Education in any language

Posted on: Thursday, 12 July 2012

A Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre initiative is opening the doors to alcohol education among Melbourne’s multicultural community.

Turning Point began collaborating with the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH) 10 years ago to assist the alcohol and other drug (AOD) sector become more aware of multicultural issues.

A decade on, the relationship is still going strong with a recent project raising awareness and providing education about binge drinking in Melbourne’s multicultural community.

According to Turning Point’s Head of Education and Training Dr Kieran Connolly, the project – Reducing Risk Drinking in the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Community –  is a win-win for both organisations, as well as the areas in which they work.

“The key reason we work together on these projects is to ensure there is an active partnership with multicultural communities,” Dr Connolly said.

“It is the most effective way to engage with the community and get the key messages across at a grassroots level, especially for new arrivals.” 

According to MCWH Executive Director Dr Adele Murdolo, both women and men are extremely responsive to receiving health information in their own language.

“It allows otherwise sensitive topics to be discussed in a much more open and supportive environment,” Dr Murdolo said.

“The use of innovative techniques such as storytelling to increase awareness of risky drinking and encourage healthy lifestyles equips communities with the skills to identify and avoid alcohol-related harm.”

Dr Connolly said the project was significant, with research indicating only 29 per cent of people from non-English speaking backgrounds received health education in their own language.

“The communities become more aware of AOD issues, while the AOD sector becomes more aware of community issues and how we can do things differently to make our services more culturally appropriate,” he said.

The program will continue to thrive, thanks to a recent funding boost of almost $500,000 over the next two years from the Australian National Preventive Health Agency, as part of the National Binge Drinking Strategy.

It means the program can continue to increase awareness and provide education about binge drinking for the community.

Key collaboration: Pictured from left are Turning Point's Head of Education & Training Dr Kieran Connolly, MCWH Project Officer Megan Wong and MCWH Executive Director Dr Adele Murdolo