Not the Same: An Analysis on the Norm of Whiteness in Mental Health

Presentation author(s)

Lena Ramsey ’21, Chicago, Illinois

Majors: Psychology; Critical Identity Studies


The way that mental disorders are categorized and the required symptoms a person needs to show in order to be considered as having that disorder is based on white experience. The DSM, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is praised as being the “bible” of psychology and is used throughout the world; however, it can offer a very limited view of mental disorders. People do not always present in the same way because everybody’s experiences differ. People of color do not always have the same presentation for a mental disorder as it has been represented in the manual, which can lead to a misdiagnosis, further mental health struggles, and biased views of people of color who might be living with these disorders. ADHD does not necessarily present the same way in Black people as in white, and depression does not present the same for Japanese people.

My research aims to look at the spread of white standardization in mental health and how it has affected people from different communities and cultures. This presentation will offer a brief view of my findings to convey that there cannot be one lens that we look through in order to diagnose mental disorders, especially for people of color or different cultures, as it is not an accurate representation of their mindsets or experiences.


Catherine Orr

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