Cultural barriers in accessing mental health services and the role of cultural brokers

Presenter: Hanadi Al Masri, BSc, Director of Social Innovation, HMC Connections
Date: Tues., April 24, 2018, 12:00-1:00PM (EST)



It is important to learn about the “language” needed to speak about mental health with diverse ethnocultural groups; terminology that cannot be translated by language interpreters. Communication is more than just language, and must begin with a common understanding of cultural context.

The presentation will discuss how cultural brokers can help to communicate the importance and significance of religious practices, family or cultural traditions, and common beliefs and practices in efforts to remove barriers and increase newcomers’ access to mental health services.

Presenter biography

Hanadi Al Masri BSc, ,is the Director of Social Innovation at HMC Connections, where she has worked for the last 16 years, since arriving to Canada as a skilled immigrant. She has presented at many conferences such as Safe Guarding Halton Forum, a Shared Responsibility of Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse; Halton Showcase; Trauma of Exile and Challenges to Settlement with the Canadian Centre of Victims of Torture in Toronto; Equity and Social Justice. She has provided consultation on immigration reform, settlement services and the “Cultural Barriers Analysis to Improve Access and Reduce Barriers within Integration of Newcomers to Canada” and works with the Ministry of Transportation and Halton Regional Police on road safety education and awareness with ethnnocultural groups. Hanadi has provided training sessions on diversity, cultural sensitivity, best practices for settlement workers, and developed the User Defined Service Model of case management.

Hanadi has established a strong understanding of: how cultural practices for ethnically diverse families could be addressed within mental health services delivery models; the need for cultural brokers to decrease stigma towards accessing the mental health services and to build awareness off mental health in ethnocultural communities.