As a bilingual psychology counsellor (English/Mandarin), JingShu Li has worked with the WA Chinese community in many different areas and as a mental health social worker at a local community services agency.
JingShu’s work experience has made her realise how difficult it can be for some CaLD community members to find support, due to language and cultural barriers.
“During my last five years working with a local community service, there have been only a couple of cases from the WA Chinese community who received public mental health support”, JingShu says.
“But at my private counselling practice, I meet with many clients from Chinese backgrounds who have been struggling with mental health issues for years, with no idea where they could go for help and support.
“Most times they’re referred to me through friends or other connections, but they are often not aware of the official channels.”
JingShu emphasises the importance of translated material being available through health services for CaLD communities so that everyone has access to resources and information.
“Everyone needs to have access to the same information about mental health so that they can get the help they need, when they need it.”
COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions have had an impact on many people’s mental health. JingShu held free on-line workshops in Mandarin on managing mental health and preventing school bullying, and has been working with young Chinese overseas students suffering from isolation and depression.
“Due to COVID-19 restrictions, they are isolated socially and emotionally since their parents can't get to Australia to support them and they can't go home either. I am also helping to counsel some women and children from Chinese backgrounds who are suffering from domestic violence."
Working with WA’s Chinese communities, JingShu has also taken part in organising donations of personal protection equipment to the local community services such as Red Cross and RUAH Community Services.
JingShu believes that 10 September is an important reminder every year to connect with the people around you.
“RU OK Day is an important resource where we can all take the time to check on each other and try to help anyone who is struggling.”