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Enhancing cultural competence in mental health settings: from undergraduate training to continuing education

Shoba Nayar (Department of Occupational Science and Therapy, Auckland University of Technology University, New Zealand)
Samson Tse (Department of Social Work and Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong)
Amritha Sobrun‐Maharaj (School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, New Zealand)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 24 September 2009



New Zealand is a country of many cultures and ethnicities. With a growing Asian community, cultural capability of the mental health workforce is essential to ensure that Asians have equity in access to appropriate and high quality services. Literature indicates a growing need to develop resources and enhance knowledge on cultural competence to assist health service providers to address the needs of people from diverse backgrounds. Yet, at what stage of training and/or practice are health professionals gaining access to this knowledge?Consultation with local health services and tertiary education institutions revealed a gap in the knowledge of Asian mental health being taught in the curriculum of students undertaking training to become health professionals. Further research indicated a need and desire from tertiary institutions to have access to Asian mental health material for both enhancing students' learning, and promoting the concept of continuing education following graduation. As a result, an interactive, self‐administrative CD‐rom comprising three modules: self‐reflection; Asian philosophies; and clinical issues was compiled.Early feedback indicates that the CD‐rom has tremendous potential in terms of applicability to enhancing current curriculum and for teaching students skills such as accessing articles and web based resources, valuable for the purposes of continuing education. Continuing education with regards to cultural competence is not just for qualified health professionals but needs to be integrated as part of students training as health practitioners, in order to ensure health care providers are able to provide effective and culturally responsive services.



Nayar, S., Tse, S. and Sobrun‐Maharaj, A. (2009), "Enhancing cultural competence in mental health settings: from undergraduate training to continuing education", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 30-36.



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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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