Culture: the arts and other manifestation of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively (Oxford, 2020). In the matter of mental health, culture impacts a persons beliefs, norms and values, including how the person perceives ideas and behaviors which process through their minds in different ways with different emotions. Unfortunately, according to The Commonwealth Fund, many minorities in the United States are less likely to get mental health treatment or will wait until symptoms are severe before doing so (CWF, 1997). This research was found in 1997, and we can assume with population growth and migration over the past decade that the matter has only gotten worse.
A part from minorities in the United States, the most severe mental health conditions come from cultures that encourage education heavily and dictates one's life based on their level of education. In China, there is a rising mental health crisis in China's education system. With rising competition due to the dense population, the academic stress in addition to the increasing competition is causing a mental health crises for youth and young adults. A study of 2,191 students ages 9-12 years old found that 81% of the children worried “a lot” about exams, 63% of them were afraid of punishment by teachers, and 73% of them were physically punished by their parents for lax academic effort (Hesketh et al, 2010). The culture plays a major role in these punishments, as it does similarly in my own middle eastern culture. Education plays a major role in many different cultures, and often punishment is associated with poor performance academically which plants the seed that will feed and grow on the stress students are facing through the many years spent in the education system.
One reading that I found especially enlightening was Gender Differences & Mental Health. According to the WHO, The lifetime prevalence rate for alcohol dependence, a common disorder, is more than twice as high in men than women. In developed countries, approximately 1 in 5 men and 1 in 12 women develop alcohol dependence during their lives. In result, men are more than three times more likely to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder than women (WHO, 2013). This contributes heavily to the discussion of where the mental illnesses stem from and how they affect the different genders. The dependence for alcohol causes neurological damage to the brain and especially impacts mood and behavior. Most of the time, improper consumption can end a person up in jail which down the road contributes to even more mental illness because of the consequences of having a criminal record. The complexity of mental health reminds us that gender is not the only thing to factor into this discussion, there are personality/behavior altering substances in abundance for consumption that causes mental health problems on both sides, men more likely than women in this case.
Another reading that was especially enlightening was Facts About Women and Mental Health, specifically the fact that depression, anxiety, psychological distress, sexual violence, domestic violence and escalating rates of substance use affect women to a greater extent than men across different countries and different settings. According to the WHO, depression, anxiety, somatic symptoms and high rates of comorbidity are significantly related to interconnected and co-occurrent risk factors such as gender based roles, stressors and negative life experiences and events (WHO, 2013). Unfortunately in the world we live in gender inequality is significantly related to interconnected factors which determines the different power and control men and women have over their socioeconomic status which lead to specific mental health risks. This is an important conscious note for healthcare providers to go the extra mile and ask patients about their mental health. Ultimately, the truth is, most men and women are under diagnosed with mental health disorders, leading to permanent stressors that solidify the placement of gender based roles which ultimately accounts to the worlds leading burden of disease being depression.
A Comparative Survey of Minority Health. (1997, July 1). Retrieved February 21, 2020, from
Gender and women's mental health. (2013, June 24). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/genderwomen/en/
Zhao, X., Harvard Graduate School of Education, & University of Calgary. (2010, March 3). Academic stress in Chinese schools and a proposed preventive intervention program. Retrieved from