Mental Health and Addiction Rounds - Halp me Plan
July 12, 2016 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know of any North American Psychologists or Psychiatrists doing any work on how patients are treated differently, dependent on gender?

I'm on a Rounds planning committee at a large mental health hospital in Canada as a minor member. I noticed in the last 2 years of planning, our group hasn't had any speakers discuss how patients might be treated differently as women, men, trans-women or trans-men.

I basically want a researcher that can speak to blind spots in our care, due to privilege, latent sexism, prejudice, historical sexist prejudices in mental health care, etc. I'd like our clinicians to be aware of these blind spots.

Because I'm not a clinician or a clinical researcher, I have no idea who I could approach! My male colleagues on the committee have been less than helpful - this topic isn't on their radar at all.

Bonus: if the researcher can be from or close to Ontario, that would be fabulous (and more likely to be able to be brought in) - but if not, that's fine too.
posted by Dressed to Kill to Education (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Does the person have to be a psychologist or psychiatrist? This is a topic I'd imagine social workers have investigated, if you are able to go that direction in your search.
posted by epj at 12:59 PM on July 12, 2016

Response by poster: Great question. I would be happy with social work, but would prefer psychiatrists or psychologists. In a pinch, a social worker would do.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 1:21 PM on July 12, 2016

Dressed to Kill - I dropped you a MeMail.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:57 PM on July 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

A few citations about this area that might be helpful in learning the landscape:

Oanh, ML et al, Disparities in Assessment, Treatment, and Recommendations for Specialty Mental Health Care: Patient reports of medical provider behavior. Health Service Research, 50:3, June 2015, 750-767.

Teal, TR, et al. When best intentions aren't enough: Helping medical students develop strategies for managing bias about patients. J Gen Intern Med, 25(Supl 2): 115-118

Answell, DA & McDonald, MD. Bias, Black lives, and academic medicine. New Eng J of Med, March 19, 2015, 372:12, 1087-1089.

Coleman, KJ et al. Racial-ethnic differences in psychiatric diagnoses and treatment across 11 health care systems in the mental health research network. Psychiatric Services in Advance (doi: 10.1176/

Han, E & Liu, GG. Racial disparities in prescription drug use for mental illness among population in US. J Ment Health POlicy Econ, 8, 131-143 (2005)
posted by jasper411 at 2:50 PM on July 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

In the US, the terms you might try for searching are "cultural competency/competence" and "culturally sensitive care" (it's likely the same in Canada, but I don't want to assume!).

In my experience, the best training will come from members of the affected groups -- that is, rather than having a straight white cis man talk about difficulties faced by racial minorities, women, LGBTQI people, etc., have representatives of those groups come talk about their own experiences. Social-justice groups at universities are usually a great source for speakers and referrals. Another idea might be working to put together a patient/consumer/client/peer (the terms vary, but basically: people who have used your services) panel to address your providers. (Doing this requires a lot of ethical work around making sure you're not coercing vulnerable people, so talk it through with anyone who's in charge of vetting that kind of thing, if you want to proceed with it.)
posted by lazuli at 8:24 PM on July 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: You are wonderful. I'm on all of this today like a fly on poop. DELICIOUS AND EDUCATIONAL POOP! :D

Seriously, you're all great and I'm going to look into every reference and idea here today.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 5:07 AM on July 13, 2016

SAMHSA's another resource, though US-based. Specific Populations: Learn about the unique mental health and substance use issues faced by different U.S. population groups and how SAMHSA addresses them.
posted by lazuli at 10:04 AM on July 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Can I ask if there are any resources out there specific to treating Men vs. Women differently? i.e. gender bias?
posted by Dressed to Kill at 5:23 AM on July 14, 2016

Best answer: Google Scholar gender based differences in mental health treatment

Gender Differences Should Be Considered in Treatment of Addiction

Trans Lifeline might be another source of information and referrals to agencies working on trans mental health issues.

Derald Wing Sue wrote the textbook (Counseling the Culturally Diverse) used by my master's program for cultural competency training. He's one of the leading researchers working on culturally competent mental health care, at least on the social work-ish and therapy side. (He's the one who coined the term "microaggressions.") It may be worth contacting him or his office, or picking up some of his texts or articles.
posted by lazuli at 6:05 AM on July 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

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