Culturally and linguistically diverse communities

People from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds are identified as a priority population for suicide prevention in Australia. 

Australia’s CALD population has unique identities and understanding of mental health and suicide. Multicultural differences, past trauma and experiences of discrimination are acknowledged and pertinent to effective suicide prevention strategy. 

What we know about suicide in CALD communities

CALD communities have diverse views of suicide and suicidal thinking, and vary in the way that their community, family and friends respond to suicide. Quite often, a strong stigma surrounds the individual experiencing suicidal behaviours that may also affect their family, carer, friends and community. Spiritual and religious beliefs may contribute to this stigma, as well as social understanding and attitude toward mental health and suicide within a particular cultural community.

The role of family is crucial to the prevention of suicide within CALD communities. Family and social networks for many CALD people are key to both prevention and recovery of mental health conditions.

Protective factors

Protective factors against suicide for CALD individuals and communities include:

  • religious beliefs
  • negative views of suicide
  • family and community cohesiveness
  • for immigrants, the opportunity for new beginning
  • increased resilience from past experiences
  • being married (for men)
  • being a parent.

Risk factors

Risk factors for CALD individuals and communities include:

  • experience of trauma in the country of origin
  • experience of trauma or negative incidents during the immigration process
  • stress associated with integrating into a new culture
  • isolation from family members and support networks who remain living within the country of origin
  • change in socioeconomic status and income instability through loss of, or change in, occupation
  • lack of access to health and support services due to language or cultural barriers
  • discrimination and lack of social acceptance of CALD people within other Australian populations.

Information and resources for CALD communities can be found at Mental Health in Multicultural Australia