Mental health resources become accessible for diverse communities

A range of new resources has been launched today as part of a trial program to provide better mental health support to people from diverse communities.

The digital mindfulness resources, which have been developed after identifying a need within Arabic, Bangla, Mandarin, Nepali, Greek and Spanish speaking communities, aim to help people improve their wellbeing and reduce psychological distress through six mindfulness exercises.

Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the new resources will make a real difference to the lives of people from these communities.

“COVID has had a significant impact on the mental health of many people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, due to feeling less safe, disruptions in social support activities, challenges in finding work, and other impacts on daily life,” Mrs Taylor said.

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“Studies have shown that programs based in mindfulness are effective in reducing depression, anxiety and stress, and improve overall general wellbeing. These resources have been adapted from mindfulness programs that have been found to produce significant improvements in mental health and reductions in psychological distress.

“Mindfulness can be practised by anyone from any faith irrespective of their cultural or spiritual beliefs.”

Arabic and Bangla were the first two languages the resources were developed in, and represented the first time nationally or internationally there has been a translation of an evidence-based mindfulness program into these languages.

Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure said the programs help speak directly to people in their language.

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“Just like we need to be treating mental health as part of our holistic health and wellbeing, so too do we need to ensure everyone across NSW can access the help they need no matter their cultural background or language,” Mr Coure said.

“This trial program reflects the ongoing commitment of the NSW Government to ensure no one is left behind in our rich multicultural society.

“While the resources are in-language, they are also developed with awareness of these communities’ respective cultures to ensure they are speaking directly to people in a way they will understand and can relate to.

“The programs are free and can be accessed without a referral, so I encourage anyone from these communities needing support with their mental wellbeing to look to these resources for help.”

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Director of the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service and Priority Populations in South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Lisa Woodland, said the resources were co-developed by bilingual health professionals, accredited translators and community members, to ensure the integrity of the evidence-based program and cultural acceptability.

“The multicultural mindfulness resources are now available online for community members, community organisations, bilingual mental health professionals and community workers,” Ms Woodland said.