I was born and brought up in Tanzania, East Africa where my parents worked as teachers.
When I moved to Australia at aged 12 I had a perspective on many things that was out of step with my peers’ experiences.
It took me some time to feel ‘at home’. Australia had not been my home (unlike my parents who were ‘coming home’) and I often think about this personal transition, and what makes people feel at ‘home’ when working on our Embrace Multicultural Mental Health Project.
Even more so when listening to the many stories of those with lived experience who have been so integral to the Embrace Project so far.
Stories of trauma, stories of settlement in Australia, stories of stigma about mental health and mental illness, and stories of passion and drive to help improve our systems for those in their new communities, here in Australia.
Communities across the country where people are building new homes and opportunities for their families, and stories from consumers and carers with whom we spent two days with this week in Canberra as part of a workshop for the Embrace Project. Harmony Week was a fitting occasion to bring people together face-to-face.
As many of you know we are extremely proud and honoured to be delivering the Embrace Multicultural Mental Health Project nationally, side-by-side with our Alliance Partners the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Council of Australia (FECCA), and the National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA).
At a delivery level the Project’s key objectives are to:
- Increase participation of consumers and carers from CALD backgrounds in mental health services.
- Improve outcomes for CALD mental health consumers, carers and their families.
- Increase mental health awareness, knowledge and capacity in CALD communities.
- Improve cultural responsiveness and diversity of the mental health workforce.
And for me, the underlying strength of what I’ve seen through the Embrace Project delivery over the last 12 months, is the passion and drive to improve the system at a community level and embed the need for cultural understanding within the system.
Passion and drive that is being led by our consumer and carer group around the country, and a drive which is also at the heart of Mental Health Australia’s vision for mentally healthy communities.
Have a good weekend.