An Australian-first initiative, the NSW Government has launched a multicultural mental health phone line for diverse communities to access state-wide.
If you’ve been hesitating to use mental health services because of a language barrier, you might now be avail of these in your own language.
The Transcultural Mental Health Line is aimed to alleviate language barriers and cultural understandings limiting those struggling with mental health from reaching the required resources.
Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor expressed her hope for the line to support individuals from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds seeking professional help.
“This new phone line will support people to get the help they need, with a specialist team of health care professionals ready to provide care and connect people with the appropriate services.” said Mrs Taylor.
Covering up to 30 languages including Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Gujarati, Bengali and Urdu, the line’s responders are registered bilingual mental health professionals.
Minister for Multiculturalism Mike Coure spoke about how the mental health line aligns with the state government’s support for a ‘rich multicultural society’.
“We understand that finding the right words to express how we are feeling can be hard, let alone for people that might struggle with English.” Mr Coure said.
The mental health phone line joins a list of services implemented by the state government as part of the 2022-23 NSW Mental Health Budget.
With the $2.68 billion NSW Mental Health Budget making history as the largest state investment into mental health, the introduction of new initiatives continues to generate community awareness on issues surrounding mental health and wellbeing.
Bringing the spotlight onto the South Asian community, research studies continue to emphasise how perceptions of health are formed based on the accessibility of health services.
A 2022 study published by the CSIRO found that South Asian Australians prefer to use close-to-home services when choosing their family healthcare providers as well as doctors from similar backgrounds.
The study further concluded that most South Asian Australians believe one’s quality of mental health is determined by physical health, and individuals prefer to better regulate their physical well-being in the hopes of maintaining mental health. The research data also found an overwhelming preference for seeking counselling from friends and family rather than consulting health professionals.
The launch of the phone line could be a step forward in creating awareness surrounding the stigma linked with reaching out for mental health support in South Asian communities.
“This new service makes mental health support more accessible and will give people the peace of mind to speak freely in a language they are more comfortable with,” emphasised Mr Coure.
Those seeking mental health support are urged to contact the following services for further support:
The Transcultural Mental Health Line is available Monday to Friday between 9:00 am to 4:30 pm on 1800 648 911.
If you, or someone you know, is in a life-threatening situation please seek help immediately by calling 000.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide or experiencing a personal crisis or distress, please call Lifeline 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
The NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 is a 24/7 service that can advise you on appropriate local mental health services for you or a loved one
Funded by the NSW Government, STARTTS is a 24/7 counselling service for those who have experienced trauma related to war and violence overseas