Joint initiative for cultural competence in mental health care

A joint initiative between RCPsych in Wales and Diverse Cymru, aimed to improve cultural competence in social care and mental health services, has been officially launched by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services.

The BME Mental Health Workplace Good Practice Certification Scheme developed by equalities charity Diverse Cymru and endorsed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales is designed for professionals that work with BME communities in Wales, in efforts to improve the accessibility and quality of social care and mental health services.

The initiative provides tools and resources to help practitioners provide a culturally appropriate service that importantly will help them assess and measure year on year the competency of the services provided.

The initiative has been financially supported by the  Government as part of their Section 64 Third Sector Mental Health Grants 2018-2021 for projects to support people with mental ill health across Wales and the Welsh Government has given further commitments to the initiative in the Together for Mental Health Delivery Plan.

Suzanne Duval, BME Mental Health Manager at Diverse Cymru said:

“Research has shown that BME people are less likely to seek support for mental ill health at an early stage due to cultural barriers and so they access services much later, when their illness is more severe.
I have seen many times over the years how simple changes could make a world of difference to those trying to access social care and mental health services, and I’m thrilled by the endorsement from the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the funding and support from the Welsh Government for this initiative which is the first of its kind in the UK.

Research has shown that cultural appropriateness may be the most important factor in the accessibility of services by BME communities. Developing culturally sensitive practices can help reduce barriers to effective treatment.”

Professor Keith Lloyd, Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales said:

“Diverse Cymru provides valuable support for our NHS mental health services by providing a voice and support for people from BME communities in Wales.

It’s intended that this resource will help support healthcare professionals with further relevant techniques and interventions to deliver an effective culturally competent, patient centred service.”

Vaughan Gething AM, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services said:

“Ethnic minority communities can sometimes encounter issues accessing appropriate healthcare they are not always aware of the services they are entitled to and how to access them.
This Certification Scheme will assist mental health organisations and practitioners to ensure they develop culturally appropriate services to improve access to mental health services among ethnic minority communities.”