National practice standards for the mental health workforce 2013

Standard 3: Meeting diverse needs

Page last updated: November 2013

The social, cultural, linguistic, spiritual and gender diversity of people, families and carers are actively and respectfully responded to by mental health practitioners, incorporating those differences into their practice.

The mental health practitioner:

  1. Acknowledges and articulates diversity among people, carers, families and communities in areas including age, gender, class, culture, religion, spirituality, disability, power, status, gender identity, sexuality, sexual identity and socioeconomic background
  2. Facilitates care, treatment and support in a manner that demonstrates respect for the diversity of people, families and carers, and the cultural and social context in which they live
  3. Recognises that a positive, secure cultural identity is a protective factor for the mental health and wellbeing of the person, family and carers
  4. Respectfully uses culturally appropriate assessment instruments and techniques, where available and appropriate, and demonstrates awareness of the way in which cultural issues may impact upon appropriateness of assessment, care and treatment
  5. Determines if there are cultural considerations that, if taken into account, could assist the person and family/carers to feel more comfortable during service contact
  6. Implements culturally specific practices as described in relevant national, state and local guidelines, policies and frameworks
  7. Facilitates service delivery in a manner that accords respect for people’s individual qualities, abilities and diverse backgrounds, and takes into account their age, gender identity, sexuality, sexual identity, ethnic group, gender and social, cultural and religious backgrounds
  8. Supports the delivery of equitable care and promotes equality of opportunity
  9. Articulates the extent and limits of their own cultural understanding and seeks cultural advice or support if needed
  10. Communicates effectively with the person and, where relevant, with family members and/or carers through the assistance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and/or mental health professionals, interpreter services and bilingual counsellors
  11. Liaises and works collaboratively with culturally and linguistically appropriate care partners such as religious ministers, spiritual leaders, traditional healers, local community-based organisations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and mental health workers, health consumer advocates, interpreters, bilingual counsellors and other resources where appropriate