Why the need for cultural competency training for the mental health and addiction workforce working with Asian and refugee communities

Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) Asian and refugee communities

The number of people who identify as Asian is growing across Aotearoa New Zealand, with significant numbers of Asian people in many communities. In the last two decades, refugees have arrived from Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, African and European countries. 

Migrants and refugee communities from Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, African (MELAA) and European countries bring different experiences and healthcare expectations based on their countries' healthcare systems. They have different cultural values, beliefs, practices, communication styles, expressions of distress, explanations of illness and illness outcome, and English-speaking abilities. Additionally, they face barriers to access and inequities in health care provision in New Zealand compared to other groups in our society. 

Cultural competence is pivotal for addressing inequities and culturally safe care, as culture and language may influence:

  • how illness and its causes are perceived by both the client and the practitioner
  • the behaviours of CALD clients who are seeking healthcare and their attitudes towards the practitioner
  • client/family engagement and acceptance of the health services offered.

Cultural competency training programmes for the mental health and addiction workforce

The mental health and addiction workforce requires a wide range of skills and knowledge to work with all people accessing their services. 

Training programmes that contribute to the workforce's skills and cultural development are a priority to ensure they can recognise and respond to the diverse needs of Asian and refugee people in a person-centred, safe, inclusive, equitable and culturally responsive manner

View 'Cultural Competency Training for the Mental Health and Addiction Workforce'.

Click below to view more information about Asian and Refugee communities in New Zealand.