Cultural Identity Essay

Cultural Identity can be most basically described as a sense of belonging within a group. It is formed due to companionship based on the same traditions, beliefs, social structures and languages. Cultural identity is specific for every person and isn’t universally the same. In conjunction with this when an individual migrates or is removed from a community a person’s mental and physical health can be negatively affected due to a lost sense of self and belonging. These concepts are depicted in the documentary ‘Crossing the Line’ as a consequence of the Aboriginal People’s loss of cultural norms, religious customs and having to adjust to a new culture, thus changing their sense of self and identityCultural identity is an important factor for health care professionals to consider as culturally sensitive practices need to be carried out to ensure every individual is attended to appropriately, continues to seek support and is encouraged to maintain good health.

Sensitivity and understanding of an individual’s cultural identity is crucial when working as a health care professional. Despite the typical socio-economic problems involved in health inequalities the impact of a lack of understanding and sensitivity towards a person’s cultural identity and health need to be considered also. This issue is presented in ‘Crossing the Line’ when one of the medicine students, Paul attempted to talk to a group of Aboriginal students about mental health and suicide. However traditionally it isn’t culturally like the Aboriginal’s to discuss health as their health is more connected to their land. His supervisor then confronts Paul, as he wasn’t aware that discussions based around mental health aren’t encouraged in aboriginal communities. I believe his naïve actions made him look insensitive and somewhat ignorant towards the Aboriginal people’s cultural norms although he thought he was helping because discussion about mental health is encouraged in his culture. When working as a health professional cultural sensitivity and awareness is needed, as healthcare in relation to cultural identity isn’t the same for everyone. Likewise despite the students in the documentary feeling the circumstances in which the Aboriginal People’s lived in to be unlivable these conditions are significant to their cultural identity and removing them from their land may have a negative impact on their wellbeing. This is due to a lost sense of self and belonging. If I found myself in a similar situation as a health professional where I wasn’t used to the living situation’s of my patients I would ensure that I become properly educated on the cultural behaviours of the people I am dealing with and respect these aspects to ensure they feel safe and connected to.

In addition to sensitivity and understanding of an individual’s cultural identity, a loss of cultural identity is depicted in the documentary. During European settlement many Aboriginal people had their cultural identities distorted and replaced with a more Western identity introduced by the missions. In the documentary an Aboriginal Elder discusses the influence of living in the missionaries after European settlement. The woman talks about believing in God, an aspect of her cultural identitypassed on by the missionaries. This shows that being brought up i

Cultural Identity can be most basically described as a sense of belonging within a group. It is formed due to companionship based on the same traditions, beliefs, social structures and languages. Cultural identity is specific for every person and isn’t universally the same. In conjunction with this when an individual migrates or is removed from a community a person’s mental and physical health can be negatively affected due to a lost sense of self and belonging. These concepts are depicted in the documentary ‘Crossing the Line’ as a consequence of the Aboriginal People’s loss of cultural norms, religious customs and having to adjust to a new culture, thus changing their sense of self and identityCultural identity is an important factor for health care professionals to consider as culturally sensitive practices need to be carried out to ensure every individual is attended to appropriately, continues to seek support and is encouraged to maintain good health.

Sensitivity and understanding of an individual’s cultural identity is crucial when working as a health care professional. Despite the typical socio-economic problems involved in health inequalities the impact of a lack of understanding and sensitivity towards a person’s cultural identity and health need to be considered also. This issue is presented in ‘Crossing the Line’ when one of the medicine students, Paul attempted to talk to a group of Aboriginal students about mental health and suicide. However traditionally it isn’t culturally like the Aboriginal’s to discuss health as their health is more connected to their land. His supervisor then confronts Paul, as he wasn’t aware that discussions based around mental health aren’t encouraged in aboriginal communities. I believe his naïve actions made him look insensitive and somewhat ignorant towards the Aboriginal people’s cultural norms although he thought he was helping because discussion about mental health is encouraged in his culture. When working as a health professional cultural sensitivity and awareness is needed, as healthcare in relation to cultural identity isn’t the same for everyone. Likewise despite the students in the documentary feeling the circumstances in which the Aboriginal People’s lived in to be unlivable these conditions are significant to their cultural identity and removing them from their land may have a negative impact on their wellbeing. This is due to a lost sense of self and belonging. If I found myself in a similar situation as a health professional where I wasn’t used to the living situation’s of my patients I would ensure that I become properly educated on the cultural behaviours of the people I am dealing with and respect these aspects to ensure they feel safe and connected to.

In addition to sensitivity and understanding of an individual’s cultural identity, a loss of cultural identity is depicted in the documentary. During European settlement many Aboriginal people had their cultural identities distorted and replaced with a more Western identity introduced by the missions. In the documentary an Aboriginal Elder discusses the influence of living in the missionaries after European settlement. The woman talks about believing in God, an aspect of her cultural identitypassed on by the missionaries. This shows that being brought up in the Missions was crucial in shaping her cultural identity as her initial cultural identity was disrupted. She also discusses the impact of not having the Missionaries in the community anymore. As the original cultural identities and social norms were replaced once the missions left no one was able to provide structure and help continue to shape the younger generations of Aboriginal people’s identities. In support of this the elder states “These days without a mission, parents can’t take care of their kids”. I think this is shown to influence the health of the Aboriginal children particularly as they are often wounded or ill and needing to by attended to by the health professionals as they receive minimal care at home., Evidently there is a link between positive cultural identity and surrounding support systems and the maintenance of good health. When working as a health professional understanding that some Aboriginal people in particular may have a loss of cultural identity is essential as it can be an underlying reason for poor health maintenance.

To conclude cultural identity is a crucial element to a person’s health. This is because a person’s religious views, social behaviours and traditions often influence their approach to health and healthcare. Prior to watching ‘Crossing the line’ I was unaware that cultural identity influenced people’s attitudes towards health, an example of this being the differences in approaches to mental health between the medical student and the Aboriginal Australians. I am conscious now that health care is not a “one size fits all” subject and health professionals need to be sensitive to each individual’s cultural identity and specific needs regarding it.

n the Missions was crucial in shaping her cultural identity as her initial cultural identity was disrupted. She also discusses the impact of not having the Missionaries in the community anymore. As the original cultural identities and social norms were replaced once the missions left no one was able to provide structure and help continue to shape the younger generations of Aboriginal people’s identities. In support of this the elder states “These days without a mission, parents can’t take care of their kids”. I think this is shown to influence the health of the Aboriginal children particularly as they are often wounded or ill and needing to by attended to by the health professionals as they receive minimal care at home., Evidently there is a link between positive cultural identity and surrounding support systems and the maintenance of good health. When working as a health professional understanding that some Aboriginal people in particular may have a loss of cultural identity is essential as it can be an underlying reason for poor health maintenance.

To conclude cultural identity is a crucial element to a person’s health. This is because a person’s religious views, social behaviours and traditions often influence their approach to health and healthcare. Prior to watching ‘Crossing the line’ I was unaware that cultural identity influenced people’s attitudes towards health, an example of this being the differences in approaches to mental health between the medical student and the Aboriginal Australians. I am conscious now that health care is not a “one size fits all” subject and health professionals need to be sensitive to each individual’s cultural identity and specific needs regarding it.

Was this material helpful?

Related Essays

Leave A Comment?