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?