Women from culturally and linguistically diverse communities face barriers to accessing perinatal mental health care. Victorian Transcultural Mental Health (VTMH) is a state-wide service in Victoria, Australia, that supports specialist mental health service providers to improve cultural responsiveness. VTMH provided training for perinatal health professionals in cultural responsiveness. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
A curriculum was specifically developed based on a literature review, consultation forum, and input from members of an industry-based reference group. An Evaluation Tool was designed to collect participants’ feedback regarding the perceived relevance of the training content and its impact on practice. Responses were analysed using quantitative techniques and thematic analysis.
Nine face-to-face training sessions were provided, in metropolitan and rural regions. In all, 174 professionals of various backgrounds (including midwives, mental health professionals, and maternal child health nurses) attended. In all, 161 completed evaluations were received and responses indicated that the training was of high relevance to the target workforce, that the training would have implications for their practice, and support was given for further training to be delivered using online methods.
First, an assessment of the cultural competence of participants prior to enrolment in the course was not conducted, and no matched control group was available for comparison with the participants. Second, generalisability of these findings to other settings requires further investigation. Third, the sustainability of the project is an area for further study in the future. Fourth, other methods including direct interviews of focus groups with participants may have yielded more detailed qualitative feedback regarding the effectiveness of the programme.
To facilitate the sustainability of the project, following the face-to-face training, an online training module and a resource portal were developed, offering links to relevant web sites and resources for health professionals working in this field.
The training addressed a significant unmet need for cultural responsiveness training for a diverse range of practitioners in the field of perinatal mental health. Online training can be adapted from face-to-face training and it is anticipated that online training will facilitate the sustainability of this initiative.
The authors would like to thank: Judith Hewitson, Director, Reality Learning; Maya Rivis, Senior Policy Officer, Perinatal Mental Health, Department of Health; Belinda Horton, CEO, PANDA (Post Ante Natal Depression Association); Carol Purtell, National Perinatal Program Leader, beyondblue; Marion Lau OAM, Former Chair, Ethnic Communities Council Victoria (ECCV); and Dr Tram Nguyen, Consultant Psychiatrist, Royal Women's Hospital Melbourne.
Wriedt, K., Oehm, D., Moss, B. and Chopra, P. (2014), "Perinatal mental health cultural responsiveness training – an evaluation", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 109-122. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-05-2013-0020
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