Consider that culture is more than ethnicity. In which case leaders need to ensure that their workforce understand that identity is a cultural framework into which we are born, learn, adapt and change.
The extent to which people remain aligned to core cultural values and beliefs may change throughout life. Some people live in complete harmony with core cultural values and beliefs; others live in various stages of acceptance, rejection and cultural redefinition. Around core cultural values and beliefs there are various aligned identities with their own cultural histories fashioned by exclusion, disadvantage, poverty, sexual preference, gender, age, disability, other ethnicities, and new and emerging social ideas.
Culture is always changing, reframing and remaking itself. The stories and views of other cultural identities are often absorbed into dominant value systems. A significant motivator for change is cultural exposure and cultural comparison. The more open and diverse a culture is, the more rapid is the process of cross-cultural absorption.
Adherence to cultural values and beliefs is mostly an unconscious relationship in everyday practise concurrent with the process of cultural absorption and change. Mental health workers are part of this process and need to engage with people across this spectrum.
EQUALITY, EQUITY AND DIVERSITY
“We feel instinctively that societies with huge income gaps are somehow going wrong. Richard Wilkinson charts the hard data on economic inequality, and shows what gets worse when rich and poor are too far apart: real effects on health, lifespan, even such basic values as trust.”
Richard Wilkinson via Ted
Migrants are part of Australia’s diverse community and may be members of many cultural groups marked by identity differences and/or inequality, as outlined in the table below. While being of migrant background may not be a disadvantage in itself it can lead to a number of psycho-social disadvantages that include language barriers and discrimination as well as any of the other factors listed below. This broader focus ensures that other significant social determinants of health are not overshadowed by an exclusively ethno-centric focus.