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Understanding mental health and stigma in Congolese, Arabic-speaking and Mandarin-speaking communities

Mental health CALD Stigmatization Australia

The Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) population of Australia encompasses communities of different languages, nationalities, religions, cultures, ethnic backgrounds, cultural beliefs and family structures. Research has shown that there is low uptake of mental health services among CALD individuals, despite the need to do so. However, understanding the reasons for reduced mental health help-seeking is lacking, with insufficient evidence to inform mental health service delivery and stigma reduction campaigns for CALD groups.

Funded by Embrace Multicultural Mental Health, this research project endeavoured to deeply understand the barriers to help-seeking and engagement, including those related to mental health literacy and stigma, in three key CALD groups – Arabic-speaking, Mandarin-speaking (Chinese), and Congolese. The project aimed to provide new insights into the factors that influence mental health related help-seeking (including that of stigma), and thereby build on the national knowledge base for these three community groups, and provide policy recommendations to inform mental illness stigma reduction initiatives in these communities.

Across all three groups, migration and related experiences was the common denominator. Notably, the researchers found that the pre-migration cultural framework served as the main reference point for how participants viewed mental illness, and consequently how they engaged with the Australian health system.

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