Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952668 | Print ISBN: 9781412909488 | Online ISBN: 9781412952668| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Elwood L. Robinson
The focus of this article is mental health and mental illness in racial and ethnic minorities. Mental health and mental illness are not polar opposites but points on a continuum. Somewhere in the middle lie mental health problems, which most people experience at some time in their life. At the far end of the continuum are disabling mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, major depression, and bipolar disorder. The term “mental health” is often difficult to define because its essence is rooted in value judgments that vary across individuals and cultures. As this country undergoes a transformation in terms of race and culture, it is imperative that we understand mental health within the context of these changing cultural and social dynamics. Although words such as “depression” and “anxiety” do not exist in certain Native American languages, the suicide rate for American Indian and Alaska Native males between the ages of 15 ...