Victoria’s multicultural mental health workforce has an important role in supporting the mental wellbeing of our migrant and refugee communities.

However, while there have been a number of recent initiatives to support the mental health of multicultural communities, it is important that the needs of multicultural mental health workers themselves are not neglected.

ECCV’s new paper ‘Mental Health in Multicultural Communities – Issues and Solutions’ sheds light on the challenges confronting our multicultural mental health workforce, who are under pressure and at risk of burnout due to excessive workload and demands.

Bicultural and bilingual staff face are often required to act as both a practitioner and cultural liaison expert. Because they may be perceived as having expertise about a particular cultural or faith community, they are expected to handle all matters related to engagement with that community, creating unreasonable expectations and pressures.

The uncertainty of short-term funding arrangements also make it difficult for organisations to recruit and train staff. Short-term funding hinders organisations from achieving progress, given the need for long-term support often required to address mental health issues.

Drawing upon interviews with 25 multicultural mental health experts, an online survey, and consultations with members of ECCV’s Multicultural Mental Health Network and other policy advisory committees, the paper also investigates Victoria’s ongoing mental health reforms and how migrant and refugee communities engage with the mental health system.

We highlight the issues of greatest current concern and make recommendations for a mental health system that is culturally safe, culturally responsive, equitable and inclusive for all members of the community.

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