S58B: LEAD & PANEL PRESENTATIONS: Cultural and Linguistic Diversity

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By December 13, 2022 No Comments

Authors: Anton Isaacs, Ruth Das, Ash Badhan, Shehani De Silva, Kimberley Wriedt

Year: 2022

Event: 2022 TheMHS Conference

Subject: cald, suicide prevention, community, services

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: LEAD PRESENTATION: Improving access to mental health services by marginalised communities
Anton Isaacs

Mental disorders are amongst the highest contributors to the Global Burden of Disease. However, there are vast disparities in the provision of mental health services both between and within nations. Marginalised groups such as rural communities, ethnic minorities, refugees and indigenous peoples are known to be at higher risk of experiencing mental disorders but do not receive adequate care for it.

Aims of the Study: The purpose of this paper is to describe lessons learnt in designing and setting up mental health services for two marginalised communities – one in rural India and the other in an Aboriginal community in South Eastern Australia.

Methods: Two case studies of setting up a mental health service are described and compared to identify key elements to consider when developing services for hard to reach and marginalised communities.

Results: Four key elements were identified. They are: 1. Overcoming issues related to mental health literacy (Recognising mental illness and knowing where treatment is available) 2. De-stigmatising the service 3. Rendering the service culturally safe and 4. Ensuring financial sustainability. Traditional mainstream mental health services can improve better access to marginalised groups by integrating community link persons into the team.

PANEL PRESENTATION: Navigating Cultural And Linguistic Diversity- We're here to help!
Ruth Das, Ash Badhan

Working with people from culturally and linguistic diversity can be challenging and complex. Sometimes, it’s hard to know if you’re on the right track or where to go for advice.

The Embrace Project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health to provide a national focus on mental health and suicide prevention for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

The Embrace Project has many strategies, resources and tools to help individuals and mental health services respond to cultural diversity well.

This presentation will provide an overview of the Embrace Project including the:

• Website, including videos, resources, tools and good practice examples
• Activities including the Embrace Lived Experience Group, the Embrace Project Stakeholder Group, and work with Primary Health Networks
• Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia. (The Framework)

The Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia was developed to help services and individual workers to evaluate and enhance their cultural responsiveness. It includes self-assessment against cultural competency standards along with implementation guidance and supporting resources. It is a free national resource and available to any service provider.

This paper will provide a step by step overview of how services can use the Embrace Project resources including the Framework to strengthen, enhance and increase responses to the cultural and linguistic needs of individuals, families and communities.

PANEL PRESENTATION: Learning together: How a transcultural mental health unit approached a community of practice model?
Shehani De Silva, Kimberley Wriedt

This presentation describes a Community of Practice (CoP) model adopted by a transcultural mental health service and aims to highlight how we went about creating and facilitating the Mental Health and Cultural Diversity (MHCD) CoP.
A CoP according to Wegner Trayner (2021) is a “group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly”. There is a need to understand that CoPs are complex and multifaceted programs. CoPs are used in healthcare to influence change in practice, which requires a change in practitioner behaviour and therefore the social and cultural context within which they operate is likely to influence their impact.
The MHCD CoP aims to support its members to embed and integrate culturally safe and responsive mental health practices. Knowing that these spaces are very rare in the mental health sector, VTMH chose this model to offer the workforce a space to have conversations about cultural diversity and mental health, and share the successes and challenges they face when putting their learning and knowledge into practice. These spaces also support clinicians to navigate complexities in their work.
According to the literature CoP’s are seen as effective learning mechanisms. CoP’s have three key elements and it is the combination of these elements that constitutes a community of practice and developing these three elements in parallel is what cultivates such a community. A number of communities of practice have been mentioned in recent Victorian mental health workforce strategy documents and are occurring in different spaces in the sector.
To date the CoP has supported a diverse range of practitioners across a range of settings including those beyond the MH sector to come together to exchange ideas, thoughts and experiences regarding a broad range of issues in relation to cultural diversity and mental health. This is we believe helping to build bridges and connections amongst members to find common ground and encouraging robust conversations about cultural diversity and mental health that may not usually be explored.
We believe the CoP model is a supportive approach for building a critically reflective workforce which is vital for a culturally safe and responsive MH system. After having facilitated Mental health and cultural diversity CoP for 2 years, VTMH is using these learnings to develop an overarching framework that we believe will strengthen and sustain this approach to learning.
In our presentation we hope to highlight some of the learning and observations we had as facilitators. This will include how we have seen the key elements of a CoP come together to support the community to learn. The different mediums and facilitation approaches used to enable both interest in the topics and continued engagement, dedication and passion for the CoP more broadly, will also be discussed.
As a community of learners, we believe the CoP is showcases how, “if you want to go far, go far with others”.

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