1. Cultural Competence
  2. Film Resources
  3. Book Recommendations
  4. Journals
  5. News Media
  6. Professional Associations

Cultural Competence

Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre

The Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre (MMHRC) seeks to improve the quality and availability of mental health services for people from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, including immigrants, refugees, and members of established ethnocultural communities. Addressing issues of language, culture, religion and other aspects of cultural diversity can promote greater equity in mental health care. This website presents resources designed for laypeople, patients and their families, community organizations, health professionals, and policy makers, planners and administrators. The Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre was developed with support from the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the CIHR and is currently maintained by the Culture and Mental Health Research Unit and the Cultural Consultation Service of the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. Aboriginal resources are maintained in collaboration with the Network for Aboriginal Mental Health Research. Educational and training activities of the MMHRC are conducted through the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry of McGill University.

Reducing Health Disparities in Asian American & Pacific Islander Populations.

This training resource includes modules on cultural competence, specific Asian American and Pacific Islander cultural groups, traditional medicine, history taking techniques, adherence, intercultural communication, and epidemiology. Modules include self-assessment quizzes and video clips of interviews with providers and patients. One module, on history taking, excerpts and analyzes material from Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.

APA’s Guidelines for Providers for Psychological Services to Ethnic, Linguistic, and Culturally Diverse Populations.

The APA’s Board of Ethnic Minority Affairs (BEMA) established a Task Force on the Delivery of Services to Ethnic Minority Populations in 1988 in response to the increased awareness about psychological service needs associated with ethnic and cultural diversity. The populations of concern include, but are not limited to the following groups: American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, and Hispanics/Latinos. For example, the populations also include recently arrived refugee and immigrant groups and established U.S. subcultures such as Amish, Hasidic Jewish, and rural Appalachian people. The Task Force established as its first priority development of the Guidelines for Providers of Psychological Services to Ethnic, Linguistic, and Culturally Diverse Populations. The guidelines that follow are intended to enlighten all areas of service delivery, not simply clinical or counseling endeavors. The clients referred to may be clients, organizations, government and/or community agencies. The Guidelines represent general principles that are intended to be aspirational in nature and are designed to provide suggestions to psychologists in working with ethnic, linguistic, and culturally diverse populations.

Georgetown National Center for Cultural Competence

This National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) is one of the major resources on the web for information on cultural competence. It provides training, technical assistance, and consultation at the local, state, federal and international level.

Culturally & Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) – Early Childhood Research Institute

The Early Childhood Research Institute on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) is a resource bank of culturally and linguistically appropriate materials related to early childhood intervention. This site provides a list of publications, which are organized by review guidelines, technical reports and literature reviews conducted by CLAS.

Film Resources

Film Series: Afflictions.

Anthropologist and filmmaker Robert Lemelson directs this six-film series about mental illness in Indonesia.

TEDx: Challenges and Rewards to a Culturally Informed Approach to Mental Health

Cultural-clinical psychologist Jessica Dere gives a TEDx talk at the University of Toronto Scarborough on how to think culturally about clinical psychology and mental health.

Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University.

Cultural Psychiatry Lecture Series

Critical Neuroscience Lecture Series

*Course lectures also available on Official Youtube Channel: TCpsychiatry

Book Recommendations

Bhugra, D., & Bhui, K. (Eds.) (2007). Textbook of Cultural Psychiatry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dinesh Bhugra (King’s College, University of London) and Kamaldeep Bhui (Queen Mary University of London) are cultural psychiatrists who collaborated on editing a textbook in this field. Chapters 1, 2, 8, and 10-12 are particularly useful for background theory, 15-25 for specific disorders, and 28, 31, and 32 for psychological treatment.

Heine, S. J. (2012). Cultural Psychology (2nd Ed.). New York: Norton.

Steven Heine (University of British Columbia) is a cultural psychologist who has written the first textbook for this specific approach to culture and psychology. Aimed at senior undergraduates and beginning graduate students, it introduces readers to the full range of the field, including chapters 11 and 12 on physical and mental health.

Kitayama, S., & Cohen, D. (2010). Handbook of Cultural Psychology. New York: Guilford Press.

Shinobu Kitayama (University of Michigan) and Dov Cohen (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) are cultural psychologists who have edited the first comprehensive handbook from this perspective. Especially relevant are parts 1 and 2 for background theory, and part 6 on motivation and emotion. A chapter on psychopathology is provided by Anthony Marsella (University of Hawai’i at Manoa), a pioneer in integrating clinical and cross-cultural psychology.

Kleinman, A. (1991). Rethinking Psychiatry: From Cultural Category to Personal Experience. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Arthur Kleinman’s book-length introduction to cultural psychology remains essential after more than two decades. Chapters 1 to 4 are particularly useful for cultural-clinical psychology.

Littlewood, R., & Dein, S. (2000). Cultural Psychiatry and Medical Anthropology: An Introduction and Reader. London: Athlone Press.

This volume brings together a selection of classic papers in cultural psychiatry and medical anthropology. It starts in 1880 with George Miller Beard on the ‘Jumping Frenchmen of Maine’, includes Emil Kraepelin, Ernest Jones, Marcel Mauss, Claude-Lévi Strauss, and George Devereux, among others, and concludes in 1971 with Henry Murphy on the evolution of Latah and Amok.

Tseng, W.-S. (2003). Clinician’s Guide to Cultural Psychiatry. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Wen-Shing Tseng (University of Hawai’i at Manoa) is a cultural psychiatrist who distilled his earlier textbook for the field into this guide written especially for clinicians. Chapters 1-4 are recommended for a general theoretical overview, while chapters 5-7 are practical guides to culturally competent practice.


Cross-Cultural Psychology

Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology provides a leading interdisciplinary forum for psychologists, sociologists, and other researchers who study the relations between culture and behavior.

Cross-Cultural Research

Cross-Cultural Research (CCR) publishes peer-reviewed articles that describe cross-cultural and comparative studies in all human sciences. Each issue, published quarterly, examines topics that span societies, nations and cultures, providing strategies for the systematic testing of theories about human society and behavior. This journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology

Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology ® seeks to advance the psychological science of culture, ethnicity, and race through the publication of empirical research, as well as theoretical, conceptual, and integrative review articles that will stimulate further empirical research, on basic and applied psychological issues relevant to racial and ethnic groups that have been historically subordinated, underrepresented, or underserved.

Culture & Psychology

Culture & Psychology is a leading international peer reviewed journal of scholarly contributions, integrating various aspects of the general notion of culture with scientific psychology. Culture & Psychology addresses the centrality of culture necessary for a basic understanding of the psychology of human beings: their identity, social conduct, intra- and intersubjective experiences, emotions and semiotic creativity.

Cultural Dynamics

Cultural Dynamics is a peer reviewed journal that seeks to publish research focused on the structured inequalities of the contemporary world, and the myriad ways people negotiate these conditions. The journal is thoroughly interdisciplinary, encompassing anthropology, sociology, philosophy, history, and any other areas that can shed light on culture, power, and politics.

Human Nature: An interdisciplinary biosocial perspective

Human Nature: An interdisciplinary biosocial perspective is dedicated to advancing the interdisciplinary investigation of the biological, social, and environmental factors that underlie human behavior. It focuses primarily on the functional unity in which these factors are continuously and mutually interactive. These include the evolutionary, biological, and sociological processes as they interact with human social behavior; the biological and demographic consequences of human history; the cross-cultural, cross-species, and historical perspectives on human behavior; and the relevance of a biosocial perspective to scientific, social, and policy issues.

International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine

The aim of the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine (IJPM) is to provide a forum where researchers, educators, and clinicians concerned with mental health, primary health care, and related aspects of medical care from around the world can educate each other and advance knowledge concerning psychobiological, psychosocial, biobehavioral, and social theory, methods, and treatment as they apply to patient care. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: psychobiological, psychological, social, religious, and cultural modifiers of illness; the minor and moderate mental disorders seen and treated in primary care medical practice; biomedical etiologies of mental health symptoms; research from successful collaborative, multidisciplinary models such as geriatrics; and health services research. IJPM bridges the gap between publications that adopt an almost exclusively research orientation and those that are more narrowly focused on clinical psychiatry, apart from the mainstream of primary care medicine. The Journal publishes original research, review articles, innovative clinical and educational programs, and illustrative case reports. People at all stages of career development, from student through seasoned professional, are encouraged to submit their work for editorial consideration.

Social Identities

Recent years have witnessed considerable worldwide changes concerning social identities such as race, nation and ethnicity, as well as the emergence of new forms of racism and nationalism as discriminatory exclusions. Social Identities aims to furnish an interdisciplinary and international focal point for theorizing issues at the interface of social identities. The journal is especially concerned to address these issues in the context of the transforming political economies and cultures of postmodern and postcolonial conditions. Social Identities is intended as a forum for contesting ideas and debates concerning the formations of, and transformations in, socially significant identities, their attendant forms of material exclusion and power, as well as the political and cultural possibilities opened up by these identifications. Besides the regular range of articles, Social Identities also features Specificities and Debate sections, an occasional book review section, and special issues on topics of note.

Transcultural Psychiatry

Transcultural Psychiatry is an international, interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed, scientific journal of cultural psychiatry published by the Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University in conjunction with SAGE Publications (London).

Transcultural Psychiatry provides a forum of communication for psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners as well as social scientists around the world concerned with the relationship between culture and mental health. The journal is committed to the most comprehensive coverage of the social and cultural determinants of mental disorders and psychosocial treatments of the range of mental and behavioural problems in individuals, families and communities.

News Media

Culture and Mind: Psychiatry’s Missing Diagnosis.

Shankar Vedantam, science correspondent for National Public Radio, originally published this three-part series in the Washington Post. In discussion with cultural psychiatrists, along with some critics, he provides an overview of some provocative findings that challenge the standard medical model of mental illness.

New York Times: The Americanization of Mental Illness.

Author and journalist Ethan Watters argues in this NYT Magazine article that the assumption that American mental health norms are universal contributes not just to misunderstandings, but to shaping how distress is experienced and expressed in other cultural contexts. His popular science book Crazy Like Us explores this argument in more detail.

CBC Radio Featuring Transcultural Psychiatry: Like I Was Talking to Myself in the Mirror.

CBC radio personality David Gutnick steps into a world where treatment relies less on medication and more on talk and understanding.

Professional Associations

Division 45 of the American Psychological Association.

Division 45 of the APA, the Society for the Psychology Study of Ethnic Minority Issues, promotes psychological research on ethnic minorities in the United States. The division coordinates the journal Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.

Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University.

This long-established interdisciplinary group provides research, training, and clinical service based on the perspective that culture fundamentally shapes mental health. The division hosts an annual one-month summer training program and conference in Montreal, Quebec. As well, it coordinates the journal Transcultural Psychiatry in association with the Transcultural Psychiatry Section of the World Psychiatric Association.

Foundation for Psychocultural Research.

A private foundation with academic links to UCLA, this nonprofit organization promotes interdisciplinary research on culture, psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience. The foundation supports regular conferences along with the FPR-UCLA Center for Culture, Brain, and Development.

International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology.

The IACCP is the oldest international organization dedicated to the study of cross-cultural psychology. They host bi-annual conferences, coordinate the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, and have developed the free Online Readings in Psychology and Culture.

Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture.

The Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture (SSPC) is a nonprofit, interdisciplinary organization devoted to furthering research, clinical care and education in cultural aspects of mental health and illness. The organization aims to promote cultural psychiatry in North American professional groups and to collaborate with national and international organizations in the development of policy and practice. Primarily rooted in North America, we provide an interface for domestic and international interests of cultural psychiatry and mental health.