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Community mental health advocates

9 Aug 2018

This Queensland Multicultural Month we’re showcasing some of the work that supports mental health, wellbeing and social inclusion among our community members from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

The ability to recognise and appropriately respond to grief, loss and associated mental health problems among newly arrived migrants and refugees experiencing culture shock, poses unique cultural and language challenges.

The Harmony Place Community Mental Health Advocate project aims to help migrants and refugees overcome barriers for seeking mental health support, by upskilling CALD community members and frontline staff in mental health education to become community mental health advocates.

Funded through our grants program, the first training session for advocates was held in late January 2018 and focused on de-stigmatising mental health in CALD communities.

The project, which includes a number of face-to-face training sessions backed up with online course content, was developed in consultation with CALD community members, case workers and social workers. Topics included self-care, dealing with anxiety and depression, trauma, domestic and family violence, professional boundaries when working in mental health, mental/emotional safety at work, ethics of disclosure, developing resilience and stress management.

Most CALD translators and community workers are not typically trained in sensitive counselling settings. And most counselling practitioners are not skilled in the use of interpreters, which can create a deficit for the person who services are designed to help. The aim of this project is to build a bridge between the two.

It is expected the upskilled CALD translators and community workers will have opportunities for paid work with a variety of organisations. The project will be completed by late 2018.

Learn more about our grants program.

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