Cross-cultural psychiatry (also known as Ethnopsychiatry or transcultural psychiatry or cultural psychiatry) is a branch of psychiatry concerned with the cultural context of mental disorders and the challenges of addressing ethnic diversity in psychiatric services. It emerged as a coherent field from several strands of work, including surveys of the prevalence and form of disorders in different cultures or countries; the study of migrant populations and ethnic diversity within countries; and analysis of psychiatry itself as a cultural product.
Cultural psychiatry looks at whether psychiatric classifications of disorders are appropriate to different cultures or ethnic groups. It often argues that psychiatric illnesses represent social constructs as well as genuine medical conditions, and as such have social uses peculiar to the social groups in which they are created and legitimized. It studies psychiatric classifications in different cultures, whether informal (e.g. category terms used in different languages) or formal (for example the World Health Organization’s ICD, the American Psychiatric Association‘s DSM, or the Chinese Society of Psychiatry‘s CCMD). The field has increasingly had to address the process of globalization. It is said every city has a different culture and that the urban environment, and how people adapt or struggle to adapt to it, can play a crucial role in the onset or worsening of mental illness.