Services Framework 2022-2032 draft document. It summarises Asian Family Services’ view on transforming Aotearoa’s approach to mental wellbeing: supporting people to stay well and have access to help that works for them, when and where they need it for the Asian and ethnic minority populations. The feedback provided is based on over 20 years of experience serving the Asian and ethnic minority population with mental health issues and substance-related harm. It outlines several critical pieces of information that will further strengthen the framework’s core components that will support everyone to experience mental wellbeing and address mental health issues and substance-related harm, including Asian and ethnic minority groups.
As an Asian Mental Health and Addiction service provider, our responsibility is to authentically represent the Asian and ethnic minority population who suffer from mental health and substance-related harm in silence, which unfortunately is not well understood by the general population. Many were unable to share their pain and frustration that was buried deep inside, leaving them to feel invisible at the time when their cultural needs were not being met, respected, or understood by mental health and addiction services. Asians were less likely to stand up or demand services because of the lack of English language skills to convey their thoughts. They are also less likely to express their opinions or views because many of from the Asian population came from authoritarian societies instead of egalitarian such as New Zealand. However most importantly, the power distance is greater emphasised in their country of origin. Therefore, Asian Family Services want to emphasise that such behaviour should never be perceived as less support being needed, especially for mental health and substance-related harm.