (Abudabbeh, 1998; Barry, Elliott, & Evans, 2000) who treat individuals with a variety of cultural norms, including those related to perspectives on illness and healing.

Whether or not...


Mental Illness Mental Health Service American Psychiatric Association Ethnic Identity Mental Health Treatment 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale University School of MedicineNew Haven

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