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Harmony Week activity spotlights cultural communication

21 March 2024

Two dynamic mental health workers are on a mission to transform cultural communication this Harmony Week.

Logan’s Multicultural Mental Health Coordinator Sweekriti Shrestha and her AMHS colleague Sarah Anderson will host viewings of ABC’s “You Can’t Ask That”, to enhance cultural competency within the Service.

The show’s premise is to pose shocking and thought-provoking questions to marginalised Australians, uncovering the challenges they face.

The pair said the five sessions they chose to air during Harmony Week focused on the primary populations within Metro South Health including Refugees, First Nation Australians and African, Asian and Muslim Australians.

"We hope that staff will gain valuable insights into the experiences and challenges faced by individuals struggling with mental health issues, while deepening their understanding, empathy, and cultural awareness," Sweekriti said.

"This, in turn, will lead to the delivery of more effective and compassionate care to our consumers."

Sweekriti who originated from Nepal, said staff fears about interacting with a minority population could increase when discussing mental health issues, if staff were fearful of saying something offensive or when they lacked understanding of the challenges faced by these groups.

She said this fear-based communication could lead to disparities in health care access and outcomes which was why education around cultural competence was crucial.

Service Integration Officer Sarah echoed the importance of fostering an inclusive environment that represented the diverse needs of our community.

Sarah said while seeking mental health support was a daunting task for anyone, our most vulnerable consumers faced extra complexities with language barriers and cultural needs adding confusion, humiliation, and feelings of being dismissed to their experience.

“Harmony Week aims to remind health care workers of the need to explore their cultural competency in creating a space of inclusiveness and representation of the diverse needs of the people we serve,” she said.

Harnessing the spirit of Harmony Week, which celebrates diversity and unity among Australians from all different backgrounds, Sarah and Sweekriti said they wanted to spread the message that ‘we are united and stronger because of our diversity’.

“Let’s work together to break stereotypes, foster inclusivity, respect, and belongings for all community members seeking to access support across the HHS,” they said.

Last updated 21 March 2024
Last reviewed 21 March 2024

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