Cultural Psychiatry: A Spotlight on the Experience of Clinical Social Workers’ Encounter with Jewish Ultra-Orthodox Mental Health Clients

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Abstract

Community is a complex issue, especially in two particular populations overlap: Haredi society, which embraces cultural codes common to closed communities, and the mental health population characterized by its own unique needs. The present study explores the encounter experience of social workers with the cultural perceptions of mental health clients in the Haredi community in light of Community Cultural Psychiatry. A qualitative-phenomenological approach was adopted. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 27 social workers, mental health professionals, who are in contact with ultra-Orthodox Jewish clients. Three major themes emerged from the data analysis: (1) Exclusion vs. grace and compassion. (2) Mental health: A professional or cultural arena? (3) Mental health help-seeking changing processes. This study shows that the attitude in the Haredi community toward mental health therapy undergoes a process of change. It is important to strengthen this process, together with preserving existing community informal structures of help.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-625
Number of pages13
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Volume53
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Keywords

  • Clinical social work
  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Psychiatry
  • Qualitative research
  • Religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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