Engaging with culturally and linguistically diverse communities to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety: a narrative review

Amy E Z Baker, Nicholas G Procter, Monika S Ferguson
Health & Social Care in the Community 2016, 24 (4): 386-98
Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in Australia face significant challenges in terms of reducing barriers to information and support for depression and anxiety. Increased stigma surrounding mental ill-health in some cultures and related concerns about trust and confidentiality all impact upon timely access to information, services and support for consumers and carers from CALD backgrounds. For health services, there is a need to understand how to better engage CALD communities in mental healthcare. The objective of this narrative review was to identify examples of evidence-based, best practice for what works effectively for engaging with CALD communities to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety. In January 2014, we searched Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, Health-Source Consumer Edition, PsycARTICLES, PsycINFO (all databases within the EbscoHost platform) and PubMed for peer-reviewed articles published between 1994 and 2014. The search revealed a total of 706 records contained within the EbscoHost platform and 689 records in PubMed; 15 matched the inclusion criteria. Six key themes were identified: (i) setting the scene for engagement; (ii) cultural values and preferences; (iii) language considerations; (iv) 'engagers' in the therapeutic process; (v) opening out engagement to include others; and (vi) engaging through the use of technology and alternative mediums. The literature obtained provides a small body of evidence regarding approaches to engaging CALD communities, with findings highlighting the importance of processes which are tailored to the CALD community of interest and which take into account different cultural explanatory models of mental ill-health. Review findings are also discussed within the framework of intersectionality, in which broader structural inequalities and power imbalances - in areas such as gender and social class - collectively impact on help-seeking and mental health outcomes. This review supports further enquiry into how such societal issues influence engagement - and disengagement - in mental health services for CALD communities.

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