Working with Multi-Cultural People

It is well known that multicultural people are less likely than the general population to use services. Working with people from diverse backgrounds requires a flexible and open approach to understanding need, genuine engagement with families and commitment to working in partnership with the multicultural, immigrant and refugee communities.

 Your Life Your Choice principles

When working with multicultural people we will:

  • create a welcoming environment through the use of language, images and physical spaces
  • actively promote and enable family inclusion in decision making and support processes
  • build relationships with community organisations, leaders and faith communities

Evidence base for the Your Life Your Choice approach

Research to establish principles for multicultural people showed that people experience a number of structural barriers to accessing services, including:

  • lack of familiarity with Australian services in general
  • differing conceptual frameworks of disability and mental health
  • lack of trust in authority
  • difference in values to effectively address these barriers, a whole of organisation approach is needed in developing genuine cross-cultural responsiveness. This includes the development of targeted strategies for ethnic communities and for new and emerging communities, cultural competence training for staff, and the commitment to developing strategies in partnership with community leaders to address stigma, create awareness and improve access for people from these communities.

Features of the Your Life Your Choice approach

Your Life Your Choice will:

  • offer culturally-appropriate assessment and involve specialist cultural services where appropriate in considering what the person and their family need
  • involve family at all stages of decision making where appropriate and welcome involvement and input from important people in a person’s life, such as ministers of faith
  • wherever practicable, adapt practices, tools and physical environments in response to cultural and religious needs
  • use interpreters and translate important information into plain English and relevant community languages
  • work in partnership with local ethnic and cultural communities and leaders in these communities to build relationships, address stigma and develop shared approaches to mental health
  •  involve people of multicultural backgrounds in the development, planning and evaluation of services