Alcohol and other drug use and mental health in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities

In Western Australia, people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) backgrounds can be under-represented in mental health and alcohol and other drug services, due to barriers of language, lack of awareness of services, and factors such as fear of stigmatisation. People from CaLD backgrounds may have also experienced a range of stressors including trauma and discrimination[1].

People from CaLD communities have been highlighted as one of seven priority populations under the Commonwealth’s National Drug Strategy 2017‑2026, as some populations “have higher rates of, or are at higher risk of, alcohol, tobacco and other drug problems”[2].

Recommendation 43 of the Methamphetamine Action Plan Taskforce Report
(Taskforce Report), recommended that the Mental Health Commission (MHC) in consultation with the Office of Multicultural Interests and CaLD communities should undertake and report on further research and consultation to identify the use of illicit drugs, including methamphetamine, among CaLD communities in Western Australia.

The MHC has undertaken targeted expert and stakeholder consultation, research and analysis to identify the appropriate approaches needed among this priority group.  

Multicultural Futures were contracted to produce a series of reports including:

The MHC then engaged Nous Group to undertake further stakeholder engagement, and review the reports developed by Multicultural Futures and provide independent recommendations regarding how the mental health and AOD service systems could be enhanced to better meet the needs of CaLD communities.

The final report can be found here.

The recommendations that have been set out for Government will be considered in the context of the Multicultural Policy Framework and through the development of the Mental Health Commission’s Multicultural Plan.

In addition, the MHC contracted the Nous Group to conduct a series of focus groups with mental health and AOD service providers and people with lived experience to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people from CaLD communities. The final report can be found here.


[1] Western Australian Mental Health Commission. The Western Australian Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan 2015-2025.

[2] Australian Government. Department of Health. National Drug Strategy 2017-2026. Canberra: The Department; 2017. p 29. [accessed 2018 Nov 7] Available from 35/$File/National-Drug-Strategy-2017-2026.pdf

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