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Support for people from different cultural backgrounds

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Whether you were born overseas or someone in your family was, you and your family might have cultural beliefs and practices that are different from other people in your community. This could mean you have your own way of looking at and understanding mental health and wellbeing. You may not even call it ‘mental health’ or ‘wellbeing’. Different cultures have different ways of talking and thinking about it.

Your cultural beliefs about mental health and wellbeing can also impact on how you look after your wellbeing and where you might seek support if you’re having a hard time. You may often rely on your family and community for support in lots of ways, but find it harder to talk to them about your mental health, feelings or circumstances.

It’s important to know how to look after your own health and wellbeing, and how to seek help when you need it.

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Things that influence your wellbeing

Moving and settling into a new country is a major change, even if the culture is similar. Whether you have just moved to Australia or have been here for some time, there are situations that you may find challenging.

It's normal to have ups and downs. Your wellbeing is influenced by your physical, social, mental and emotional health, your culture, religion, upbringing, and what's going on around you.

Some factors that impact people from multicultural backgrounds are:

  • feeling alone or disconnected from community
  • challenges finding work or adjusting in a new workplace
  • securing a stable future or financial stability
  • managing health issues
  • dealing with trauma or abuse experienced in your home country
  • worrying about family or loved ones back home
  • risk of discrimination or racism
  • feeling overwhelmed while caring for a loved one.

While these situations can be stressful and overwhelming, you are not alone. It’s important to remember that safe and confidential support is available, often for free or at low cost. Get started with some of the resources below.

Taking care of yourself

Whether you are dealing with a challenging situation or want to improve your wellbeing, there are things you can do to stay healthy and feel your best. Eating well, getting enough sleep, being active, making connections with your community, and following your cultural traditions can all make a positive difference.

Learn more about looking after your health and wellbeing.

It’s also important to know how to spot the signs if things don’t feel right, or you don’t feel like you can manage on your own. You might want to start by talking to someone in your network or a person you trust if you aren’t quite ready to seek professional help yet.

Get tips on how to talk to someone about what you’re going through.


Types of support available

It can sometimes be hard to find support that considers your cultural values, needs or language, but there is support available.

Many mental health organisations and government agencies have support workers who speak many languages. They offer translated information on a range of topics related to your health and wellbeing. There are also community organisations that offer specialised services for multicultural people.

Interpreter services are also available to help you talk with a professional or a support service.

If you need mental health support in your language, call TIS National on 131 450 or visit the TIS National website to get an interpreter. TIS National covers more than 100 languages and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the cost of a local call.

Head to Health can also support you. You can take this short quiz where you can pick some goals to support your wellbeing and answer a few questions. You can then find culturally safe and relevant services and resources that may be right for you.