In 2017-18, the Mental Health Commission of NSW undertook a project looking into the mental health literacy levels of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. The aim was to identify barriers to help seeking and raise awareness of mental health issues. A matrix was created to identify which communities to work with and where the Commission could make the greatest impact.
Through a series of consultations, the Mental Health Commission of NSW identified the Hazara community from Afghanistan as a priority group where there is opportunity to help increase knowledge on mental health issues.
The NSW Mental Health Commission worked with NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation or Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) to consult with the community and develop an initative to help increase mental health literacy.
The consultations were conducted within the context of a long-standing STARTTS relationship with the community, implementation of a current Mental Health Literacy and Suicide Prevention project run by STARTTS and funded by WentWest, and included engagement of a number of Hazaragi speaking community development and clinical staff.
The project resulted in the creation of a group of Hazara community peer leaders trained in accidental counselling and suicide prevention. This group provided support and guidance for this project.
A report was developed that captures themes and recommendations that emerged from ﬁve mental health consultations held with members of the Hazara community between April and June 2018. The consultations were held with the purpose of informing and planning a culturally effective mental health literacy campaign for the Hazara community.
A total of 85 Hazara men and women participated in the consultation process. 11 of the 85 participants were asylum seekers, while the others were permanent residents ranging from new arrivals to residents who had been living in Australia for as long as 15 years.