The Transcultural Mental Health Centre's Capacity Building Mental Health Program for New and Emerging Refugee Populations works collaboratively with service providers to strengthen and support the wellbeing of new and emerging refugee populations. The program has two components that work in tandem: building community capacity and building capacity within mental health services.
Clinical Capacity Building with Refugee Populations
When people with refugee experiences present to mental health services, we need to be mindful of the challenges they may have encountered, and may still be experiencing, before and after resettlement. Along with their experiences, people with refugee experiences also bring a diverse cultural heritage that shapes the clinical encounter, from beliefs about health and treatment, to help seeking styles and participation in treatment. This is especially true regarding mental health and treatment for mental illness.
The clinical component of this program aims to support and strengthen the skills of public mental health and other health services in providing responsive mental health services to newly arrived refugees.
Some of the activities of the clinical component of the program include:
- Partnering with key agencies and stakeholders to enhance responsiveness to the mental health needs of refugee populations through committees and stakeholder meetings
- Training and education for public mental health staff (clinicians and administrative staff), and other public health services, including emergency departments. For more information about this training click here.
- Development of resources and pathways to care for service providers to support mental health assessment and intervention with refugee populations.
For further information about the clinical component of this program please email Emalynne So, Mental Health Consultant (Clinical Psychologist) at [email protected]
Community Capacity Building with Refugee Populations
The aim of the community capacity building component of the program is to improve mental health and wellbeing among newly arrived refugee communities, with a focus on prevention and staying well. Early intervention initiatives concentrate on mental health literacy, stigma reduction and pathways to care.
Activities are undertaken in partnership with community agencies and include:
- Mental health and wellbeing information sessions with community groups, as well as service providers who work closely with communities.
- Distribution of mental health and wellbeing resources, including language-specific resources.
- Initiatives are tailored to community and service provider needs.
For more information about the community component of the program, please email us at [email protected]
Emotional Wellbeing Clinic for People from the Afghan and Sri Lankan Tamil Refugee and Asylum-Seeker Communities
TMHC have established a free brief emotional wellbeing clinic for people with refugee experience and asylum seekers from the Afghan and Sri Lankan Tamil communities who live in the Western Sydney Local Health District.
For more information visit the Clinic webpage here.
Recent humanitarian program arrivals
For 2020-21, the Federal Government made available 13,750 places for Australia’s annual humanitarian program. Between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021, 1,932 humanitarian visa holders permanently settled in Australia with 543 settling in New South Wales. The majority of these new arrivals have settled in South Western and Western Sydney, in and around Fairfield and Liverpool areas.
In March 2022, the Federal Government announced 26,500 places under the humanitarian program for Afghan nationals and an additional 5,000 places under the family stream of the migration program.
In March 2022, the Federal Government announced temporary humanitarian visas for Ukrainian nationals in Australia who have been forced to flee Russia’s military invasion.
In the three months to April 2022, new arrivals have continued to largely settle in South Western and Western Sydney, in and around Fairfield, Cumberland and Liverpool areas.
For further information visit the Refugee Council of Australia website.