Cultural Barriers

There are a number of cultural barriers surrounding emergency psychiatry. There is a paucity of education in both medical and nursing schools about care for the patient with psychiatric needs. Combined with this, are the myths and misconceptions that exist, such as “psychiatric patients are unpredictable and violent,” they are uneducated, or most of them are poor or homeless.

There is also an assumption of causality, people ask themselves why patients cannot “snap out of” their depression. No medically trained person would consider asking this question for a condition like diabetes, but it is rampant in psychiatry.

In the community, there is also stigma and shame that contributes to a reluctance to discuss psychiatric disorders. These are both familial and cultural barriers. There is also a lack of understanding by both staff and providers that psychiatric illnesses can remit and resolve. The challenge of overcoming these barriers can make changes in emergency psychiatry even more difficult. This means that being consistent and following a well-thought-out change management strategy is even more important.

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