Addressing Cultural Diversity Through Collaborative Care

Nadeau, L.; Rousseau, C.; Measham, T. (2013)

Cultural Consultation: Encountering the Other in Mental Health Care. L. Kirmayer, C. Rousseau & J. Guzder (Eds.)

Springer | 203-221

This chapter describes principles of collaborative care in mental health and how this model, based on strong partnership between primary care and mental health professionals, can be adapted to provide culturally sensitive services. The patient-centred model of collaborative care aims at decreasing barriers to accessing mental health care, which are particularly tangible for ethnocultural minorities and marginalized groups. It recognizes the major role played by primary care professionals in delivering mental health services and the benefit of comprehensive networks of professionals and community partners. The chapter discusses necessary conditions for implementing such initiatives, describes the benefits of multidisciplinarity, which goes beyond a medically centred model, and addresses issues of power. It then considers the adaptation of collaborative care to address the cultural specificities of communities. It reviews the recommendations of the Canadian Collaborative Mental Health Initiative (CCMHI) Toolkit for Ethnoculturally Diverse Populations and of the Canadian Collaboration for Immigrant and Refugee Health (CCIRH), and then focuses on two key areas identified by these recommendations: partnership with communities and awareness of historical and cultural specificities. The chapter then describes a youth mental health care project in a multiethnic neighbourhood to illustrate how collaborative care can be adapted to local constraints, while fostering attention to cultural diversity in mental health. Finally, the chapter addresses training methods appropriate to support collaborative care and proposes a continuing education program based on the synergy of seminars, supervisions, and didactic teaching.