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African community mental health report

21 Dec 2021

One of the first community-led studies to collect and analyse the mental health needs of the African community has been conducted.

The research project of the Queensland African Communities Council (QACC), Beyond Barriers of the Community, was launched at an event attended by Commissioner Ivan Frkovic.

The research team conducted a combined qualitative and quantitative study of the mental health needs of Africans living in metro-south catchment areas in Queensland, including Logan, Ipswich and South Brisbane.

Interviews were conducted with 49 participants from 17 different African countries of origin and speaking more than 12 different language preferences.

The report’s introduction notes that during the past few years the number of tragic incidents related to mental health, the use of alcohol and other drugs in the African community in Queensland and around the country, has increased dramatically.

The report’s key findings included –

  • The fact that there is an inability to recognise mental health issues as a legitimate health condition that requires professional help;
  • Barriers to help-seeking include certain cultural attitudes that determine the community’s response to mental health challenges;
  • Mental health stigma within the community was also a major factor as well as the  availability of information about mental health and how to seek help;
  • The current state of services was not perceived by the participants of the study to be culturally appropriate to cater for the needs of the African community.

The report found that measures need to be taken to create awareness and educate the African community on mental health, alcohol and other drugs and the importance of help-seeking. Mental health and AOD use policies should emphasize culturally appropriate services to ensure that African migrants are included, through education and training.

“There is a need for a holistic approach that acknowledges and appreciates the journey many Africans traverse before arriving to, and while in, Australia. It is recommended that the concept of ‘one size fits all’ be repudiated in the development of mental health resources.

Read the Beyond Barriers of the Community report