Supporting the mental health of Quang Minh Buddhist temple community

Released on 10th February 2024

A partnership between not-for-profit community health service, cohealth, and a Buddhist temple in Melbourne’s west is helping to meet the mental health needs of the local Vietnamese community, and reduce the stigma associated with accessing mental health services.  

After recognising that some of the people who came to the temple had mental health needs, the head monk of the Quang Minh Buddhist temple, Abbot Thich Phuoc Tan, approached cohealth for help. 

“In our community, there is a lot of stigma around mental health, and a lack of information about what help is available,” said Abbot Thich Phuoc Tan. 

“People often come to talk to me about their problems, but they don’t have the scientific words to describe what is going on.  

“I can help them with spiritual guidance, but I know they need a holistic approach that looks at their spiritual, mental and physical health,” he said.  

cohealth will build the capacity of the temple to identify and respond to the mental health needs of its community and improve access to cohealth’s mental health service in Brimbank. 

cohealth operates the Brimbank Mental Health and Wellbeing Local, which is a free walk-in, mental health support, that does not require referrals or an appointment.  

At the Brimbank Local, clients can connect with bicultural workers and peer workers who have a shared experience of mental ill-health. 

cohealth’s Director, Community Mental Health and Homelessness Responses, Angelika Broederlow, said that making mental health services culturally-safe and accessible is vital.  

“Our approach brings health services to where they are needed, rather than waiting for people to navigate the system.  

We use the knowledge and expertise of bicultural workers to make sure that our services are culturally safe and relevant,” said Ms Broederlow. 

“This new mental health partnership will explore a range of initiatives to improve the mental health of the community connected to the temple, and is using codesign principles to ensure the community is involved every step of the way,” she said. 

  • providing mental health training to temple Spiritual Volunteers to support them to identify and respond to mental health  needs and ensure they have access to a diverse range of appropriate referral pathways  
  • providing  ‘secondary consult’ service 
  • holding in-language mental health community consultations hosted by cohealth’s Vietnamese-speaking bicultural workers  
  • creating an access pathway from the temple to cohealth’s Brimbank Mental Health Local 

  cohealth will kick off the partnership by hosting a marquee at the Quang Minh temple’s annual Tet festival (Lunar New Year festival) on 9 & 10 February at which Vietnamese bicultural workers and other health workers will attend. 

The cohealth | Quang Minh Buddhist temple project has been made possible in part through a ‘Reimagining Project’ grant from the Department of Health to support culturally responsive services that support mental wellness for diverse communities. 

 

— Ends — 

More on cohealth: 

cohealth is one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit community health organisation that strives to improve health and wellbeing for all.  cohealth provides universal access to services as well as targeted programs and assertive models to address the health disparities experienced by disadvantaged groups. cohealth offers a broad range of high quality, integrated health and support services, including medical, oral, pharmacy, mental health and drug and alcohol services.  

 

more information:  Lanie Harris 0418 552 377  lanie.harris@cohealth.org.au 

 

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