Receiving culturally competent mental health care is not only important, but often critical for many individuals (especially POC communities). However, what is cultural competency?
Cultural competency means that, as a provider, one is able to interact effectively with people of different cultures, by incorporating their unique beliefs, behaviors, and needs into their diagnosis and treatment plans (fountainhouse.org). Cultural competency goes beyond understanding other’s culture, race, and ethnicity. It goes as far as acknowledging one’s own bias and how this may affect other’s mental health through issues of stigma, generalization, discrimination, and more.
In order for the therapeutic relationship to thrive, a person must feel comfortable and understood by their mental health professional. This includes feelings of acceptance, advocacy, and genuine care and interest. When this is given in the therapeutic relationship, it can significantly improve treatment outcomes and client care.
Mental health must, and should, be tailored to the individual with their identity, culture, and experiences taken into account.