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What cultural factors can affect how mental disorders are approached?

Specific cultural factors play roles in how mental disorders are viewed, identified, and treated. For example:
  • Deviance and differences from the norm have implications for identification and treatment of mental disorders.
  • Dominance and power: Politics affects individuals' and communities' decision-making regarding drug use, especially alcohol and cannabis, both of which may play a role in suicidal behavior.
  • Disease: Negative cultural attitudes toward both mental and other medical illnesses, and also comorbidity, increase suicide risk markedly.
  • Death. Religious and other cultural proscriptions against suicide and the acceptance of assisted suicide and euthanasia influence decisions about suicide. Culture bound syndromes for suicide occur in certain countries.
  • Dichotomies such as the distinction between mind and body influence treatment and attitudes about mental disorders and suicidal behaviors differently from a holistic perspective.
  • Distance, either geographical or emotional, may play a role in suicide. Migration places stresses on minorities in a majority culture.
  • Discrimination due to ethnicity, compounded by mental or other medical illness, may play a role in suicide.
  • Depression is a major cause of suicidal behavior.
  • Discrimination and stigma, and acceptance and support from the community, regarding mental and other medical illnesses influence how persons deal with their disorders and the likelihood that they might end their lives early.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.