A Brief Note On The Hmong People On Depression And Diagnosing Illnesses

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Scientific and cultural understandings of illnesses and treatment often cause polarization in defining and remedying solution to health problems. The cultural outlook of the Hmong people on depression and diagnosing illnesses stem from a holistic approach that takes into account the spiritual condition of individuals. On the flip side, the biomedical model of health- a scientific approach, considers biological factors that can be tested and verified producing similar results across varying professionals. This model targets specific illnesses, while the cultural approach of the Hmong people incorporates the overall state of an individual, while diagnosing an illness. This paper will discuss ways in which depression is interpreted in the Hmong people, how this understanding contrasts with the biomedical model of health, and some of the consequences that these two contrasting approaches present to the Hmong minority.

According to the culture of the Hmong, depression and other illnesses are defined and regarded as the lack of spiritual support that erode the human soul which manifest as symptoms on the human body. According to Johnson, the Hmong have three souls that clarify the relationships between the human body and spirit. (Johnson 130, 2002) These souls are: one that stays with the body after death, one that wanders but returns to the body after death, and one that protects from harm and death. (Johnson 130, 2002) In this respect, it can be argued that the holistic model…

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