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Home Cultural Competency

A Cultural Competency Toolkit: Ten Grant Sites Share Lessons Learned

For organizations providing support to mental health consumers, “cultural competency”— the ability to reach out effectively and appropriately to individuals of different cultural backgrounds —is central to meeting the needs of a diverse community.

The Cultural Competency Initiative, which was launched in 2000, assisted consumer supporter organizations by providing funding and technical assistance as well as by disseminating information about innovative minority outreach programs.

Each chapter of the toolkit (below) provides an overview of one of ten model programs. Project goals and implementation plans are shared, project leaders share their expertise, and program materials are included in each chapter's appendices. NCSTAC hopes that this information will assist other consumer supporter organizations in their efforts to launch similar outreach programs.

Contents: (requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader)
  • Introduction

  • Chapter 1: Alaska - Chapter one discusses the Mental Health Association in Alaska’s (MHAA’s) Mentor Project. With NCSTAC funding, MHAA flew five Native Alaskans from the state’s most remote regions to Juneau to attend a three-day leadership training to develop advocacy skills. Chapter 1 - Appendix

  • Chapter 2 : Allegheny County, Pennsylvania - Prior to this grant proposal, the Mental Health Association of Allegheny County (MHAAC) participated as a founding member in a local Multicultural Outreach and Education Task Force. MHAAC believed that this massive outreach effort was highly replicable, and chapter two discusses how this organization used NCSTAC funding to prepare and disseminate a how-to manual for replicating their project. Chapter 2 - Appendix

  • Chapter 3 : Georgia - Chapter three provides an overview of the National Mental Health Association of Georgia’s Project HOPE, (Healing, Opportunity, Prevention and Education). Project HOPE aimed to increase awareness in Georgia’s African American community of the symptoms of and treatments for depression. Chapter 3 - Appendix

  • Chapter 4 : Hawaii - Chapter four describes how the Mental Health Association in Hawaii (MHAH) used its NCSTAC funding to strengthen its existing speakers bureau by recruiting and training mental health consumers of different cultural backgrounds. Over the course of this project, MHAH enlisted eight Native Hawaiians and Asian Americans as consumer advocates. Chapter 4 - Appendix

  • Chapter 5 : New Mexico - Chapter five discuses NAMI-New Mexico’s (NAMI-NM’s) Consumer Involvement Project. NAMI-NM offered a series of workshops at seven different locations across the state to help consumers to launch their own self-help and advocacy programs. Chapter 5 - Appendix

  • Chapter 6 : Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Chapter six explains how the Mental Health Association of South Eastern Pennsylvania (MHASP) built upon its existing Mental Health/Aging Advocacy Project. MHASP trained elderly consumers and their caregivers to advocate for the mental health needs of older Americans in the Philadelphia area. Chapter 6 - Appendix

  • Chapter 7 : South Carolina - Aiken County, South Carolina is rated as one of the top 100 places to retire in the United States and accordingly has a large population of older Americans. Chapter seven provides an overview of the Mental Health Association in Aiken County’s efforts to found an Elder’s Task Force to help serve this population’s needs. Chapter 7 - Appendix

  • Chapter 8 : Texas - Despite stereotypes to the contrary, mental illnesses among Asian Americans are actually common. Chapter eight describes how Houston’s Asian American Family Counseling Center designed and offered a series of brown bag lunches where local mental health professionals could learn more about working with the area’s Asian American communities. Chapter 8 - Appendix

  • Chapter 9 : Utah - Chapter nine explains how the Mental Health Association in Utah organized a two-day conference where 200 mental health professionals could learn about cultural competency. Conference workshops explored working with Utah’s various minority populations: Native Americans, Latinos, African Americans, Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans. Additionally, one workshop focused on Deaf culture. Chapter 9 - Appendix

  • Chapter 10 : Washington - Consumer Voices Are Born (CVAB), a consumer-run drop-in center, established a warm-line where individuals in the Clark County, Washington area facing mental health challenges could call in and discuss their problems with a peer. Chapter ten focuses on CVAB’s efforts to extend warm-line services to the county’s various ethnic communities. Chapter 10 - Appendix