Online forums

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please complete your profile

Complete your profile

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community.

Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Forums / Multicultural experiences / Mind your Mind.

Topic: Mind your Mind.

10 posts, 0 answered
  1. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    20 January 2018

    1 in 7 Australians experiences discrimination because of their culture or ethnicity. This can cause psychological distress, anxiety and depression. If the person does not speak English or is newly arrived in this country they may not know how to navigate the system to access support.

    Many come from a culture that perpetuates harmful stereotypes and notions around mental health and seeking help that could hinder the process of receiving professional assistance from services.

    Also, many post-World war migrants and refugees migrated in Australia at a time where services didn’t exist here or in their country of origin. They may not have a common point of reference to draw upon and compare.

    We also need to recognize the complexities of identity and that people may identify with more than one community. For instance, one may identify with a religious community more than an ethnic group. Or the LGBTI community instead of their ethnic community etc.

    So how can we reduce the impact of depression, anxiety and suicide among culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities?

    Research shows that men in particular are faced with many mental health issues that impact on their well being and affect their lives and relationships, but, are not seeking help easily due to stigma, shame and notions of masculinity.

    Men from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds could be faced with additional challenges as a result of the trauma and crises many have lived in their countries of origin. Also, the racism or discrimination and harassment they experience upon their arrival and during their first years of integration into the Australian society, can contribute to the negative notions that become a barrier to accessing help.

    In Australia, men account for 75 per cent of deaths by suicide.

    So, how can we encourage men to take action against depression, anxiety and suicide?

    How can we speak ‘their language?’

    What steps can we take in the general community but also within various ethnic groups to reduce stigma?


  2. Hayfa
    beyondblue Connect Mentor
    • beyondblue Connect is a FREE service that puts people living in Victoria's Greater Dandenong community, in touch with mentors. They can support your wellbeing and help you achieve your goals.
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Lebanon
    Hayfa avatar
    120 posts
    21 January 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Hi Donte',
    A very important issue indeed.
    I think that as a nation we have certainly made advancement in education and awareness of mental health conditions to all groups as can be seen by the work here at beyondblue.
    Certainly there remains a challenge to reach those that are typically harder such as men, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and CALD populations.
    In regard to ethnic groups, we have found from delivering our low intensity mental health peer led support in Greater Dandenong that the response for support has been positive when the right language is used and when the issues that result in the anxiety and depression are addressed first.
    I was in a meeting the other day with some clinicians, from the discussions I learned more about something I already knew and that was, when it comes to the CALD population the clinicians need to let us in first because the real work and support can only be facilitated when the multicultural worker can be on hand to ease the transition by explaining the process, building rapport and trust and most importantly convincing the person to go with the treatment or support being offered.

    I think it is a horribly misguided assumption that the same support can be delivered to all and I truly believe that stigma will be reduced and the most appropriate person centred care can be delivered when supporters of the same ethnic group will be seen not only as valued contributors to helping mainstream psychology and agencies but the key to assisting them to reach those groups.
    There are many several multicultural based agencies and programs offering services to the CALD communities and these have been primarily in health and service navigation and not really mental health services.
    We know there are mental health problems in this community and I think good support with positive outcomes will come from the ethnic worker working closely with the clinician or agency/service.

    Hayfa

    1 person found this helpful
  3. james1
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • China
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    james1 avatar
    3037 posts
    23 January 2018 in reply to Hayfa

    Hello,

    So I'm a male with Chinese heritage, but born here. I can't really speak for those seeking support from a multicultural based agency, but rather from the perspective of growing up, particularly in high school.

    I think you've got some good points in terms of trying to understand the cultural communities better. I have maybe a slightly different opinion for the children of migrants.

    I think the experience 2nd generation children have is often that the hardships their parents talk about do not feel real. We cannot really fully comprehend it because we did not live it. While this would not be an issue normally, I think it does become an issue when our parents also impose onto us the values these hardships have developed. The high importance placed on social ranking, high importance placed on money, work ethic, academic achievement...we do not understand why these are so important when our Australian friends' parents don't seem to care.

    However, I do not think that this is a solely culture issue - simply exaggerated by the hardships of most migrants. My father used to tell me I needed to work on the farms in China, that it would be good for me to do so, because I was spoiled here. But I also have an Australian friend who came from a rural farming background and, living in the city, was told similar things.

    So I think the answer lies not in the culture itself, but in educating the children of migrants why their own values may differ to those of their parents. As a society, I think we don't really teach kids to be autonomous in their thinking. Instead, that is left up to the parents who are often very stressed after work.

    If children are able to understand that their values may differ from their parents, and why this is so, perhaps it can lead to a healthier development of their identity as an Australian with an ethnic background. It is so sad to see many of these children reject their entire ethnic background because it was so heavily imposed on them.

    James

    2 people found this helpful
  4. Hayfa
    beyondblue Connect Mentor
    • beyondblue Connect is a FREE service that puts people living in Victoria's Greater Dandenong community, in touch with mentors. They can support your wellbeing and help you achieve your goals.
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Lebanon
    Hayfa avatar
    120 posts
    24 January 2018 in reply to james1

    Hello James,

    You raise some good and interesting points from the perspective of children of migrant parents.
    I have certainly seen first hand that what you describe does happen however some experiences may be different.
    I think parent mentality is an individual thing that is cultivated from ethnic background, culture, traditions ideas and experiences. It is understandable generally from a parent perspective that if something yielded a good outcome then parents are renown for suggesting the same to their children.
    In my community many families actually encourage their children to visit home so that they can stay connected to their roots but they encourage taking new opportunities in this lucky country and in contrast, not following in the ways of the parents.

    I agree with you that there are perhaps some children that cannot comprehend the hardships their parents talk about because as you say, they don't feel real and haven't been lived however, some would actually dispute that and say they have lived it and can comprehend it even to some extent because they were involved in the hardship too and in many circumstances this has driven them to achieve different and successful goals.
    I think children born in Australia to migrant parents would definitely agree with you because they were born into a new life thus they may not feel wholly connected to the experiences of their parents.

    I think the first place of cognitive learning for an individual takes place within the environment/ home lived experience and this explains much about characters and values that a person cultivates. I think society provides much education about autonomous thinking and this has certainly shaped our society, for example, Western life and ideas/values derived from our environment.
    I am a parent, I have been here since the age of 2, I have lived my parent's hardships because I made a conscious decision to do so since I wanted to understand and assist them but as a parent myself, I want to cultivate new ideas and good values for my children, however I don't want to create a generational gap by discounting older values and ideas because they are still important, there is much that can be learned from them and they are the connectors of my and my families identity.
    I don't think we can separate culture from anything for it is not just about tradition and where you come from, I think it incorporates identity and values that are nurtured individually and environmentally.

    Hayfa

    2 people found this helpful
  5. james1
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • China
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    james1 avatar
    3037 posts
    24 January 2018 in reply to Hayfa

    Hello Hayfa,

    What you've said about staying connected to your roots but also being open to new opportunities is so important.

    I mentioned it at the end of my last posts, but I am always sad to think about how I have rejected, and still do reject, so many parts of my cultural heritage because I feel like so many things were forced upon me.

    I think we have had very different experiences but I think we are both agreeing that ultimately, even small differences in personal circumstance can change us dramatically. And I suppose that is what makes this an on-going challenge: how to we create support systems that accommodate for people and not stereotypes.

    I think that is really what I meant by looking for answers not in culture, but outside. Culture forms a really important part of our person and identity, and it certainly needs to be understood, but I wonder if targeting culture discounts the variation within each culture.

    For example, me and my sister. We had similar upbringings, we were both born here. But she displays a lot more shame towards our Chinese heritage because her schooling environment is surrounded by people who are more affluent, and most Chinese restaurants are...not so nice. This is a problem faced by many other Chinese people I've spoken to, but I think it's less of a cultural issue as it is a social issue.

    So I think culture needs to form part of the understanding of the issue, but perhaps we can look broader. Our cultures are very different, but they are also not unique in their challenges. The pressures I felt in high school were mirrored by many people from Indian background, Greek, Australian...I fear that by targeting cultural communities individually, we lose the ability to explore and share just how similar our actual struggles often are.

    Then again, I'm speaking from a place where mixing of cultures was more prevalent. I know of many family friends who only ever speak to Chinese people and don't trust other cultures, and that's not really a situation I fully understand!

    James

    2 people found this helpful
  6. Hayfa
    beyondblue Connect Mentor
    • beyondblue Connect is a FREE service that puts people living in Victoria's Greater Dandenong community, in touch with mentors. They can support your wellbeing and help you achieve your goals.
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Lebanon
    Hayfa avatar
    120 posts
    24 January 2018 in reply to james1

    Hi James

    You are quite right, the differences and circumstances in one's life can dramatically change a person.
    You say you are sad at how you rejected so many parts of your cultural heritage because you felt it was forced upon you, I can understand that and as I mentioned earlier I have observed that happen to others.

    I wonder whether if you took a fresh look at your wonderful heritage and culture you may see things you couldn't before because your observations, thoughts and experiences were given to you by your parents which resulted in you having negative experiences.

    We are born into a certain place and our experiences are a life learning lesson that are influenced by us and others around us, and during our life these factors serve to shape and teach us, we will have positive and negative moments that will stay with us.
    I think it is good to try to think about what it was exactly that caused you to reject cultural and other ideas and work on that part rather than reject the actual ideas. Perhaps revisiting and seeing the ideas for what they really are from your lens may offer you a different, positive perspective and a beautiful experience.
    I think this could help and trying it seems to address your statement;
    "...I think culture needs to form part of the understanding of the issue, but perhaps we can look broader..we lose the ability to explore and share just how similar our actual struggles often are."

    There are many different perspectives and our acceptance for something is moulded from our individual ideas and experiences and the world around us, as an individual you don't have to accept someone else's ideas, you just have to respect them and ensure that your ideas are also respected even if others may not necessarily accept them. You can't change another person and another person can't change you because everyone has control only over their own thoughts and actions.
    I encourage you to think about what feels right for you and what you want to see happen for you, you may have missed this opportunity growing up but it's never too late to change your experiences.

    Hayfa

    1 person found this helpful
  7. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    24 January 2018 in reply to Hayfa

    Hi Hayfa,

    You've hit the nail on the head!

    In order for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to be reached with the same messages of prevention and support available to English-speakers so we can have a just, fair and inclusive society, all people should have the opportunity to participate in and contribute to community life. This is what the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria advocates and the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia stands for.

    There are numerous culturally and linguistically diverse clinicians and workers that may work in a different role within the health system. Perhaps a government priority should be to upskill and help these professionals develop further in this area. Recruitment of new bilingual/bicultural workers and overseas workers could be harnessed. Collaborations with ethno specific, multicultural and community non-for-profit organizations and the ethnic media could help reaching our outcomes.

    If funding is allocated for programs like these then the work will become much easier and vulnerable and disadvantaged groups could be reached. :)

  8. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    24 January 2018 in reply to james1

    Hello James.

    Very good points indeed and I am sure many would relate. Intergenerational issues exist in every society and in all cultures. As in Victoria 46% of our population has been born overseas or has a parent born overseas, I believe that understanding the importance of cultural identity can help us work with this large percentage of our population. Effective engagement requires an understanding of the language and culture of a group of people and the best ways to effectively reach them. These could be by mobilization of community leaders, religious leaders, ethnic media, social clubs, sporting clubs, ethnic schools, churches, mosques, temples, synagogues etc. as well as ethnic doctors and community organizations who work closely with a variety of communities.

  9. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    24 January 2018 in reply to james1

    Hi James,

    Some really great points!

    Culture is indeed an individual thing and differs from one person to another. Not two people are the same. Culture is much more than common language and traditions or ethnicity. Everyone has culture, Anglo-Australians included. Second and third generation of children of migrants too. Also, good to keep in mind that not all migrants have worked hard and suffered. Many didn't. That doesn't mean that their lives are less important of course. My family, for instance, arrived in Australia in the late 80s from an affluent suburb with lots of properties and on a working visa/sponsorship and I cannot recall struggling. This though could also be generational. Maybe in the post-War era most people struggled no matter what their heritage. Our support systems and services - settlement, housing, health and welfare etc perhaps were not back then, what they are now. Nevertheless, with a huge percentage (46%) of our population having heritage other than English, and as we age, supports and culturally and linguistically appropriate services need to continue and even increase in some instances, to meet the demand of high numbers of specific groups of people ageing disproportionately to the rest of the population (as they all migrated at a similar time and age so they're aging together).

  10. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    24 January 2018 in reply to Hayfa

    Hi Hayfa, (and wave to James!)

    I agree, we are born at a particular place and time and learn the language they teach us, the beliefs that are passed on to us and the traditions of our group etc. There are some valuable things we all experience no matter what our country of origin may be. We carry these with us. They shape us during our formative years. As we grow up we also get exposed to a variety of diverse ideas, values and beliefs and usually we accept many and adopt them if we agree with these or they suit our lifestyle, views, personality etc. Through the migration in a very diverse society and integration into it, we also change as we pick up elements from the environment which shapes us. Our children, born in Australia, and a few decades later, experience life in a very different way as the times are different and society's morals and ethics are not what they used to be when we were their age. We have also changed! This happens no matter where you grow up. Additionally, today, globalisation and media/internet, social media and technology is shaping us and changing us globally. I believe it is an individual thing of how much you identify or not by a particular culture, even if it is the culture of your parents. There's no absolutes. Every culture has great things and bad things. The onus is up to the individual to 'cherry pick' and choose what is relevant for their life. But I come from a very individualist perspective developed though my experiences and not a collectivist. Ultimately though it is all about choice and how one identifies. Or at least it should be. :)

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.


Sign me up