Important informations

LDI researchers launch Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre

Bell Let’s Talk, McGill University, The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) and the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital are pleased to announce the official launch of the Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre (MMHRC). This unique online resource seeks to improve the quality and availability of mental health services for people from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, including new Canadians, refugees and members of established ethnocultural communities. With these populations disproportionally affected by the global pandemic, the MMHRC will provide a timely and critical new resource.

A joint initiative by researchers at McGill’s Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry, The Neuro and the Lady Davis Institute, supported by a $250,000 donation from Bell Let’s Talk, MMHRC is led by Dr. Laurence Kirmayer, an international researcher in the field of transcultural psychiatry. Dr. Kirmayer has pioneered efforts to approach mental health within the cultural context of those who are being treated and the communities in which they live.

“Addressing issues of language, culture, religion and other aspects of diversity, the MMHRC will promote greater equity in mental health care,” said Dr. Kirmayer. “Mental health is often viewed differently in different cultures, which requires culturally responsive approaches to meet the needs of those seeking help. With the generous support of Bell Let’s Talk, we have drawn on our extensive research to strengthen and develop our online platform in order to better reach out to those in need and make this resource more accessible.”

The MMHRC has developed information and tools for several different groups:

  1. For patients and their families – multilingual information on mental health issues and treatments, information about how to find culturally appropriate mental health services, and ways to help family members maintain their well-being.
  2. For health care professionals – information on cultural-assessment tools and methods, access to interpreters and culture brokers, and recommendations for culturally adapted treatment interventions.
  3. For community organizations – materials for educators about support programs for people living with mental health issues, and advocacy and stigma reduction.
  4. For policy makers, planners and administrators – information on health disparities, recommendations to improve cultural competence in organizations, and models of mental health services and interventions to address diversity.

When COVID-19 is brought under control and out-patient visits to hospitals resume, interactive kiosks at The Neuro and the Jewish General Hospital will be available where patients and clinical staff can consult the website. In the meantime, the importance of online tools has increased with the mental health challenges COVID-19 has meant for many people. The pandemic’s impact on cultural communities has been particularly devastating, both in terms of the disproportionate physical toll it has taken, and the associated mental and emotional effects.