Armadale Headspace leading the way in ensuring the voices of CALD youth are heard on mental health

CALD Youth Worker Michelle Ng.
CALD Youth Worker Michelle Ng.

ARMADALE is leading the way in helping culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) young people have a say about mental health.

Headspace Armadale is creating Australia’s first CALD Youth Reference Group to find out what young people from a migrant or refugee background need in terms of mental health.

CALD youth worker Michelle Ng said there was a big need for youth from different backgrounds to have their voices heard.

“Traditions are different, cultures are different, so growing up in Australia, in a western culture, your parents don’t see things in the same way as their child might, causing conflict and lack of communication. Especially when it comes to mental health – if you haven’t got that support from parents, it can be a slippery slope,” she said.

“We want there to be a conversation instead of silence, instead of nothing.”

2016 Census data showed 49 per cent of all Australians were born overseas or had at least one parent who was.

Headspace’s 2015-16 annual report found CALD young people were under-represented as clients, with the centres needing to target CALD youth and connect more with them to help provide suitable services.

“We’re trying to get them more involved in mental health – running art activities, events or getting them to come out and do presentations to people and things like that,” Ms Ng said.

“We’re hoping that can inspire other young people to seek help when they’re going through a tough time.”

Ms Ng said the CALD reference group would also be able to advise on what languages the centres should use at events and whether interpreters would be required.

Headspace Armadale needs eight to 10 core CALD youth reference group members who want to have an input on directing youth mental health services or share their story.

Visit headspace.org.au/he-adspace-centres/armadale or email michelle.ng@headspacearmadale.com.au.

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