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Classroom Activities

9.1 Have students write down and then share their definitions of "mental health."

9.2 Find out if there are any students in the class who have relatives diagnosed with a mental disorder and if they are willing to share about this. If so, have them describe the disorder, what its like having a family member with that disorder, what kind of treatment (if any) the person has received, and whether or not the student thinks culture plays a role in the symptoms experienced by the person, the reactions of family members to the person, and the treatment the person has received.

9.3 Before discussing this chapter, have students individually take the Mental Illness Quiz. Review the answers with the class as a whole. The quiz addresses the effect of demographic factors on mental illness. [Adapted from Whittlesey, V. (2001). Diversity activities for psychology. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.]

9.4 Have students fill out the survey on Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Help. Calculate the responses of the class members and see if there are differences based on gender and race. Share these results with the class and discuss possible reasons for any observed differences and/or similarities. [Adapted from Whittlesey, V. (2001). Diversity activities for psychology. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, and Fischer, E., and Farina, A. (1995). Attitudes toward seeking psychological professional help: A shortened form and considerations for research. Journal of College Student Development, 36, 368–373.]

9.5 Have students conduct an interview with a mental health professional and ask questions about how that person views the role of culture in mental health and mental health treatment. You may have students write out interview questions ahead of time for instructor approval, and you may have them turn in tapes of the interviews for your review.

9.6 Take students on a field trip to a community mental health clinic in your area. Have staff at the clinic give your students a tour and an explanation of the services offered. Ask the staff to include information on the demographics of the population served by the clinic and on how culture is taken into account in the services offered.

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