The Centre for Migrant and Refugee Health (CMRH) is a not-for-profit organisation established in 2019. We work with migrant, refugee, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in Victoria and Australia. The CMRH has a public health focus with aims to improve mental health and well-being. We achieve our work by addressing social determinants of health, including socially isolated, disadvantaged, vulnerable, low socioeconomic status, inequality and inequity in access to healthcare services.
We utilise research, policy advocacy and culturally appropriate interventions to tackle these social determinants that impact and compound poor mental health outcomes.
The establishment of CMRH came into existence due to experiences characterised by the different voices of suffering related to mental illness and stigma within multicultural communities, the African-Australian, South Sudanese and broader CALD communities. In addition, an alarming rise in the rates of suicide amongst young people from new and emerging communities of migrant, refugee, and asylum seeker backgrounds has been seen across our state and country.
In many of our diverse CALD communities, mental health and their associated illnesses are unspoken due to stigma. The issues, in turn, creates feelings of stain, shame, and even disgrace to individuals. Thus, poor mental health and its associated stigma operate in our communities and act as a barrier, affecting people seeking or engaging in culturally appropriate treatment services.
The implications of poor mental health outcomes and stigma continued to create numerous multicultural communities, exacerbated by the challenges of accessing culturally appropriate mental healthcare services.