Mental Health in Multicultural Australia 

The Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (MHiMA) program, funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health & Ageing, promotes mental health, primary care and community awareness of mental health issues in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. It engages with, establishes and maintains productive relationships with relevant stakeholders such as the CALD community, consumers and carers, state and territory mental health specialists and mainstream services, relevant government agencies, non-government organisations and the tertiary sector. Through these engagements the project aims to improve access, responsiveness and quality of mental health services and suicide prevention programs for people from CALD backgrounds, and also facilitate access to information about mental health and relevant services.


The project primarily focuses on building networks, collaborative partnerships, developing effective strategies, encouraging evaluation, research and innovation, assisting to build CALD community capacity and providing strategic policy input to state and commonwealth governments.


The MHiMA project is led by a consortium consisting of:

  • Global and Cultural Mental Health (GCMH)
  • Queensland Transcultural Mental Health Centre (QTMHC);
  • Victorian Transcultural Psychiatry Unit (VTPU)
  • Mental Health Substance Abuse Research Group, Human Rights and Security Cluster (University of South Australia).

The eight work domains, to be shared across the consortium are:

  1. Promotion, Prevention, Early Intervention, Stigma Reduction and Suicide Prevention
  2. Policy Development and Implementation
  3. Consumer and Carer Participation
  4. Community Engagement and Partnerships
  5. Communication
  6. Service Access Coordination and Continuity of care
  7. Workforce and Leadership Development
  8. Research, Evaluation, Knowledge Exchange and Innovation

GCMH is responsible for two domains: Workforce and Leadership Development and Research, Evaluation, Knowledge Exchange and Innovation.

In August 2012, MHiMA was tasked by the National Mental Health Commission to provide a discussion paper aims to examine what is known about the mental health of CALD communities in Australia, whether Australian mental health research pays adequate attention to the fact of cultural and linguistic diversity in the Australian population and whether national mental health data collections support evidence-informed mental health policy and practice and mental health reform in multicultural Australia. This paper was prepared by GCMH staff and other members from the MHiMA consortium.  The paper includes recommendations that are intended to contribute to the development of a culture of inclusion of all Australians in the national mental health research enterprise.  It also aims to contribute to the development of the Commission’s National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

In October 2012, GCMH participated in the consultation held by The Mental Health Workforce Advisory Committee and Health Workforce Australia. The consultation aims to seek input into the review of the National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce (the Practice Standards) and development of core competencies. GCMH and other members from MHiMA provide written feedback on the standards, particularly in the aspects of multicultural issues on mental health workforce. 

Click here for more information about this project and related activities.