Language, culture and mental health: a study exploring the role of the transcultural mental health worker in Sheffield, UK

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Arafat, N.M. (2016)
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis

This paper aims to explore the role of the transcultural mental health worker as an alternative to the use of interpreters in an attempt to identify the communication barriers and improve the mental health care for Black and minority ethnic patients in the Sheffield area of the UK. A qualitative approach was conducted using a questionnaire, focus groups and semi-structured interviews, with 92 health and social care participants taking part. All participants apart from seven found working with transcultural mental health workers either more effective than or as effective as working with interpreters due to their holistic approach in understanding the various mental health aspects and cultural boundaries. The study highlights the importance of addressing the cultural issues since different cultural meanings can sometimes cause more difficulties in understanding between health and social care professionals and Black and minority ethnic patients than does language. It also highlights the complexities involved in interpreting in mental health settings and the need to tailor practical training sessions and educational programmes for interpreters in this field.
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