The need to preserve mental health in a changing world –

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By Nevis Mental Health Association

Throughout the world we can find dramatically different languages, religions, family relationships, and values, as well as views on health care treatment. In the mental health care settings, culture impacts on how people explain the causes of mental health problems, and respond to mental care treatment.

The 2007 World Mental Health Day campaign which began on October 10 will bring attention to transcultural mental health services and treatment. The World Federation of Mental Health looks forward to the opportunity of working together to develop an approach to healthcare that incorporates our cultural backgrounds and beliefs, deals with language barriers, and creates culturally sensitive forms of dialogue.

The emergence in many countries of a growing multi-cultural mental health service workplace provides an increasingly important rationale for considering issues related to the influence of culture on mental health. The importance of identifying and acknowledging the social and cultural of mental disease is stressed in cross cultural settings.

Large numbers of mental health professionals working in community mental health centers, manage healthcare organizations, public health services, and public psychiatric institutions are foreign born individuals who have received their training in the developed countries and stayed there to practice, or else receive training in their native country and have been recruited to migrate to a develop country.

Thus it is not at all uncommon in today’s mental health services environment to have a practitioner from one culture treating an individual from a very different culture, neither of which is native to the community or culture where they live and interact. Treatment service teams are often comprised of professionals who are from countries with diverse and varied perspectives about mental illnesses and their treatment.

Mental Health Awareness Week took place from October 8-12 2007. Some facts about mental disease which the Nevis Mental health Association would like to remind the general public about are as follows:

FACTS ABOUT MENTAL DISEASE – Mental disease is the most fundamental and serious disease. It affects the functioning of the brain which is the most important body organ. It defines our personality, our disposition and our behavior.

It is a social disease and a spiritual disease. Drugs cannot cure mental illness. They can only control the physical manifestations of a disturbed mind. They must be combined with a programmed of counseling and psychotherapy to rebuild trust in others and in society.

Stresses in life often lead to a breach of trust in interpersonal relationships. Those who are not mature enough to deal with the stress often snap. What is required on these occasions is a supporting approach of empathy and sympathy from those close to the person who has broken down under stress. Stress is an essential element of life, therefore stress management techniques should be taught to everyone.

God is the answer to stress. He is the only constant in a changing world. Therefore when society discovers God and obey Him, true healing will occur. Any strategy for dealing with mental illness must therefore include God and seek His guidance in order to succeed.

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