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World Mental Health Day 2021: Mental Health in an Unequal World
An estimated 450 million people around the world currently live with mental disorders, with 25% of people of all nations affected by them at some point in their lifetimes. They are among the leading causes of ill health and disability globally, with someone dying by suicide every 40 seconds (WHO, 2020). The stigmatization surrounding mental disorders is a serious issue globally, and further detriments those directly affected and their loved ones. Many barriers continue to hinder access to quality mental health care, worsening a broken mental health landscape that continues to see mental health conditions on the rise globally.
World Mental Health Day is observed annually by the World Federation for Mental Health to emphasize the connection between physical and mental health, and ultimately overall wellbeing. Their mission is to promote the highest level of mental health, and to advance the prevention of mental and emotional disorders and the proper treatment and care of those with such disorders, for the betterment of all. This year’s theme is “Mental Health in an Unequal World”. In the last year and a half, the world has been united in experiencing the unprecedented impact of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, with anxiety, fear, depression, isolation, and restrictions becoming a constant of everyday life. However, systemic inequalities due to race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and the lack of respect for human rights in many countries, including for people living with mental health conditions, have resulted in unequal access to quality health care with grave impact on the mental health of billions.
To support researchers, clinicians and other interested parties wanting to learn more about mental health, Elsevier has curated a collection of book chapters and articles freely available on ScienceDirect. The collection is devoted to basic and clinical research, including important content on addressing the stigma that surrounds mental health care. Mental health is a human right. We hope that providing this content will not only help researchers working on diagnosis and access to treatment, but also serve as a source of information for non-scientists to take away some of the fear and stigma around mental health. Let’s become better informed about mental health issues around the world, and work together to reduce barriers to mental health care for everyone, everywhere.
Click here to access the complete special issue collection.
Featured Book Chapters Include:
Mental and Behavioral Health of Immigrants in the United States – Chapter 8 – Mental and behavioral health in immigrant populations: Assessment and interventions for culturally competent practice
Hee Yun Lee and Jessica A. Neese
Immigrants who have completed the strenuous immigration process carry with them into their new life acculturation-based stressors, such as exposure to traumatic events that often result in the prevalence of mental health conditions and symptoms. The three most prominent immigrant populations, Latinx, Asian, and African, each have barriers that hinder access to mental health assessment and treatment; however, there has been a push for more culturally competent assessment and intervention methods to address barriers and increase treatment adherence. Information is provided on various culturally sensitive methods to assess and treat mental health conditions onset by factors contributing to the immigration process for adolescents, adults, and older adults. Although there is more literature pertaining to culturally competent practice, continuing efforts are needed across various race and ethnicities as well as age groups to provide a more holistic approach to mental health treatment as well as promote protective factors such as a positive cultural identity of immigrants in the United States and worldwide.
Mental Health Effects of COVID-19 – Chapter 5 – Psychological distress, social support, and psychological flexibility during COVID-19
Richard Tindle and Ahmed A. Moustafa
Due to the novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), society has needed to adjust to government social distancing and quarantine measures to restrict the spread of the virus. Due to these restrictions, social isolation has limited individuals’ access to social support from friends, family, and their extended social networks. As a consequence, individuals must adjust to increased feelings of loneliness, anxiousness, frustration, and depression. Those who are unable to effectively cope with negative emotions (i.e., have low psychological flexibility), lack social support, and have lower levels of resilience are more likely to report higher levels of psychological distress and poor psychological well-being. In this chapter, we discuss the importance of social support and psychological flexibility to act as a buffer between the effects of COVID-19 on psychological distress and mental health. Given that individuals are unable to change the COVID-19 situation, being psychologically flexible will help cope with, accept, and adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Community Mental Health Engagement with Racially Diverse Populations – Chapter 3 – Engaging parents to promote mental health among Chinese American youth
Cixin Wang, Jia Li Liu, Kieu Anh Do, Xiaoping Shao, and Huixing Lu
Mental health challenges are common and often develop during adolescence. Despite their portrayal as “model minorities,” Chinese American youth report higher rates of race-related distress, internalizing symptoms, suicidal thoughts, and parent–child conflict relative to their White peers. Although mental health prevention and intervention programs exist, Chinese Americans underutilize services due to cultural stigma, differences in the conceptualization of mental health and illness, and language barriers. Culturally responsive community engagement activities for parents are beneficial for helping de-stigmatize mental illness, reduce cultural and intergenerational parent–child conflict, and enhance protective factors for youth. This chapter outlines a community-based participatory research (CBPR) project where academic researchers and community organization leaders identify mental health and parenting needs through a needs assessment and panel discussion. Findings informed the development of a 4- to 6-week psychoeducational parenting workshop, Parent–Teen Connect, whose goals are to promote parents’ knowledge of the mental health challenges second-generation Chinese immigrant youth face and increase the use of positive parenting strategies at home. To date, about 85 parents from three community settings participated in the workshops. Among them, 61 parents completed surveys and provided generally positive feedback of the workshop series. This chapter describes how we established partnerships, achieved community buy-in, and the challenges and successes associated with the design, implementation, and evaluation of the workshops. Although this project is ongoing, preliminary findings validate the feasibility of using a CBPR framework to reach and empower Chinese American families.
Handbook of Mental Health and Aging (Third Edition) – Chapter 3 – Culture and ethnicity in the mental health of older adults
Lucas Torres, Claire Bird, and Felicia Mata-Greve
The older adult population has seen marked demographic changes with racial and ethnic minority individuals constituting the fastest-growing segment within this group. Mental health difficulties are an area of concern among the older adult population with significant disparities noted across ethnic groups. The purpose of the current chapter is to provide an overview of the mechanisms and factors likely to influence mental health and access to care of ethnic minority older adults. First, cultural factors, namely racial/ethnic discrimination, cultural adaptation, and religion/spirituality, will be discussed in relation to mental health and cognition. Second, the chapter will review access and barriers to mental health care, specifically attitudes toward treatment, mental health stigma, cultural mistrust, and structural inequities. These topic areas are not intended to be exhaustive but instead provide an overview of key experiences and systems that are associated with the mental health of ethnic minority older adults.
Technology and Adolescent Health – Chapter 12 – Adolescent Mental Health Challenges in the Digital World
Linda Charmaraman, Olaide Sode, and David Bickham
The drastic changes in internet access, mobile phone use, and social media activity over the past few decades warrant an examination of how this exposure might relate to mental health issues in adolescence. This chapter will describe and discuss (1) the existing evidence examining associations between mental health and technology use including depression, anxiety, body dissatisfaction, attention-deficit disorders (and risks of distraction), and addictive behaviors and (2) the impacts of risky online communities on adolescents’ mental health, focusing on networks promoting proeating disorder behaviors and prosuicidality. Recommendations for parents, educators, and providers are included in each section.
Starting At the Beginning – Chapter 12 – Child and adolescent mental health needs, services, and gap in East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands
Tomoya Hirota, Anthony P.S. Guerrero, and Norbert Skokauskas
This chapter highlights themes related to child and adolescent mental health (CAMH) care in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Pacific Islands world regions. The chapter focuses on issues that are especially important in addressing child and adolescent psychiatric care needs in places that include large populations that reflect a blending of urban and rural, modern and traditional, and foreign and indigenous influences. We provide a narrative review of prevalence studies conducted in the regions targeted in this chapter, emphasize the magnitude of the CAMH workforce challenges, describe the importance of considering and addressing the acculturative and socioeconomic challenges that lead to CAMH disparities, and provide solutions and recommendations for the future.
Flexible Applications of Cognitive Processing Therapy – Chapter 11 – Applications of CPT in diverse populations and across cultures
Tara Galovski, Reginald Nixon, and Debra Kaysen
In this chapter we review specific applications of CPT to populations different from the ones where the treatment was originally developed and tested. We provide a general framework for applying treatments to different populations. We also highlight aspects of CPT that increase its flexibility when applied to various populations globally. We describe the state of the literature in terms of where CPT has been tested and with whom. We also discuss the ways in which CPT has been flexed to meet the needs of a variety of locales and cultures while discussing the underlying rationale for those changes. Finally, we provide clinicians with guidance in applying this approach to the patients they may see in their own settings in order that they can all apply CPT in the most culturally sensitive way.
Contemporary Psychodynamic Psychotherapy – Chapter 18 – Psychodynamic practice and LGBT communities
Vittorio Lingiardi and Nicola Nardelli
Although a specific psychodynamic therapeutic approach for LGBT individuals does not exist and is not needed, each sexual and gender minority raises particular concerns in the therapeutic setting. For this reason, therapeutic approaches to LGBT clients should align with the conditions outlined in the new edition of the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM-2) in the section titled “Psychological Experiences That May Require Clinical Attention.” To provide a comprehensive understanding of these experiences, the discussion in this chapter will consider the most relevant psychodynamic and developmental theories and empirical analyses. In particular, the effects of sexual and gender minority stigma will be discussed as causes of minority stress. In addition, recent social changes regarding same-sex civil partnerships, same-sex marriage, parenting, and the increasingly alarming phenomenon of homophobic bullying will be examined. Three short case studies will support the discussion.
Design for Health: Applications of Human Factors – Chapter 15 – Design for Inclusivity
Natalie C. Benda, Enid Montague, and Rupa S. Valdez
As health designs and technologies advance, it is important to ensure that new designs do not disadvantage particular groups and negatively impact already underserved populations. The goal of this chapter is to provide best practices and applied examples to instruct human factors practitioners (researchers and designers) in creating health-care designs that are inclusive of various populations. The chapter begins by describing concepts relevant to inclusive design and previous research highlighting the consequences of poor inclusive design. This overview sets a foundation for discussing general best practices and as well as guidance associated with three approaches: using personas, maximum variance sampling, and community-based participatory research. Each approach will be accompanied by an applied case study to demonstrate the approach in action.
Cross-Cultural Family Research and Practice – Chapter 20 – Culture and family-based intervention for schizophrenia, bipolar, and other psychotic-related spectrum disorders
Amy Weisman de Mamani, Olivia Altamirano, Merranda McLaughlin, and Daisy Lopez
This chapter reviews the literature on culture and family-based psychological interventions for schizophrenia, bipolar, and related (SBR) psychotic spectrum disorders. Several studies were examined across cultures and results seem to strongly and robustly indicate that incorporating the family into treatment reduces patient psychiatric symptoms and improves mental health of patients and their caregivers alike. Basic elements of psychotherapy that are likely to be helpful across cultures are discussed, and specific recommendations for working with multicultural populations with SBR are provided. A few examples include: incorporating the family into treatment whenever possible; systematically checking in with patients and their family members about how they understand the patient’s illness and what practices they view as useful (or detrimental); eliciting and discussing cultural differences in beliefs and values and recognizing and respecting those that differ from one’s own; and attempting to make treatments more accessible by offering them within the community and at religious institutions and other community settings, if possible.
Click here to access the complete special issue collection.