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Book Reviews

Mental Health in a Multi-Ethnic Society: A Multidisciplinary Handbook, 2nd ed

Pedro Ruiz, MD

Published: November 15, 2010

Mental Health in a Multi-Ethnic Society: A Multidisciplinary Handbook, 2nd ed

edited by Suman Fernando and Frank Keating. Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, Oxford, United Kingdom, 2009, 299 pages, $39.95 (paper).

The second edition of Mental Health in a Multi-Ethnic Society is a comprehensive text focusing on relevant issues within the field of mental health such as culture, race, and the provision of mental health services in multiethnic communities. This new edition depicts quite well the changes that have taken place in the United Kingdom during the last decade insofar as the mental health field is concerned. Special attention is also given to the mental health care of women, families, refugees, and asylum seekers.

This book is divided into 4 sections. The first focuses on the current situation in mental health as it affects the black and minority ethnic communities in England from a diverse point of view. The second section addresses the recent changes that have taken place in the mental health care of black and minority ethnic communities in a sensible and equitable manner. The third section nicely describes the models of services that have proven to be effective insofar as the current mental health needs of black and minority ethnic communities are concerned; also, these models are discussed as examples of acceptance within the sociopolitical context of the modern British society. Finally, section 4 summarizes the lessons learned and their application vis-à -vis future generations.

Obviously, British society has changed a great deal since the first edition of this book was published in 1995. While the inequalities faced by the black and minority ethnic communities in England still exist, more relevant information about the mental health care in these communities is now available. The expression of racism vis-à -vis these communities has also changed a great deal. In England, society at large tries to promote "community cohesiveness" rather than "counteracting discrimination" (p 3). The statutory system for the delivery of mental health services has also significantly changed during the last decade and a half. Many large mental hospitals have closed, and a variety of effective community-based programs, early intervention teams, and crisis teams have been developed; additionally, thoughts about the meanings of culture and multiculturalism have emerged during the last 2 decades. Mental health-oriented training of professionals other than psychiatrists has also emerged; these educational efforts are primarily oriented toward social workers and psychologists.

In summary, the second edition of this book provides excellent descriptions of the changes in the mental health system in the United Kingdom in the past 10 to 15 years, with major emphasis on the black and minority ethnic communities.

Pedro Ruiz, MD

Author affiliations: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Florida. Potential conflicts of interest: None reported.

Volume: 71

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