Cultural Diversity: Recovery as a universal “language”


We have the flag you’re looking for right here in Bankstown

We read in the news that quite often people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds experience problems in accessing mental health services. TOM TRAAE, the Clinical and Operations Manager of Bankstown headspace, spoke with us about how recovery is a universal “language,”and describes what it’s like to operate a service in an area with one of the highest populations of people who are CALD in Australia. We also look briefly at the idea of “dual vulnerabilities” among people who are CALD. We will also look at Flourish Australia’s commitment to promoting recovery within a culturally diverse society.

Tom: “Since we opened our doors in Bankstown in March 2015, we have serviced a population of young people which includes 47% identifying as CALD. This is an incredibly high figure.

“In dealing with culturally and linguistically diverse young people, there is one thing we emphasise overall: treating everyone with dignity and respect.

“Dignity and respect are the basis of the ‘Recovery Action Framework’ by which we and all other Flourish Australia services operate. The Recovery Action Framework can be universally translated into good mental health support regardless of language. It puts the people who access our services at the heart of everything we do.

“Drawing on our commitment to Recovery, our approach to working with young people who are from CALD communities is multifaceted. Here are just a few examples…

– Our centre has flags of all Nations on display. This also include special positioning of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags

– We have bilingual staff, covering many Nationalities and languages

– Many staff have attended cultural awareness training

– Several other organisations besides Flourish Australia are part of the consortium which operates headspace Bankstown. They include the Arab Council of Australia and Transcultural Mental Health services

– We use TIS services for translation services whenever we need to, and we don’t hesitate or shy away from having difficult conversations using difficult communication methods such as talking through the use of an interpreter

-We actively monitor trends in our CALD population, and keep track of our biggest language groups

– We serve culturally appropriate food during events and celebrations

“These are some of the ways we cater for our CALD population but the most important of all is the Recovery Action Framework. Essentially it doesn’t matter how well you cater for people who are CALD if you don’t use such a framework and show a willingness to allow people to be the drivers of their own recovery journey.”

Chinese dragons.jpg

Chinese Dragons have been known to visit Bankstown headspace on festive occasions.

Want to know more?

Flourish Australia headspace

Suite 1, Ground Floor East, 41-45 Rickard Road BANKSTOWN NSW 2200

Ph (02) 9393 9669

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