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Launch: Resource for health professionals when discussing suicide with CALD communities

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


The Hunter Institute of Mental Health has today launched a Conversations Matter resource that provides information for health professionals to guide safe and appropriate discussions about suicide with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.


The “Supporting CALD communities to talk about suicide” resource was funded by the Mental Health Commission of NSW and developed in partnership with the Transcultural Mental Health Centre NSW.

When done safely and effectively, conversations about suicide with individuals and in community settings can be an important way of increasing support and contributing to the wellbeing of those impacted. 

Hunter Institute of Mental Health Director Jaelea Skehan said there are a number of factors which must be considered before initiating conversations with CALD communities around suicide and suicide prevention that the new resource can help health professionals to navigate.

“It is challenging enough to talk about suicide, but it can be even more challenging when needing to consider the diversity of cultures, beliefs and languages we have in the NSW community,” said Jaelea.

Ms Skehan added that some of the important factors to consider when discussing suicide with CALD communities include understanding the risks and vulnerabilities to suicide that may arise from migration, resettlement and acculturation, fear and stigma associated with mental health problems in certain cultures, varying cultural traditions when discussing sensitive subjects and concerns around confidentiality.

“This new resource has been designed for people working in professional or leadership roles with CALD communities and provides practical tips when talking about suicide, so it can be done in a culturally appropriate and safe way,” she said.

The resource was developed through consultation with CALD community members and professionals, with support from the Transcultural Mental Health Centre NSW.

Transcultural Mental Health Centre Manager Maria Cassaniti said the resource is important for ensuring that people working in health or non-health community liaison roles have the necessary knowledge and skills to support discussions about suicide with CALD communities.

“This is an essential tool in building the capacity of health professionals and strengthening communities to talk about this sensitive topic, in a culturally appropriate and safe manner.

“The tool provides the motivation for professionals to talk about suicide and suicide prevention in a way that makes sense within culturally and linguistically diverse settings, but that also makes sense within the Australian context,” Maria said.

In the Living Well report, the Mental Health Commission of NSW identified the need for a stronger multicultural mental health workforce and the development of mental health and suicide prevention policies, tools and health promotion resources for CALD communities.

This Conversations Matter CALD resource is available under the 'Professionals' tab on the website: