Culturally and Linguistically Diverse

Working with the Human Being behind the Culture

People from CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) backgrounds come from different walks of life and bring with them their unique and individual characteristics, values, beliefs, customs and practices.

As a starting point for successful cross cultural interactions, a genuine curiosity about ways people understand and explain their mental health condition may serve to identify and address stigma and  begin meaningful cross cultural interaction as people’s values, beliefs, perceptions, assumptions, expectations, norms, traditions, etc are explored.

Working with the human being behind any culture requires: awareness of self, knowledge and awareness of other cultures and skills for cross cultural work.

A heightened awareness of our own explanatory models of mental illness/health, cultural beliefs, assumptions, stereotypes, and ways we discriminate as well as having factual knowledge and awareness of other cultures, skills to elicit critical cultural information and the use of professional interpreters are paramount in cross cultural work.

To find a translating and interpreting service click here

The Mental Health Referral Pathways for patients from refugee backgrounds (SE Qld) - Updated Feb 2017) tool is a useful place to start. 

Mental Health Services for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse People

Queensland Transcultural Mental Health Centre is a state wide service that provides an information, referral resource and clinical consultation service free of charge. 

Queensland Health – Multicultural Health

Culture in Mind is a community based service that supports the social emotional and mental well-being of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Brisbane. 

Harmony Place is a non-government community based multi cultural organisation that provides culturally sensitive services to strengthen the mental health and well being of people from diverse cultural and language backgrounds. 


Multi-Cultural Services in the Community


Asylum Seeker and Refugee Services 

Australian Red Cross Immigration (National Office)

  • Red Cross Immigration Detention program provides family tracing and message services to all people detained in the Australian government’s on-shore and off-shore immigration detention facilities and emotional, social and recreational services in the detention facilities
  • Red Cross currently visits all immigration detention facilities on a regular basis to assess and monitor the general conditions of detention as well as the treatment of people held in the detention network.
  • Red Cross also delivers the Community Detention support program, the Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme (ASAS), and Community Assistance Support (CAS) for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, nationally.

Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT)

  • Direct services to survivors of torture and trauma, their families and their communities.
  • Training and community education.
  • Publications that provide advice for professional interaction with refugees and survivors of torture and trauma.
  • Secondary consultation to those working with refugees.

Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS)

  • Legal assistance in immigration matters.
  • Advocates before the Department of Immigration, review tribunals and judicial review.

Romero Centre

  • Provides settlement support to former detainees and refugees, referral to follow up various services, including legal, medical, trauma counselling.
  • Advocacy centre for refugees.
  • Drop-in centre, community education and activities.

Brisbane Refugee & Asylum Seeker Support Network (BRASS)

  • Recruits community volunteers to participate in the range of refugee and asylum seeker support services organised by local agencies and groups, works with local refugee agencies to improve support for refugees and asylum seekers, and engages in advocacy and action on refugee and asylum seeker issues.

Mater Refugee Health provides services that assist people from refugee backgrounds to access the health system. 

Act for Peace works with partners in the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) on healing initiatives that link refugees to church communities to generate support for resettled refuges and destitute asylum seekers.

Other Services:

Useful links:

Tips for Mental Health Services working with people from CALD backgrounds

Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia: towards culturally inclusive service delivery

Mental Health in Multicultural Australia Project by Qld Mental Health Commission