A person’s understanding of what an illness is has a large effect on what their treatment options will be. This understanding of the illness, for the most part comes from the person’s culture, and the beliefs and practices that are associated with it. The explanatory models play a role in determining how different people make sense of an illness. As stated in the first lecture, obviously disease can mean different things to different people. A person that has had cancer in the family versus a person that has not, or a family that has a cancer survivor versus someone that lost a member to cancer. People have different psychological views on the subject because of the positive and negative outcomes they have experienced. It also plays a role in how they think the sickness will progress, their survival rate, and how and if they will be able to recover. This also has a lot to do with the person’s socioeconomic status, their geographical location, their government, and of course their culture, “The patient’s rich view of the world and of their illness within the world, gives rise to a better understanding of their illness, including it’s meaning to them, and their expected recovery process” (Buhi, Bhugra 2010).
When we discussed mental illness, their was a big emphasis on how the perception of mental illness can effect the treatment of it. Metzle used the example of the mental health hospital in the video, and how the demographic had drastically changed to from white males and females, to mostly black males. This example primarily touches on how a certain race can be associated with a certain illness, based on certain traits or features. People in this example were being diagnosed and treated for a disease that by today’s standards didn’t actually have that disease. The doctors who diagnosed claimed to have made the diagnosis based on their symptoms, but it is felt today that they were associated with mental disease based on their race and cultural factors.
A lot of different cultures have many different views on mental illnesses as well. Some believe that it is an actual mental disease, others believe they are possessed by spirits, and some don’t even believe in any kind of treatment for mental illness. For example, Afghan people that have some time of mental illness are seen as simply mad. When this happens they are never sent away to a mental institution, but instead cared for at home by loved ones (Mehraby, 2009). So many cultures and countries have such different views and understandings of mental illness, that it is obvious why there is not just one treatment that works for everyone.