Culturally and linguistically diverse people
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Culturally and linguistically diverse (or CALD) describes people who identify as belonging in some way to a non-Australian culture.
Each CALD community is different. Each person within a community is different. Communities can have different views on mental health and disability. Mental health is about how you think and how you feel. Some communities might have negative views about mental health problems and disability. It can be hard if this is the case in your community. A mental health problem is when feelings start to bother you. It can also be when you do not feel in control of your feelings.
People from CALD communities can face discrimination. Discrimination is when you treat someone badly because of something about them they cannot control. People from CALD communities with intellectual disability and mental health problems can face discrimination.
You can get support to:
- improve your mental health
- build skills to respond to discrimination
- help communities understand more about intellectual disability and mental health.
Concerns you may have if you want to get support for your mental health and what you can do
As a member of a CALD community, you may have some concerns if you have a mental health problem and want to get support.
On this page, we talk about:
- some common worries you may have
- ideas for what you can do if you have these worries.
You are concerned about what your community will think or do if you have a mental health problem
This is a common worry, but you can get help.
You can ask for support from:
- your GP. A GP is the doctor that you see when are sick or need a health check. A GP is also known as a general practitioner.
- someone you trust
- support services. To find out more about services and support for your mental health, visit Services for mental health.
To find out more about getting support visit Where to start to get help.
You can get support even if you are worried about what your community will think because the service will be confidential. Confidentiality means that information about you must not be shared with others unless you say that it is OK to share. Anything you tell health workers will be kept confidential unless there is a good reason to share information such as:
- you say it is OK
- you or other people are in danger
- the law says they must.
Your community does not have to know about your mental health if you do not want them to.
Advocate for yourself or ask someone to advocate for you
Being told you cannot look for or get mental health support because of your culture or disability is discrimination.
Discrimination ignores your rights. Rights are rules about how everybody should be treated fairly. A right is something everyone has. You can find out more about Your Rights.
Discrimination is not OK. If you face discrimination, you can:
- advocate and say it is not OK. To advocate is to do things so your rights and needs are met.
- discuss it with someone you trust.
You can advocate for yourself or someone else can advocate for you. There are advocacy services that can help you such as the Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association. To find more information about how you can advocate or find someone to advocate for you visit How to advocate. This Easy Read sheet can also support you to speak up.
You can be an advocate by communicating with your community leaders about helping your community to understand more about mental health and disability. You can ask someone you trust to support you. To find out more about how you can communicate about mental health visit Communicating about my mental health.
You are worried health professionals will not understand you or be able to help you
This is a common worry, but you can get help.
Mental health workers who understand and can help you
People who will help you are called mental health workers. Mental health workers will try to help you feel better. You can ask for a mental health worker who:
- speaks your language
- works with people from CALD communities
- works with people with intellectual disability.
You can ask your mental health worker to include your family or community in your care if that is what you want.
Get support in your language
You can ask for an interpreter to help you communicate with mental health workers. An interpreter is a person who changes words from your language to a language your mental health worker understands. You or your family can:
- ask your doctor or the mental health service to help you organise an interpreter
- ask an NDIS service to arrange a free interpreter
- call, or ask a mental health worker to call, the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.
Services and supports
Services for people from CALD communities
- Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association provide advocacy services for people with disability from CALD communities and support people with NDIS appeals and reviews.
- The Ethnic Community Services Co-operative provides:
- NDIS services and resources
- volunteer projects for people with disability
- support for people with disability looking for work experience and paid employment.
- Open Minds has support services for people from CALD communities with mental health problems.
- Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities has a range of services and resources, including:
- advocacy support
- videos about the NDIS in different languages
- social support groups.
- Kin provides advocacy support for people with disability from CALD communities.
- The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia has a Community Connectors program that supports people from CALD backgrounds to access the NDIS.
Translation and Interpreter Services
- Translating and Interpreting Service provides onsite and on phone interpreting. The telephone number for this service is 131 450.
- NSW Health Care Interpreting Services provides free and confidential interpreters when you go to hospital for your care.
- Lifeline Australia provides crisis support in different languages. You can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 and ask to speak to someone in your language.
Translated resources for people from CALD communities
These resources are not in Easy Read but can still be helpful. If you want, you can ask someone to support you to read them.
- Embrace Multicultural Mental Health provide mental health resources in many different languages.
- Amparo Advocacy Inc has information on the rights of NDIS participants.
- The Cerebral Palsy Alliance provides some translated information and resources.
- Centrelink information about the Disability Support Pension has been translated into different languages.
- The Transcultural Mental Health Centre has mental health resources in different languages.