Culture plays a significant role in how people experience mental health issues. Culture also shapes mental health practice and how services are structured and organised.
Cultural safety involves acknowledging how power operates in mental health service systems and in consumer-practitioner relationships. It also includes taking steps to avoid imposing one’s own cultural values on others. Threats to a consumer’s cultural safety when receiving mental health care include: not being able to communicate with practitioners, not being listened to, not being respected and not being able to involve trusted family or friends.
Practising cultural humility is vital for fostering culturally safety. This requires practitioners to accept that they can never fully understand another person’s experience. It also entails showing that they want to learn.
To find out more about cultural responsiveness, including culture, cultural safety and cultural humility, explore Orientation to Cultural Responsiveness, another VTMH online learning resource. You can find all VTMH online learning resources here.