Culture and Mental Health in the Philippines

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The Philippines has a rich history of folklore and Western colonization that still influence conceptualizations of psychological disorders and its treatment; as well as conceptualizations of mental health and wellness. Despite the seemingly irreconcilable differences; the overarching goal for this chapter is to present how indigenous beliefs and Western-influenced medical models intersect in the mental health practices in the Philippines. This chapter begins with a brief discussion of the country's colonial past; and how the Spanish and American occupation has left an indelible mark on Philippines's mental health practices through the introduction of psychology and psychiatry. This is followed by a discussion of Filipinos' indigenous conceptualization of psychological illness and wellness; and how these can impact the type of mental health treatment that will be sought. Finally; this chapter also discusses how traditional practices and Western medicine are integrated and used in parallel with each other. Case studies are included to further illustrate how indigenous medicine; psychology; and psychiatry are practiced and integrated.