Multicultural Disparities in Legal and Mental Health Systems: A Consideration and Applications

Gargi Roysircar, Jane Studeny, Sarajane E Rodgers, Jill S Lee-Barber


Psychologists recognize that experiences of oppression shape negative outcomes for people and consider their role in addressing disparities and disproportionalities in mental health systems as well as in criminal justice and legal systems. Using an ecological framework, psychologists can identify the ways by which marginalization hinders access to resources at the community level. There are interactions between larger cultural norms and societal laws resulting from privilege or oppression that limit an individual’s access to community resources. Therefore, psychologists address disparities at both individual and systemic levels for low income, disability, racial and ethnic minority, immigrant, and refugee populations. To address disparities, potential applications in practice, research, and training/consultation are suggested. The recommendations for solutions to inequity are based on theories of intersectionalilty and structural stigma, as well as on implications of social justice action that brings the voice of psychology into public policy.


Ecological; contexts; Accessibility; Equality of Care; Underutilization; Advocacy

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