An exploratory study of the constructions of 'Mental Health' in the Afro Caribbean Community in the United Kingdom

Prof Doc Thesis

Keane, Charmain 2010. An exploratory study of the constructions of 'Mental Health' in the Afro Caribbean Community in the United Kingdom. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Psychology
AuthorsKeane, Charmain
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Afro Caribbean people living in the United Kingdom have historically been overrepresented in the 'mental health' system in in-patient units; they are also more likely to enter services through adverse routes such as the police or criminal justice system. There have been a number of explanations that have been postulated to account for Afro Caribbean people's over-representation and these have usually been concerned with services or views drawn from clinical samples. This research was interested in how the people themselves from the Afro Caribbean general population constructed 'mental health'.
The present study involved interviewing ten people from the Afro Caribbean community about their understanding of 'mental health'. A critical realist epistemological position was taken and a post-structualist Foucauldian discourse analysis was used to analyse how participants constructed 'mental health', those who experience 'mental health' difficulties and attendant social practices.
The analysis demonstrated that participants constructed 'mental health' by drawing on both biological and social explanations. They constructed the 'community' as 'misunderstood and 'problematic' in the gaze of the 'dominant population'. Further to this, they constructed two social practices: secrecy and control. Secrecy was used by 'the community' and functioned to protect individuals and others from further negative constructions. Control was used at the regulatory and disciplinary level by the 'dominant population'and 'the community' respectively. The findings of the research are discussed in relation to
clinical and research implications.

Keywordsmental health; afro-carribbean community
Publication dates
PrintMay 2010
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Apr 2013
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