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Issue 01 | April 2013| www.mhima.org.au

From the Executive Officer                                

Multicultural mental health representatives travelled to Melbourne in February for the first meeting of the MHiMA States and Territories Reference Group. This important group is comprised of individuals who are leaders in multicultural mental health debates and reform. They have generously agreed to provide the MHiMA project with essential advice and ongoing support across a range of project areas. I am also pleased to report that Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (MHiMA) has a number of positive developments underway as we speak:        

  • We are delighted that MHiMA’s consumer and carer working groups are up and running. These vibrant and energetic group members are already making significant and meaningful contributions to MHiMA’s work;                                   
  • Work continues on the development of the Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia. In recent months, we’ve been very busy seeking input and advice from Commonwealth, state and territory government representatives, policy leaders, transcultural mental health managers, the National Mental Health Commission and consumer and carer representatives; and                        
  • We are also committed to creating new ways to involve you in MHiMA initiatives. An interactive online forum is underway as a result of partnership with beyondblue and we are working with the Mental Health Professionals Network to develop a transcultural national network.

I hope you enjoy hearing about the practical results and impact our work is beginning to make in this new e-newsletter format and via our website. Please read on to find out more about what MHiMA has been doing and our future plans. We look forward to your ongoing support and involvement in raising awareness and bringing about tools for improvement in mental health services for CALD communities. What we have started to achieve across the nation would not be possible without the hard work and commitment of our leadership team, staff, consumer and carer representatives and numerous stakeholders.

Yours in positive health and well-being for all Australians.

Hamza Vayani


MHiMA Project Updates

Engaging CALD Communities Online Forum

Are you working in the area of mental health providing services or support to people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds? beyondblue and MHiMA are pleased to invite you to participate in an online forum which will take place in April 2013. This forum has been developed as a space to explore issues related to engaging people from CALD backgrounds to reduce the impact of mental health issues. The forum will also provide opportunities for information sharing and collective learning across a range of disciplines, workplace settings and locations within Australia...                    

Framework for Mental health in Multicultural Australia: progress report

Work continues on the development of a new Framework for Mental health in Multicultural Australia that builds on and integrates the existing National Cultural Competency Tool. The framework consists of three integrated components: an online self-assessment organisational cultural competency scale; an implementation framework consisting of strategies and outcome indicators at three levels of achievement; and supporting tools and resources to facilitate implementation. Scores generated from the self-assessment process will assist services to determine how culturally responsive they are, develop a continuous improvement plan and track progress achieved over a period of time through utilisation of the online tool...

Cultural responsiveness learning programmes for mental health practitioners: what do we know?

What cultural competence or cultural responsiveness learning programmes are currently available to mental health practitioners in each state and territory? What sorts of programmes should be available? How can we work together to develop national mental health cultural responsiveness competencies and accredited courses? MHiMA is currently exploring what is known about the effectiveness of cultural responsiveness learning programmes for health professionals in mental health settings, the availability of programmes across Australia, and collective aspirations for the future...        

Mental Health Professional Network (MHPN)

Are you a mental health professional working with immigrants and refugees?  Lead and Join our Network! A new partnership between Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (MHiMA) and Mental Health Professional Network (MHPN) is aiming to meet the unique mental health needs of immigrants and refugees. We are forming a network that will enable sharing and collaboration within and across states and territories...   


News in depth

MHiMA CALD Consumer and Carer Working Groups

Earlier this year, the MHiMA project convened two working groups, the MHiMA Consumer Working Group and the MHiMA Carer Working Group, comprised of representatives from each state and territory. This is in line with MHiMA’s commitment to ensuring that consumer and carer perspectives and expertise are embedded across the work of the project. Here is an overview of how the groups were established and what the groups have achieved so far. More information about the groups, the terms of reference under which they meet and their activities will be made available on the MHiMA website shortly. This project is led by MHiMA consortium member, the University of South Australia. Read more... 


Sector News

4th WA Transcultural Mental Health and 2nd Australasian Refugee Health Conference

The Transcultural Mental Health Service of the Department of Psychiatry at Royal Perth Hospital, ISHAR Multicultural Women's Health Centre, and the Department of Health's North Metropolitan Health Service Public Health and Ambulatory Care are hosting the 4th WA Transcultural Mental Health and 2nd Australasian Refugee Health Conference 2013 (Trans-Refugee 2013). It will be held at the Duxton Hotel Perth from 31 October to 1 November 2013. Registration is now open online. Register prior to Friday, 31 May 2013 in order to secure your Early Bird Registration.

Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia (FECCA) Access and Equity consultations

Each year, FECCA, the national peak body representing Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds conducts Access and Equity consultations across Australia, to find out what CALD people’s experiences are accessing Government services. FECCA then provides feedback to Government on what is working and what is not working. The survey is specifically designed to obtain the insights and opinions of people from CALD backgrounds and takes about 5–10 minutes to complete.


What's new in literature?

Transcultural Psychiatry is celebrating publication of its 50th volume this year. Published by the Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, highlights from the current issue include:

Paris, J. & Lis, E. (2013). Can sociocultural and historical mechanisms influence the development of borderline personality disorder?  Transcultural Psychiatry. 50(1) 140-151.                                

Stanghellini, G. & Ciglia, R. (2013). De Martino’s concept of critical ethnocentrism and its relevance to transcultural psychiatry Transcultural Psychiatry. 50(1), 6-20.