Prevalence, presentation and interpretation of mental health symptoms across cultures

​​Symposium presented 22 September 2015 at The 31st Nordic Congress of Psychiatry (Copenhagen, Denmark).

Synopsis

The prevalence, presentation and interpretation of mental health symptoms vary across cultures. Studies show that migrants have a higher risk of schizophrenia and other psychiatric diagnoses and that they are also at risk of being misdiagnosed. It has been shown that understanding of explanatory models of mental illness can improve many aspects of psychiatric care, including the diagnostic process, treatment, patient compliance and patient satisfaction.

Firstly, we outline the prevalence of mental disorders among migrants in Western countries and touch upon explanations for diagnostic insecurities among clinicians. Subsequently a study with preliminary results on how key symptoms vary in their display across cultures, as well as across alternative scale implementations and translations will be presented. The following presentation takes its point of departure in the Cultural Formulation (CF) in DSM-5, which has a narrative approach and serves as a clinical resource for the systematic and individualised evaluation of cultural dimensions in psychiatric assessment. This study analyses intercultural competences and communication in the encounter between clinicians and migrant patients in Danish outpatient psychiatric services based on video recordings of 20 CF interviews.

Finally, two studies from low-income and war-affected communities in Africa will describe risk factors and understandings of mental disorders and psychotic-like symptoms in the general population. Cultural dimensions of the symptoms and explanatory models of mental illness were explored through interviews with local health workers, social workers, pastors, and traditional healers.


Chair

Jessica Carlsson Lohmann, MD, PhD (Competence Centre for Transcultural Psychiatry, Psychiatric Centre Ballerup, Copenhagen)


Presentations

​Transcultural psychiatry: Exploring the assessment and diagnoses of migrants in Denmark
Signe Skammeritz, MD (Competence Centre for Transcultural Psychiatry, Psychiatric Centre Ballerup, Copenhagen)

 

Culture and PTSD - Identification of similarities and differences, and adaptation of measurement tools

Erik Vindbjerg, MSc Psychology (Competence Centre for Transcultural Psychiatry, Psychiatric Centre Ballerup, Copenhagen)

 

The encounter between clinicians and migrant patients in Danish outpatient psychiatric services. A qualitative study on the Cultural Formulation Interview

Laura Lindberg, MSc Public Health (Competence Centre for Transcultural Psychiatry, Psychiatric Centre Ballerup, Copenhagen)

 

Psychotic-like symptoms in a post-war setting - emic and etic understanding

Prof. Lars Lien, MD (Avdeling folkehelse, Høgskolen i Hedmark)



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