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Cultural Competency for mental health support in Ireland

Mental Health Reform has launched the Cultural Competency Toolkit, a practical guide for mental health professionals, services, and staff on working with ethnic minority communities in Ireland.

Fiona Coyle, CEO, Mental Health Reform said: “Research shows that people from ethnic minority groups experience significant challenges in accessing mental health supports that adequately meet their needs. These include language barriers, bias and communication problems and cultural differences and misunderstandings.

In response to this need, Mental Health Reform engaged the Welsh pan-equality organisation Diverse Cymru to design and  develop the Cultural Competency Toolkit with support from the HSE and the Sláintecare Integration Fund. The Toolkit is structured around the importance of providing culturally sensitive mental health services, and aims to ensure equitable outcomes for ethnic minority groups.”

Charles Willie, scheme facilitator, said: “Diverse Cymru are proud to have designed and authored this Cultural Competency Toolkit for mental health professionals and  practitioners in Ireland. In the development of the toolkit , it has been a real pleasure to have worked with Mental Health Reform and the Cabra Community Mental Health Team in developing a much needed resource, which we hope will ensure where necessary, more  sustainable and equitable mental health outcomes for ethnic minority communities in Ireland.”

The Toolkit was piloted with project partners, the Cabra Community Mental Health Team who took part in a Cultural Competency education programme delivered by the Welsh pan-equality organisation Diverse Cymru.

Dr Pauline Moloney, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Cabra Community Mental Health said: “Cabra Community Mental Health team were delighted to be involved in the Cultural Competency education programme. Many of our service users come from ethnic minority communities so the programme was greatly beneficial for staff. It is hoped that this toolkit helps mental health practitioners to deliver diverse and culturally competent mental health supports across Ireland.”

The Toolkit provides information about the service delivery needs, barriers and disparities for ethnic minority communities. It also sets out recommended practices, which provide specific practical guidance for the mental health workplace.

The project was overseen by an expert steering committee. The expert group included mental health service users from ethnic minority communities, HSE Community Mental Health Services, community and voluntary organisations (Cairde, AkiDwA and the Cork Migrant Centre) working with ethnic minority communities and experts in cultural competence education.