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Mental illness can affect anyone within our community, across all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. People who speak English as a second language or are a part of a cultural minority can be particularly vulnerable when faced with the challenges of mental illness due to feelings of isolation and not knowing where to turn for help.
This is why the work of the Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (MHiMA) project is important as it acts as an advocate for people with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds living with mental illness. The MHiMA project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health to provide a national focus for advice and support to providers and governments on mental health and suicide prevention for people with CALD backgrounds.
In April, MHiMA welcomed the release of the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services and is working with the Commonwealth and stakeholders to progress three priority areas from the report: meaningful service redesign of mental health services that optimally impacts on frontline organisation and quality of culturally responsive care; reducing red tape through nationally consistent legislation at Commonwealth, State and Territory Levels; and data collection and measurement.
MHiMA recently released a video outlining the implementation of the framework for multicultural Australia. This framework provides government agencies and mental health organisations with a structure to guide their work in line with MHiMA’s goal of achieving culturally inclusive services on a National level. In May, the video was broadcast at a symposium for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and was well received by attendees. The processes outlined in the video and framework are important guides for Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services as we seek to better engage with our community and improve the quality of care provided across the service.
It is a busy and exciting time for the MHiMA project. These key initiatives will ensure that we can work towards building the services, mechanisms and support needed to ensure that everyone in our community and across Australia can access timely and effective mental health care no matter what their background.
Professor David Crompton
Addiction and Mental Health Services
Metro South Health