New service providing mental health support to people of CALD backgrounds

Relationships Australia South Australia, May 2020

ASKPEACE is available to provide mental health support to people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds living in South Australia who have been impacted by COVID-19.

The ASK Peace Project will provide a virtual service based on counselling and case management, referrals, support and advocacy services to respond to the mental health and wellbeing of CALD individuals, families and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is not necessary to speak English to access this service.

You can refer your client to this service; they also accept self-referrals.

There is no cost for the service.

IDAHOBIT 2020: South Australian community event (free)

South Australian Rainbow Advocacy Alliance and South Australian Department of Human Services, April 2020

17 May is IDAHOBIT – the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia. IDAHOBIT’s theme for 2020 is “Breaking the Silence”, and that’s precisely what we’re going to do!

Although we might not be able to meet together in person to recognise this important date due to COVID-19, the South Australian Department of Human Services and the South Australian Rainbow Advocacy Alliance have joined together to host a special online event for the South Australian LGBTIQ+ community via Zoom.

Join us on Sunday 17 May for a Q&A session featuring LGBTIQ+ people from several diverse backgrounds as we discuss what “Breaking the Silence” means for our rainbow communities.

The Q&A session will feature:

  • Zac Cannell, TransMasc SA & transgender community leader
  • Sarah K Reece, LGBTIQ+ disability advocate
  • Neha MadhokDemocracy in Colour

We are also delighted to welcome Michelle Lensink MLC, Minister for Human Services, to speak with us at the event, as well as Jason Tuazon-McCheyne (founder of The Equality Project) to tell us about the Better Together LGBTIQ+ conference that is coming to Adelaide in 2021.

SARAA acknowledges the Kaurna people as the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We also acknowledge other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their continued connection to their lands throughout Australia.

FAQs

How can I submit a question for the Q&A session?

Questions can be submitted via Zoom during the event, or you can submit a question in advance by emailing chairsaraa@gmail.com

How do I join the webinar?

After registering on Eventbrite, you will receive an email with instructions on how to join the Zoom webinar. Simply follow the link provided and you’ll be able to join on 17 May.

Do I need to be part of the LGBTIQ+ community to attend?

Not at all! Allies are welcome to join us and learn more from our amazing speakers!

There are fears coronavirus is stopping Australia’s migrant women from accessing abortions

SBS News, 26th April 2020

Vulnerable pregnant women could lose access to abortion throughout Australia because of increased financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic, reproductive health providers have warned. 

A combination of widespread job losses, differing abortion laws around the country, and patchy access to Medicare, could mean more women need financial assistance to terminate unwanted pregnancies or will face carrying their pregnancies to term.

Some providers even fear a return to people attempting unsafe abortions if women cannot afford legal terminations.

Women on temporary visas experiencing family violence face additional complex barriers to seeking help

inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence, March 11th, 2020

CEO of inTouch, Ms Michal Morris, today released a position paper on women on temporary visas who are experiencing family violence. The paper urges the government to implement eight recommendations in order to improve supports and services for these vulnerable women.

‘I believe that all women who experience family violence in Australia should have access to the full suite of support services and be safe. Visa status should not be a factor, nor should living in destitution. Today, the government is issuing more temporary visas than ever before. Because of this we are only going to see more women in need and more gaps in services’, said Ms Morris.

Discrimination: a health hazard for people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds resettled in Australia

Ziersch, A., Due, C. & Walsh, M. Discrimination: a health hazard for people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds resettled in Australia. BMC Public Health 20108 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-8068-3

Abstract

Background

Research has shown that discrimination is harmful to health, but there is relatively little known about discrimination experienced by people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds in resettlement countries and associated health effects. This qualitative-focused mixed methods paper reports on discrimination experienced by refugees and asylum seekers, responses to discrimination, and impacts on health.

Methods

As part of a broader study of housing, social inclusion and health, surveys were completed by 423 adult refugees and asylum seekers living in South Australia who had been in Australia for up to 7 years. The survey included questions on discrimination based on skin colour, ethnicity and religion, as well as questions on hope, trust, belonging, sense of control and health (including the SF-8). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 65 survey participants, purposively sampled by visa status, continent and gender, further exploring experiences of discrimination. These and survey open-ended responses were analysed thematically.

Results

Twenty-two percent of survey participants reported experiences of discrimination since arriving in Australia (14% in the last year), and 90% of these felt that discrimination had harmed their health. Key settings of discrimination were public transport, within the neighbourhood, and in relation to employment. Those who reported discrimination had significantly worse mental health (p < .000) but not physical health. Discrimination was also associated with less sense of belonging (p = .001), lower levels of trust (p = .038), reduced sense of control (p = .012) and less hope (p = .006). Incidents described in interviews and the open-ended survey responses included incivility, physical assault, and denial of services, experienced across intersecting characteristics of race/ethnicity, religion, gender and visa status. Responses to discrimination spanned affective, cognitive and behavioural dimensions, ranging across types of experience, participant characteristics and context, with most individuals reporting multiple response types. While some of the responses were reported by participants as protective of health, participants’ reflections indicated significant negative impacts on mental health in particular.

Conclusion

Discrimination featured in the resettlement experiences of a significant number of refugees and asylum seekers, with participants reporting clear negative impacts on mental health. Addressing discrimination is a key resettlement and health issue requiring urgent action.

Delayed linkage to HIV care among asylum seekers

Kronfli, N., Linthwaite, B., Sheehan, N. et al. Delayed linkage to HIV care among asylum seekers in Quebec, CanadaBMC Public Health 191683 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-8052-y

Abstract:

Background

Migrants represent an increasing proportion of people living with HIV in many developed countries. We aimed to describe the HIV care cascade and baseline genotypic resistance for newly diagnosed asylum seekers referred to the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Methods

We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients linked to the MUHC from June 1, 2017 to October 31, 2018. We calculated the median time (days; interquartile range (IQR)) from: 1) entry into Canada to immigration medical examination (IME) (i.e. HIV screening); 2) IME to patient notification of diagnosis; 3) notification to linkage to HIV care (defined as a CD4 or viral load (VL) measure); 4) linkage to HIV care to combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) prescription; and 5) cART prescription to viral suppression (defined as a VL < 20 copies/mL). We reviewed baseline genotypes and interpreted mutations using the Stanford University HIV Drug Resistance Database. We calculated the proportion with full resistance to > 1 antiretroviral.

Results

Overall, 43% (60/139) of asylum seekers were newly diagnosed in Canada. Among these, 62% were late presenters (CD4 < 350 cells/μl), 22% presented with advanced HIV (CD4 < 200 cells/μl), and 25% with high-level viremia (VL > 100,000 copies/ml). Median time from entry to IME: 27 days [IQR:13;55]; IME to notification: 28 days [IQR:21;49]; notification to linkage: 6 days [IQR:2;19]; linkage to cART prescription: 11 days [IQR:6;17]; and cART to viral suppression: 42 days [IQR:31;88]; 45% were linked to HIV care within 30 days. One-fifth (21%) had baseline resistance to at least one antiretroviral agent; the K103 N/S mutation was the most common mutation.

Conclusions

While the majority of newly diagnosed asylum seekers were late presenters, only 45% were linked to care within 30 days. Once linked, care and viral suppression were rapid. Delays in screening and linkage to care present increased risk for onward transmission, and in the context of 21% baseline resistance, consideration of point-of-care testing and immediate referral at IME screening should be made.