You have been providing Li with support for six months. Your role is to help her develop the skills to live more independently and help her access the community. Li is 21 years old. She was born in China and has been living in Australia for five years. She lives with her family, which includes her mother, father and younger brother. Li has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and autism. She is generally more comfortable with a family member present.
Li grew up speaking Mandarin and, although she lacks confidence speaking English, you have never had difficulty communicating with her. You have noticed that Li pays attention to detail and that she keeps a diary so that she does not miss appointments. She clearly explains the support that she needs whenever you meet with her. Li has difficulty advocating for herself in new environments or when dealing with authority e.g. government workers and departments. This has been a challenge for her during your time supporting her. You have observed that this is more difficult for her when she is unwell and can cause her to have flashbacks of traumatic events.
You have talked with Li about whether she wishes to develop her skills around self-advocacy, particularly around dealing with government departments. She has indicated that she is a bit scared about this, but might like to gain that skill. When you visit Li on this occasion, she is upset because she has received a letter from Centrelink saying that she has to attend an appointment with an employment agency. Li tells you that she has already sent Centrelink a doctor’s certificate to say that she is unable to work. Li says to you, “Can you fix this for me? Centrelink will listen to you and they will not listen to me. I don’t speak English well enough to fix this.”
What you could say:
If Li decides she wants to advocate to Centrelink herself the following discussions could be used to help prepare:
Transcultural Mental Health Centre (TMHC) The TMHC is a NSW Health statewide service which works with health professionals and communities across NSW to support positive mental health for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. The TMHC has a range of translated resources on mental health and wellbeing. Type: Web page Estimated reading time: 30 minutes Produced by: NSW Government
Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia: Towards culturally inclusive service delivery The Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia was developed to help services and individual workers to evaluate and enhance their cultural responsiveness. The Framework consists of a tailored set of modules and self-reflection tools, which allow organisations and individual practitioners to evaluate and enhance their cultural responsiveness. This webpage includes a range of introductory guides to the Framework, and enables users to register to enter the modules and self-reflection tools.Type: Web page Produced by: Mental Health in Multicultural Australia
NDIS Language interpreting services This web page provides information on language interpreting services for participants, available in English and in 12 other languages. The page also provides information on accessing language interpreting services for providers. Type: Web page Produced by: NDIA
Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association (MDAA)This is the peak body for all people in NSW with disability and their families and carers, with a particular focus on those from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) or non-English speaking background with disability.
ADA Australia This website is designed for aged and disability advocates. However, it also has some useful tips about self-advocacy that can be applied more broadly, noting this will need to be adapted to different cultural contexts. Type: Web page Estimated reading time: 5 minutes Produced by: ADA Australia
National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) NEDA is a national Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) that advocates federally for the human rights of people with disability and their families, from CALD and non-English speaking backgrounds.Type: Web page Estimated reading time: 20 minutes Produced by: National Ethnic Disability Alliance
NSW Health: Mental health organisations and advocacy groups This web page provides information on organisations that advocate and support the needs of people with a lived experience of mental illness and their family members or carers. Type: Web page Estimated reading time: 20 minutes Produced by: NSW Government
Ethnic Community Services Co-operative This web page explains what support multicultural disability services provide and includes a downloadable brochure for individuals and families, and for service providers. Type: Web page Estimated reading time: 5 minutes Produced by: Ethnic Community Services Co-operative
What PTSD Is Really Like In this video people share their experiences of PTSD. Type: Video Reading/viewing time: 3.56 minutes Closed captions: Yes Produced by: BuzzFeedVideo