The Cultural Context: Families Coping with Severe Mental Illness

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The unique needs of families from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds coping with a member with severe mental illness are often neglected. All families must be recognized, understood, and supported within their sociocultural context. This article provides an overview of research on coping mastery among ethnic caregivers. Obstacles encountered by these families which may affect their participation in current family support group models are discussed. Practical family and provider self assessment guidelines are recommended to facilitate mutual understanding of value similarities, and differences. Examples of alternative, and innovative culturally compatible approaches to enhance partership, and support of families are described.

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