Audio cassettes in West Indian patois were demonstrated as a
practical way of improving services for African-Caribbean
The tapes relate information on the law and mental health issues
and were produced by Alicia Gordon, manager of the
African-Caribbean Community Initiative, Wolverhampton.
She said professionals must be aware that misdiagnoses have
occurred through misunderstandings. ‘When people are under stress,
they often revert to the mother tongue. Patois, for many of us, is
a comforting language.’
Mental health professionals have described some
African-Caribbean people as ‘babbling’, because they were speaking
patois, she said. ‘If diagnosis is wrong, the treatment is
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