Tasmanian Transcultural Mental Health Network

As Australia's cultural diversity continues to grow, so does the need for mental health and other services to be more responsive to the diversity in their local communities.  Increased cultural diversity brings a range of approaches to understanding and explaining mental illness and mental wellbeing, and increased responsiveness by services ensures greater access and equity in service delivery for culturally and linguistically diverse communities.  

Cultural beliefs about what constitutes mental illness and how to respond to it will affect how people from migrant and refugee backgrounds display distress, explain symptoms, seek help and whether or not they will choose to access health services.  Mental health and other professionals who try to understand and work with differing cultural views about mental illness will more successfully engage with culturally and linguistically diverse consumers and communities and achieve better mental health outcomes (Kleinman and Benson 2006 as cited in MHiMA 2014).  Read more about some of the key issues related to transcultural mental health.

Transcultural mental health in Tasmania 

Culturally and linguistically diverse communities are typically underrepresented within mental health and other services (MHiMA 2014) and this is also identified by members of the Tasmanian Transcultural Mental Health Network.  However, data exploring the people of Tasmania from the 2011 Census shows that:

  • More than 57 650 people (11.6%) of the Tasmanian population were born overseas - an increase of over 11 500 since 2001
  • Over 24% of Tasmanians, or 113 971 people, have one or both parents born overseas
  • Tasmania has residents from over 170 countries, with the top six countries of birth being England, New Zealand, Scotland, Netherlands, Germany and China
  • More than 75 languages other than English are spoken across Tasmania  
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The Phoenix Centre, a program of the Migrant Resource Centre (Southern Tasmania), receives funding from the Crown, through the Department of Health and Human Services, to provide the Tasmanian Transcultural Mental Health Network