Depression does not discriminate. People of all ages, races, genders, or ethnic backgrounds can experience it, but different cultures value it differently.
“Depression manifests itself differently in different cultures. Cultures change the meaning of depression, so different cultures don’t see the same types of symptoms,” says Baylor’s expert in psychiatry and behavioral sciences. Dr. Asim Shah, Professor and Executive Vice President of the Menninger Division, said.
Culture governs behavior and emotions. Some cultures allow emotions to be expressed easily, while others repress those emotions. According to Shah, several global reports indicate that depression is more common in certain countries, such as the United States, China, India and large countries such as Bangladesh. It upholds cultural norms for expressing depressive emotions, as opposed to the powerhouses of the United States.
“Cultural norms that allow people to express their symptoms will result in higher reported incidences of depression in the United States. I have a lot of prejudices,” Shah said.
Culture influences depression in two ways: expression and acceptance.
- Expression: The way people express themselves varies between cultures.
- Acceptance: Cultures differ in how they accept depression as a disease.
“The most common stigma around depression is that it’s a ‘state of mind created by wealthy people.’ If you have everything in the world, you become depressed.” You shouldn’t.
Cultures that refuse to accept depression as a disease do not understand that depression has two components.
- Intrinsic or biological depression: chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters. You can get all the wealth in the world, but there is a problem with your transmitter internally, which causes depression.
- Extrinsic: Depression that comes from external factors such as loss of spouse, job, or family.
Shah explains that it’s important for the therapist to be sensitive to the patient’s culture. Successful treatment of patients requires a cultural understanding of symptoms. Some patient cultures may not accept depression, so a deep dive is required to know the resources that exist in the community. Culturally sensitive aspects that therapists should be aware of include: cultural stigma, culture-specific symptoms, culture-specific community support, and culture-specific resources. There are barriers such as disclosure of diagnosis.
Therapists should consider aspects of cultural diversity when discussing mental health and depression with patients.
- Cultural awareness and knowledge
- cultural distortion
- cultural desire
“Culturally sensitive therapists and psychiatrists are very important when treating depression. We need to understand cultural aspects such as their values, beliefs, practices, and language,” he said. I was. “They must have the awareness and desire to work with different cultures and eliminate their prejudices.”