The Case for Diversity

AUTHORS    Dr. Kwame McKenzie, Dr. Branka Agic, Andrew Tuck and Michael Antwi

LOCATION   National


This report builds the case – economically and socially – for investing in culturally and linguistically appropriate and diverse mental health care for Canada’s Immigrant, Refugee, Ethno-cultural and Racialized (IRER) populations. This report offers: an examination of Canadian published research on IRER peoples mental health in Canada, promising practices to better serve IRER populations and an economic evaluation of IRER mental health service use.

How does this research apply to my work?

This report offers direct-care staff, service planners and policy makers the knowledge and tools needed to build culturally safe, competent and diverse mental health services for IRER populations in Canada. This includes best practices, based on Canadian and international literature, that can be replicated across Canada.

What should I take away from this research?

  • One size does not fit all: the same group may have different rates of mental illness in different circumstances; inter-group and intra-group differences are prevalent within IRER groups in Canada; and rates of mental illness in specific populations vary according to the amount of time living in in Canada
  • IRER populations are more likely than the general population to be exposed to social determinants of mental health
  • IRER populations access mental health services less frequently
  • Targeted, culturally-adapted programs and psychotherapies can help reduce overall costs.

What’s the next step?

By working to reduce disparities in access to services, the appropriateness of services used and mental health outcomes, Canada can reduce overall system costs. Addressing the social determinants of health for these populations will be paramount to an effective strategy. In addition, there is a need for improved collection and evaluation of data on ethno-racial background.

Read the full article here

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