At the same time, some contemporary cultures are more tolerant, and their beliefs suggest that family and community members are keys to the care and treatment of the mentally ill.
The impact of longstanding beliefs and values on care provision: Mental health nurses are from the population, and before being mental health nurses, they were lay people. Therefore, it is very likely that the beliefs and values about mental health deeply ingrained in societies would be carried forward in the nurses, unless they acquire mental health literacy. It is ironical that while amongst the nurses, the importance of health literacy in terms of physical health is well recognised, even among them, the area of mental health literacy is comparatively ignored.
Prejudice, stereotyping, and stigma of the healthcare professionals in the psychological health field has influenced care traditionally, mainly because of the fact that those are difficult to change, and if this occurs in the mental health nurses, would influence the care outcome. When nurses understand different cultures as they relate to individual feelings and motivations, they will be better equipped to adapt mental health care to the backgrounds and lifestyles of their clients. It is a matter of growing concern and an important issue in delivery of mental health care in the Australian Healthcare System. According to the DHS (1998) one of the roles of the psychiatric nurse is to have an awareness of stigma and the ability to challenge their beliefs, thoughts, attitudes, and bias about mental disorder. It is required by the standards of practice to implement this changing "attitude" of the nurses into practice to eliminate discrimination in practice, and therefore, "Reflecting on practice, feelings and beliefs and the consequences of these for individuals/groups is an important professional benchmark" (ANMC, 2006).
Nursing care of people with psychiatric illnesses and emotional problems very frequently are more complex because of cultural differences between the nurses' and patients' backgrounds and cultural heritages. It is important for nurses to understand clearly the thinking and perspectives of other cultures and groups, especially to which their clients belong. Because treating mental disorders is intertwined with peoples' attitudes about themselves, their beliefs, values, and ways of interacting with their families and communities, it is crucial that psychiatric nurses be culturally competent in their practice. The awareness about these factors leads to knowledge and alteration of beliefs about mental disorders in nurses, and this alteration would aid the recognition, better management, and efficient prevention of these disorders. This awareness has several components including the ability to recognise specific disorders or different types of psychological distress, knowledge and beliefs about risk factors and causes, knowledge and beliefs about interventions, and attitudes that facilitate recognition and offer help. Poor knowledge about mental illness and negative attitude towards patients suffering from mental illness is widespread among the mental health workers including nurses. Educational interventions can reduce stigma, and as noted earlier, stigmatizing opinions are not related to knowledge. Mental health