chapter  19
12 Pages

Transcultural psychiatry, psychology and social entrepreneurship in Denmark


Introduction Denmark is characterised by a state “cradle to grave” tax, supported welfare system, relative gender and economic egalitarianism and ethnic diversity (Jenkins, 2011).1 The ethnic diversity of its population now presents a number of challenges, including mental health service provision.2 A brief look at its recent immigration history reveals a relatively large number of migrants from Turkey, ex-Yugoslavians who arrived in Denmark in the early 1970s, and refugees from countries such as Iran, Lebanon and Sri Lanka who got asylum in Denmark in the 1980s. There have been some efforts to meet the psychiatric and psychological challenges presented by increasing diversity (Singla, 2012), yet a doctoral thesis about psychiatry and culture concludes that there have been limited systematic change, adjustment or targeting of care and treatment offers (Johansen, 2007). A number of studies indicate that there are several mental health problems and a relatively low mental health related quality of life among migrants (Carlsson, 2005; Matthiessen, 2000). There are also some paradoxes – while Amnesty International criticises the government policies that result in imprisoning vulnerable torture survivors, the Red Cross opened a clinic for undocumented immigrants in 2011, which is being used by increasing numbers of persons (Rasmussen, 2013). It seems that restrictive services coexist in Denmark with innovative services that attempt to fill the gaps for meeting the needs of the diverse populations. This chapter describes mental health in relation to ethnic minorities in Denmark. It reviews the critical attitudes towards psychiatry and psychology currently being voiced; the information available that points to special needs of ethnic minorities; an overall description of transcultural psychiatry and psychology; and conclusions on the future directions for critical psychiatry and psychology in Denmark.