Issue 20: Cultural Diversity
Goal: Ensure that cultural, racial, ethnic and linguistic differences are addressed within mental health services and governance structures of mental health programs.
Persons of cultural, racial, religious, and ethnic diversity and those for whom English is not the primary language have unique characteristics that sometimes impede their ability to benefit fully from existing treatment, training, and rehabilitation programs. The Alaska Mental Health Board believes that providers must have training in and sensitivity to cultural diversity. This can be assured by hiring service providers from minority groups and by training majority group members in the provision of culturally sensitive services.
The higher rates of involuntary commitment and incarceration in correctional facilities that occurs among minorities with psychiatric disorders may be symptomatic of lack of cultural sensitivity. The Alaska Mental Health Board urges the incorporation of ethnic and cultural perspectives and competence into the design and implementation of programs and procedures for persons with psychiatric disorders so that diagnostic evaluations, consumer and family communications, and the provision of treatment and services will be free from bias and cultural impediments.
284. The Alaska Mental Health Board will advocate for expanded efforts toward recruitment and training of professionals from diverse groups.
285. The Alaska Mental Health Board will advocate for the development and distribution of materials in appropriate languages for use in education.
286. The Alaska Mental Health Board will advocate for encouragement of participation of minority groups in programs and services.
287. The Alaska Mental Health Board will advocate for outreach efforts targeted to under-served groups.
288. The Alaska Mental Health Board will advocate for actions to increase minority representation on all mental health policy and governance structures.
289. The Alaska Mental Health Board will advocate for and seek funds for distance delivery of University of Alaska educational programs which encourage indigenous providers.
Responsible party (actions 1-6): Alaska Mental Health Board