ADHD and Cultural Considerations

Niki Olsen is an LMHC who currently works on the Navajo population giving them the support needed to address behavioral and mental health issues. Working with this population means being sensitive to their cultural influences and their cultural needs, such as involving tribal elders and breaking down the stigma of mental health issues, especially in regards to suicide and suicide prevention.

In many cultures, talking about suicide is taboo as they believe that talking about it increases the risk of suicide. It does not. Talking about it can reduce the risk of suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please, please, please reach out to those who can help.

We all have cultural influences and cultural factors that play a part in how comfortable we are in talking about behavior or mental health issues or our belief in what is best when it comes to treatment and should remember that what works for you may not work for someone else because of cultural factors.

Based on our belief system it influences our ideas on how to treat ADHD and whether or not it involves medication or behavior interventions. It can also influence if someone believes ADHD isn’t real and is just bad parenting.

ADHD affects the executive functioning part of the brain. Which is the part of the brain that controls organization, problem-solving, time management, communication, and empathy.

Behavioral skills are so important in the treatment of ADHD because they allow a child to deal with their ADHD healthily. Behavior skills allow a child to better understand when their brain is working as it should and what they can do to retrain it.

Part of ADHD management is not only taking time for self-care but also teaching others how to handle your child in the way that you want their behaviors handled. It may require some training and teaching, but the pay-off is big. By being the only person that knows how to handle your child, you’re teaching them to depend on you and to not reach their full potential.

Cultural and environmental influences factor into how we react to situations and what types of consequences we believe are appropriate which is one of the reasons it important to train and teach others who have care of your child so that you are all on the same page.


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