Cultural Awareness Tool: Understanding Cultural Diversity in Mental Health
In addressing the problems faced by people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds, health service providers are encouraged to have a ‘culturally-appropriate’ or ‘culturally-sensitive’ approach to the assessment, diagnosis and management of clients. However, despite this imperative, strategies directed at altering the practices of the service providers in an enduring manner have largely been ineffective.
To facilitate improvement in the quality of care of service providers, development of the Cultural Awareness Tool (CAT) was conceptualised. This tool, derived from the successful ‘Checklists for Cultural Assessment’, produced by the Queensland Health Department, is aimed at providing practitioners with general guidance in how to manage clients with mental illness in a more culturally-aware manner. In its entirety, the tool would guide practitioners in eliciting their CALD client’s understanding of the presenting problem, whilst conducting such an investigation in a culturally-sensitive manner.
Following a comprehensive consultation phase, this tool was piloted among a diverse range of health and mental health practitioners. It is therefore designed for use by a variety of clinicians including Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologists, General Practitioners, Social Workers, Mental Health Nurses and Occupational
Therapists. We acknowledge that practitioners may themselves be from CALD backgrounds, but hope that the material is still useful in providing a general understanding of the influences of culture. (Authors)
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