Creating a mental health resource that is relevant, useful and accessible to the Arabic-speaking communities were the key goals of this project. To achieve this, we took steps to ensure the project was informed by the Arabic-speaking communities and those who work closely with them.

Step 1 We formed a Project Advisory Group to give advice on the best way to carry out the project. This group included an Arabic-speaking consumer, Arabic community workers, and members with expertise in working with Arabic-speaking communities mental health, and community engagement.
Step 2 We carried out four focus groups with first-generation Arabic migrants across three Sydney areas to identify what the mental health resource should be and how to make it accessible. There were two focus groups with men and two with women. A total of 48 people shared their views. The focus groups were in Arabic, and the notes were translated to English afterwards.

The key things people told us were that:

  • many had experienced psychological distress or supported someone else
  • many were not aware that there were information and services for dealing with psychological distress
  • some people would go to their religious leaders for help
  • they wanted information and discussions in their community about psychological health and distress, because there is a lot of stigma in their community from lack of knowledge and understanding
  • They want information online, on TV and radio, and also at schools and community events
Step 3 Based on feedback from the focus groups and the Project Advisory Group, we decided to create a three-part video resource to cover the key perspectives that people had identified as important. These were perspectives from:

1.      Arabic migrants who have experienced psychological distress themselves

2.      Mental health professionals

3.      Arabic religious representatives

To be accessible, the resource will be freely available on YouTube, with some DVD copies available for free for organisations, such as services, schools, and religious centres.

Step 4 We worked with Ethno Connect to film and produce the video resource.

It was important that the resource tells the experiences and views of real people living in the Arabic-speaking communities in NSW. We networked with many organisations and groups that are either part of the Arabic-speaking communities, or work closely with the communities, to find suitable people for the film.

Step 5 Hold an event with Arabic-speaking communities to launch the video resource and to kick start the conversations in the communities about psychological health and dealing with distress.

We are very grateful to the individuals, groups and organisations that took part in this project, and assisted us along the way!