Here’s how NAMI explains the importance of cultural competence and health care:
Cultural Competence: Culture—a person’s beliefs, norms, values and language—plays a key role in every aspect of our lives, including our mental health. Cultural competence is a doctor’s ability to recognize and understand the role culture (yours and the doctor’s) plays in treatment and to adapt to this reality to meet your needs. Unfortunately, research has shown lack of cultural competence in mental health care. This results in misdiagnosis and inadequate treatment. African Americans and other multicultural communities tend to receive poorer quality of care.
However, you can improve your odds of getting culturally sensitive care. The good news is that professionals are increasingly required to learn how to effectively treat people from diverse backgrounds.