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Health Sciences & Medicine
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If we start analysing mental health in the light of cultural context, we would come to realise that it is the influence of 'culture' that distinguishes between mental health and mental ill health. Rapee Ronald highlights the cultural factor, as "According to the cultural factor, people are considered abnormal if their behaviour violates the unwritten rules of society"…

Introduction


mental illness, which can be defined in several different ways depending upon their classification. Classification refers to identifying subtypes and categories of mental disorders. These categories are identified by particular signs and symptoms. The process of assigning a label to a mental disorder based on the signs and symptoms is referred to as diagnosis. (Ronald, 1999, p8.7)
Cultural perspectives in Britain indicate that it is often misunderstood that Black people have something that looks like 'schizophrenia' but isn't. Studies have indeed suggested that Afro-Caribbean 'schizophrenics' have a shorter illness with a better outcome. This has led to the proposition that what is often mistaken for schizophrenia among Afro-Caribbeans is actually an acute psychotic reaction that is, madness brought on as a psychological reaction to unpleasant life events (Lewis et al. 1990).
This approach to explaining high rates of psychosis among Afro-Caribbeans involves, thereby, admitting that social events can cause the types of behaviour which psychiatrists call 'psychosis'. This is what is so adamantly denied by the medical model. Nevertheless, this psychiatric anathema is deployed when it comes to explaining why so many Black people go, or are labelled, as 'mad'. ...
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