- Alexander Fields, MA, NCC, ABD, Doctoral Candidate, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
- Ashley Waddington, MRC, LPC, ABD, Doctoral Candidate, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Mental health disorders are diagnosed at a rate of 1 in every 4 adults in the United States (Mental Health Disorder Statistics, 2020). Emerging helping professionals from a variety of backgrounds make diagnosis of mental health disorders (Types of Mental Health Professionals, 2020). The importance of accurate and appropriate mental health diagnosis by these emerging professionals is essential as erroneous diagnoses can lead to negative consequences for the patient,, the healthcare industry, and society in general (Feisthamel & Schwartz, 2009). The value in accurate mental health diagnoses along with the DSM-V assist with aiding clinical practice, help with comprehension of symptomology, validating the client’s understanding, and further treatment planning (Probst, 2013; Shah et al., 2019). Moreover, Canino and AlegrÃa (2008) claim there is little consensus on the influence that cultural factors have on the pathology and diagnosis of psychiatric disorders or how they differ on core definitions. These differences can be connected to clinician’s implicit ethnic and racial biases based on the magnitude of specific disorders and how comparisons have been made across different ethnic groups (Blair et al., 2013; Canino & AlegrÃa, 2008). New professionals report that they do not feel equipped to provide mental health diagnosis based on the training they received in their graduate training (Freadling & Foss-Kelly, 2014), therefore there is a need and call for training programs to address this gap. Furthermore, FitzGerald and Hurst (2017) described how higher rates of pathology for minority populations can contribute to oppression and discourage medically vulnerable communities from receiving care if they believe they are being stigmatized by their healthcare providers. The purpose of this study is to test the effectiveness of a training intervention on challenging clinician cultural biases and how that may contribute to appropriate and accurate diagnosis of mental health conditions. This interactive presentation will introduce the feasibility of a training intervention designed to prepare mental health professionals for culturally appropriate diagnosis funded through a national grant to support anti-racist practices. The content covered will include multicultural considerations related to diagnosis, explanations of multicultural activities to be used in diagnosis related courses to challenge trainee biases and future areas of research in developing culturally competent diagnosis. Attendees will be provided the activities associated with the training intervention and practice using them in the session. Lastly, in line with the conference theme, we want to provide support for healthcare workers working with individuals that have experienced trauma as a result of social unrest during the COVID-19 pandemic through tangible strategies to address biases.
- Understand cultural implications for assessing mental health diagnosis.
- Utilize two conceptual multicultural activities for self-reflection of clinician bias to be applied to assessment and diagnosis training.
- Understand effectiveness of challenging clinician bias that may inform future research in assessment and diagnosis.