Cultural Competence in Mental Health Services: Learning from Client Experiences
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Despite the introduction of cultural competence models in mental health services, individuals from marginalized backgrounds with severe mental health (dis)Abilities continue to face health and mental health inequities attributable to the social determinants of health. Through an anti-oppressive practice lens, this qualitative study explored clients’ experiences with cultural competence in mental health services in Vancouver and the implications of these experiences on the development of such services. The study finds that understandings and experiences of cultural competence differ across contexts. The subsequent interventions taken and resulting outcomes are influenced by these varying definitions and are also constrained by the sociopolitical context. The study findings identify considerations for cultural competence in mental health policy and services, as well as anti-oppressive social work practice. The intersectionality of clients’ social categories are intricate and complex, and the personal stories shared here are a reflection of clients’ strength, resistance, and resilience.