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 / Struggling for cultural sensitivity

Topic: Struggling for cultural sensitivity

6 posts, 0 answered
  1. Hawraa
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Lebanon
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Hawraa avatar
    9 posts
    7 December 2017

    Hey guys!

    My name's Hawraa (pronounced, how-rah), and mental health is something I take very personally and am very passionate about. I've had a general anxiety disorder (GAD) most of my life with memories as early as 9yrs old, I've also experienced bouts of depression in my adult years. I have family members that have suffered with their mental health and unfortunatley the thing we all have in common is we suffered silently and ignorantly for far too long before understanding what we were experiencing and feeling. On top of that, finding the support with the cultural and religious sensitivity to help us navigate through these experiences was incredibly difficult.

    Personally, I've seen a great deal of mental health advocacy, and I think it's incredible. It's becoming more of a conversation and moving in the right direction. However, I fail to see much diversity in representation when mental health is indiscriminatory. I sort counselling on a few occassions and found that most of my time was explaining my culture and faith and why seemingly social norms would be triggers of shame, guilt, and anxiety. This is why this multicultural experiences forum is something I'm excited to be a part of and look forward to engaging with people on their experiences and be able to relate through the lived experiences that come with our heritege.

    Empathetically,

    Hawraa

    3 people found this helpful
  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
    7 December 2017 in reply to Hawraa

    Hi Hawraa,
    I totally agree with your thoughts on the positive movement in direction of healthy conversations about mental health, I am so happy that you are excited to see this Multicultural Experiences section happen so that people can begin respectful and healthy discussions about the meaning of one's real feelings and emotions previously blocked in a veil of religious and cultural beliefs.

    I totally understand the suffering in silence and the denial of the real condition for fear of discrimination from the perspective of what is considered should be the norm in one's cultural and/or religious community.
    I identify myself as Australian Lebanese and to this day, I am especially shocked that in all my work and research there is no adequate specialist medical term in Arabic to describe mental health conditions. More disturbing, overseas in Lebanon, at last checking, there is only 12 psychiatrists for the entire country.
    I guess this explains some of why we still have a long way to go in mental health awareness for ours and future ethnic generations regardless of where one ends up living in the world.

    We are lucky to be living here whereupon we can openly discuss mental health and I am really excited to see this space created so that we can do that here.
    I look forward to hearing more.

    Regards,
    Hayfa

    2 people found this helpful
  3. J.M.12345
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Lebanon
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    J.M.12345 avatar
    46 posts
    8 December 2017 in reply to Hawraa

    Hi Hawraa,

    Great to have you in the forums and thanks for sharing that! I agree. There is a lot of mental health stigma normally and then in some cultural backgrounds this is even more obvious. I myself am of Lebanese origin like Hayfa and in my family, when I began recognising my mental health problems, I found that there was an attitude of "dealing with it". Through my experience and that of my family, we have come a long way, and I do think this is reflective of the general shift in society whereby people are more open to discussing mental health. Of course, there is still some way to go, but we're getting there, one discussion at a time!

    Looking forward to discussing further in these forums.

    Cheers,

    Josette

    1 person found this helpful
  4. op1996
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Vietnam
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    op1996 avatar
    7 posts
    10 December 2017 in reply to Hawraa

    Hi Hawraa,

    I can empathise with your post as a member of minorities. I also see that countries like a Australia have way better social support and more mental health advocacies in comparison to more conservative countries. However I am fully aware that there are still stigma surrounding mental illness and I think forums like these are a good way to 'warm' people up to seeking help as it is less intimidating to express their thoughts anonymously behind a computer screen.

    This forum is also a space for people to express religious freedom, which I think it's great as some do face the pressure to express themselves religiously and culturally openly in everyday lives. I am glad you made this post and looking forward to hear more!!

    Chinh

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Hawraa
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Lebanon
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Hawraa avatar
    9 posts
    13 December 2017

    Hey guys!

    Seeing so many responses empathising with the experiences I've had and have watched others go through is just all the more reaffirming as to why it's a necessary conversation. Beyond the taboo and stigma that comes with the culture, there are also cultural, and often religious, nuances that I've found western/typical psychology can't address.

    I've been lucky enough to find a psychologist from the same cultural and religious background that immediately understands the struggles and pressures that are specific and unique to my cultural and religious background. It's helped in my sessions immensly. It's also helped me have conversations with others, I'm able to help them navigate what they're feeling and experiencing while considering the intersectionality of psychology.

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    24 December 2017 in reply to Hawraa

    Hi Hawraa,

    this is such an important thread and thank you for raising the topic. Culturally, linguistically and spiritually relevant services and supports have often being developed by ethnic communities themselves as an adhoc response to needs of their population groups. Indeed, it is difficult to find professionals who are bilingual and bicultural and have a culturally inclusive practice. Things are definitely changing and this is a good thing and having forums like this one to be able to express various specific needs pertinent to culturally and linguistically diverse groups is an important step towards improvement. Fortunately, our government recognizes through the Aged Care Act 1997 that culturally and linguistically diverse people are one of the ‘special needs’ group and as such efforts are continually made to improve the sector as large groups of certain ethnic minorities age disproportionately to the general population due to the fact that thousands upon thousands migrated at the same time and are of the same or similar age, thus aging rapidly and many reverting back to their mother tongue (natural part of aging) and seek assistance and support in their own language by someone who is of the same cultural and religious background. Having said that of course we also need to acknowledge that no two people are the same. To be of the same cultural, linguistic and religious background may be beneficial, however, it doesn’t automatically guarantee complete understanding and uniformity in beliefs, views, ideas etc. Person-Centre care is what’s needed and a wholistic approach when delivering services, ie. taking into consideration the universal needs (how’s this person like ALL others), the cultural needs (how is this person like SOME others in a group context), and finally, the individual needs (how’s this person like NO other). As it comes down to self-identification, putting these three basic together - Universal, Cultural, Individual - and approaching the service provision from that perspective may give a more wholistic view of the needs of that person and thus assist in the provision of sensitive and relevant services. There are millions living in the same country and sharing the same ethnicity and religion but that doesn’t mean they all automatically understand each other and they are appropriate help just on that basis. That’s how I’m approaching it when I seek services and supports for myself. What’s your ideas?

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