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Issue 02 | June 2013| www.mhima.org.au

From the Executive Officer

We are entering into the last funded financial year of the MHiMA project, and looking forward to launching more key MHiMA initiatives.

The Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia, a resource designed to guide improvement in the provision of mental health care to all Australians, is nearing completion. Thank you to everyone who provided targeted and general feedback on the draft and please read on for more news about our progress.

A new beyondblue resource for health practitioners working with women and families from CALD backgrounds experiencing mental ill-health in the perinatal period has just been published. MHiMA’s role in developing this resource is discussed in this month’s feature article.

We are also pleased to have launched the revamped MHiMA website. We hope that you find it more interactive, informative and easier to use. We’ve added a lot of new information and a whole new area devoted to sharing information and ideas. It’s called ‘Knowledge Exchange’ and we welcome your feedback.

Our engagement with key organisations, including beyondblue and the National Mental Health Commission, continues. Thank you to those who participated in recent consultations activities, especially the health and community professionals and consumers and carers who took the time to join our online forum and other discussions on anxiety and depression. We are happy to be able to share some preliminary information here ahead of the release of a more comprehensive report. 

Work is also progressing on developing a culturally responsive mental health research agenda and assisting health practitioners around the country to form networks.

As you can see, engaging and working with a range of people and organisations is crucial for MHiMA. I hope you enjoy reading about our progress and the many ways in which people are getting involved.

Once again, many thanks for all your participation and feedback in recent months.

Hamza Vayani

Executive Officer, MHiMA


MHiMA project updates

A national research agenda

Australia needs a research agenda for mental health and suicide prevention for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. MHiMA is addressing this gap by leading a project that will develop an agreed set of research questions relevant to immigrant and refugee mental health. We are using expert consensus methods to build on work, already undertaken, concerning the mental health and well-being of people of refugee background....

Engaging CALD communities online forum

The ‘Engaging CALD Communities Online Forum’, a joint initiative of MHiMA and beyondblue, was open for 22 days during April and May. People from a wide range of backgrounds, disciplines and regions from across Australia, working in mental health, shared their perspectives on effective ways to engage with CALD consumers, families and communities. Participants discussed six topics that helped generate a depth of conversation. A total of 178 people registered for the forum, of whom 94 (52%) logged in. Of these, 40 individual participants made a total of 116 posts....

A new-look website for MHiMA

You can now explore the MHiMA website by going to one of the four icons on the homepage that appeals to you. There is an entry point for consumers, carers and family members, another for people working in community organisations, one for health practitioners and also one for agency leaders and managers. Each one opens to a single page that links to other parts of the website. We’ve also revised and updated information right across the site....

MHiMA Framework update

During May and June 2013 the draft Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia: Towards Culturally Inclusive Service Delivery was available via the MHiMA website for consultation in the form of a survey. We would like to thank everyone who participated and provided feedback. Your input is highly valued and will be used to improve the final version due for release in August 2013....  


News in-depth


Perinatal mental health of CALD women: a resource for health professionals 

beyondblue has recently produced a new information guide to assist health practitioners working with women in the perinatal period, from the period of conception to a year or so after the baby’s birth. Women from CALD backgrounds are particularly vulnerable to developing emotional distress or mental health disorders in the perinatal period and they often do not receive the care they need.

Australia has a culturally and linguistically diverse population with approximately 27 % of the estimated resident population born overseas. In the coming years, Australia’s population is poised to remain strongly multicultural, multi-faith and multilingual. The new beyondblue resource, Perinatal mental health of women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds: A guide for primary care health professionals will assist practitioners to provide culturally-appropriate and safe perinatal emotional and mental health care for women of immigrant or refugee background and their families during the perinatal period. Read more....

Sector news

-The Suicide and self-harm in the immigration detention network report was released on 21 May by the Commonwealth Ombudsman's Office. Please note that the report contains information that some readers may find confronting or disturbing.

-Earlier this year Living is for Everyone (LIFE), National Suicide Prevention Strategy hosted an Expert Insights session by Professor Paul Yip from the University of Hong Kong on The effects of cultural factors on suicidality. While the 'call for questions' period for this online discussion has finished, comments and responses can still be viewed  here.

-The latest issue of Forced Migration Review, issue 42, discusses issues arising for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced people and forced migrants. It is available in French, Spanish and Arabic and can be accessed here.

-The Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria has launched a new policy research paper, Women surviving violence: Cultural competence in critical services. View here or download it from MHIMA’s knowledge exchange.

-The Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH), in partnership with Turning Point Drug and Alcohol Centre in Victoria, is working to increase the capacity of young people and their parents from immigrant and refugee communities to reduce the risk of alcohol-related harm. For more information visit  MCWH’s website.

What's new in the literature?

The MHiMA team regularly reads what is being published in Australian and international journals. Each month, we will list some articles that caught our attention. View here to see what was new in April and May 2013. 

You are invited to write a review or summary related to one of these new articles or any other new resource. If you would like to get involved, please go to contact us and give us some feedback. Selected contributions will appear on the MHiMA website and newsletter.