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Life-changing face-to-face sessions at the Fremantle Multicultural Centre

Caption: Fremantle Multicultural Centre.

Leisa Musham commenced as the Information Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) Project Officer with the Fremantle Multicultural Centre (FMC) in late August this year.

Since then, she has held several face-to-face information sessions under two ILC Grants awarded to the organisation to deliver information on what to expect, and how to prepare for the planning process, and information about self-management under the NDIS in WA.

The target group for these sessions are for people with disability, their families and carers from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) backgrounds.

Leisa said one of the highlights for the September 2017 quarter for her was supporting a family with a child with autism, during a session jointly organised with Carers WA.

The child and their family had only previously received medical services but not any other services. The parent had also been significantly isolated from the community and under a lot of stress.

As a result of this meeting, a referral was made for the family to apply for NDIS in WA funding through the Department of Communities (Disability Services).

Subsequently, more referrals have been made for the family to receive support from the FMC Mental Health Access Service and Carers WA.

FMC was also able to provide translation services for the family through a bi-lingual staff member. The family has been very grateful for the support offered and for the opportunity to have access to face-to-face information on what they can access through the NDIS in WA.

FMC Mental Health Access Services will provide, where required, support to the family to prepare for the NDIS application process. Carers WA will provide ongoing support to the parent who is the child’s sole carer.

Leisa said people from CaLD backgrounds may experience isolation from the community when trying to cope with life challenges. This isolation may be due to language barriers, cultural differences and perceptions about seeking help with what is considered a family matter.

She said the face-to-face sessions held so far have shown that people from CaLD backgrounds appear to be under a lot of stress. They often only seek help when they are at the high stress point. Moreover, they are often not connected to services and do not know where to access services.

On the whole, providing one-to-one information to people from CaLD backgrounds appears to suit them, as they often feel disconnected from the community due to feelings of shame and guilt about their situation.

Leisa said these people are often unwilling to openly discuss their personal issues in a public setting such as workshops or general information sessions. They may also be cautious in seeking help possibly because of previous negative experiences linked to language or other cultural barriers.

Leisa has also observed that financial stress limits access to treatment options and care due to a reliance on the public health system.

FMC welcomes the opportunity to work collaboratively with the disability services sector to raise the profile of people with disability, their families and carers from CaLD backgrounds.