Moves to recognise diversity within societies is helping to deepen consideration of cultural issues in healthcare. Culture manifests at multiple levels; in the unique lived experience of individuals, in the historical legacies of particular groups, and in the cultures that develop within institutional settings.
Taking an intersectional approach to mental health encounters is vital to understanding the complex, multi-dimensional nature of people’s experiences and the challenges they may face.
While mental health assessments have typically focused on disease symptoms and pathology, people’s experience of illness or distress is culturally mediated by complex explanatory models. Practitioners themselves participate in personal and professional cultures which influence clinical encounters. Consumer-practitioner cultural similarities and differences can profoundly affect communication.