Toolkit launched to help staff better interact with clients with mental ill health who are from different cultures
A new toolkit has been launched to help mental health and social care staff better interact with clients from other cultures.
The ‘Cultural Competency Toolkit’, developed by equalities charity Diverse Cymru, provides guidance on how staff can take action to overcome the barriers that Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) people often face when accessing services because of differences in culture.
The toolkit has been funded by Welsh Government and was officially launched by Health Secretary Vaughan Gething at Diverse Cymru’s main office. The Diverse Cymru funding is part of £3m provided to third sector organisations by Welsh Government for 2015-18 for projects to support people with mental ill health.
Suzanne Duval, Director of Well-being and Partnership at Diverse Cymru developed the toolkit. She said:
“Research has shown that BME people are less likely to seek support for mental ill health at an early stage due to cultural barriers and so they access services much later, when their illness is more severe. This toolkit aims to equip staff with the knowledge to recognise mental ill health in BME clients so that they are able offer treatment before the clients’ illnesses worsen.
For example, the toolkit advises that body language is not the same in all cultures. Some people may not make eye contact with a doctor or professional, but this is not because of shyness or trying to hide something, but rather a way to show respect. A simple misunderstanding based on body language, or written information in a language they can’t read could easily lead to someone dropping out of the system.
I have seen many times over the years how simple changes could make a world of difference to those trying to access mental health services, and I’m very glad the Welsh Government has funded and supported this piece of work.
I hope that this Toolkit provides healthcare professionals with some of the relevant techniques and interventions to deliver an effective culturally competent, patient centred service.”
Vaughan Gething said:
“Diverse Cymru provides valuable support for our NHS mental health services by providing a voice and support for people from BME service users in Wales
“I welcome the development of the Cultural Competency Toolkit which will help professionals and services deliver more appropriate care and support. Such projects will help us achieve a number of the goals included in our ten-year strategy Together for Mental Health.