Thanks to boost funding provided by the Victorian State Government, we have been able to expand our Multilingual Health Education program. Here is some of the program's impact to date.
Building links with women from Pakistan
The team have been able to build close relationships with women belonging to a culturally conservative tribal group from Pakistan, who have faced numerous barriers in accessing health information.
The team have had the privilege of being invited into their place of worship and have been able to run sessions educating the women about free health checks like breast and cervical screening.
As a result, there has been a marked uptake by the women in accessing these services.
The safe space created has also allowed the team to discuss mental health and family violence with the women, and they will continue to expand on this in the coming months.
“This information about mental health has made me realize that I was suffering from mental health issues of stress and depression earlier but was not aware of it and suffering in silence”Program participant
The program’s reach
Since July 2022, the team have delivered over 20 health education sessions to over 326 people from a range of cultural backgrounds including:
The program supports the mental health and wellbeing needs of migrant and refugee women in Melbourne’s west. It does this by:
- Delivering health information in multiple languages and in a culturally safe way
- Responding to emerging health needs of different groups
- Delivering community engagement activities to build trust and create lasting connections across the west
- Advocating for the health needs of women from refugee and migrant backgrounds to be met
The team create connections through long term engagement with community groups, building trust through shared language, culture and lived experience.
These connections have enabled them to refer women experiencing family violence for support, when they had previously been too afraid to seek it due to language or cultural barriers.
“We will seek help when we feel that something is not right with us instead of hesitating and avoiding”Program participant
The team are able to improve the mental health and wellbeing of women with migrant and refugee backgrounds by:
- Supporting them to navigate health and social services
- Informing them of their rights and how they can be more confident to assert them
- Supporting them to feel safe to speak about taboo or sensitive topics like family violence, sexual and reproductive health and family violence.
“I learnt about informed consent, and we don’t have to hesitate to ask questions to our health providers”Program participant