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Psychiatr Serv. 2011 Jun;62(6):626-31. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.62.6.626.

Components of cultural competence in three mental health programs.

Author information

  • 1Statistical Sciences and Epidemiology Division, Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, 140 Old Orangeburg Rd., Orangeburg, NY 10962, USA. siegel@nki.rfmh.org

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study was to identify components of cultural competence in mental health programs developed for cultural groups by community and mental health professionals from these groups.

METHODS:

Three programs were studied: a prevention program primarily serving African-American and Afro-Caribbean youth, a Latino adult acute inpatient unit, and a Chinese day treatment program in a community-based agency. Nine study-trained field researchers used a semistructured instrument that captures program genealogy, structure, processes, and cultural infusion. Program cultural elements were identified from field notes and from individual and group interviews of consumers and staff (N=104). A research-group consensus process with feedback from program staff was used to group elements by shared characteristics into the program components of cultural competence.

RESULTS:

Components included communication competencies (with use of colloquialisms and accepted forms of address); staff in culturally acceptable roles; culturally framed trust building (such as pairing youths with mentors), stigma reduction, friendly milieus (such as serving culturally familiar foods and playing music popular with the culture), and services; and peer, family, and community involvement (including use of peer counselors and mentors, hosting parent weekends, and linking clients with senior center and community services).

CONCLUSIONS:

Incorporating these components into any program in which underserved cultural populations are seen is recommended for improving cultural competence.

PMID:
21632731
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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