Many Australians travelled here from other countries, have parents who were born overseas or have strong ties to ethnic and cultural communities. Our diverse cultural identities shape who we are and the way we understand and experience mental illness. 

Mental health issues can affect people from all cultures, but people from diverse backgrounds may experience some additional challenges that contribute to becoming unwell, such as:

  • avoiding asking for help out of fear or shame
  • negative attitudes around mental health within a person’s family and cultural community
  • experiences of discrimination and racism
  • trauma, including experiences relating to migration 
  • being socially isolated
  • poverty

Experiences like this affect wellbeing, and can also lead to people taking longer to get help and feel better. For many people, cultural identity and connection can be a source of strength in getting better. Things that help include:

  • talking to someone you know and trust
  • seeing a doctor, health worker or counsellor who speaks your language or understands and respects your culture
  • drawing on ways that your culture explains mental health issues, if this is helpful for you
  • seeking help from a traditional healer or faith leader
  • connecting with people from your culture who have had similar experiences and can share advice about getting well
  • being involved in activities and celebrations that are important in your culture

If you need to talk, call our Helpline.

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Remember, you are not alone. Hear stories from people who have been there.

For more information, please contact Wellways on 1300 111 400.