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Recovery through Community Conversations: a collaborative inter-sectoral approach.

Recovery through Community Conversations: a collaborative inter-sectoral approach.

QPASTT, Brisbane, Australia, Brisbane South PHN, Brisbane , Australia, Metro South Health, Brisbane , Australia
QPASTT initiated Community Conversations in 2018 with English classes delivered at local Technical and Further Education (TAFE) colleges. Community Conversations aims to empower newly arrived refugees and migrants to assist with settlement and recovery.
Two-hour education sessions are held weekly with guest speakers presenting topics such as mental health, the Australian health system, preventive health and consumer rights. Morning tea is provided along with a nutrition message and an opportunity for discussion. This program is supported by Brisbane South PHN and Metro South Health through their respective projects, Improving Health Literacy for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Communities and Healthy New Communities.
Partnering organisations pooled resources and developed a health-focused Community Conversations 17-week program. Loganlea TAFE identified the Special Preparatory Program group would benefit most from this project due to their low literacy and vulnerability.
Volunteer presenters delivered sessions, which were interpreted on-site or by telephone. The sessions were assessed informally through qualitative feedback.
Key messages were simplified significantly to address students’ low language and health literacy levels. Securing accredited onsite interpreters for multiple languages was difficult, especially for emerging languages. Group work and demonstrations were challenging when phone interpreters were used. The high cost of interpreting is a significant barrier to implementation elsewhere
and to sustainability of the project.
Community Conversations enabled participants to feel welcomed and valued, to develop trust and to build relationships with professionals. It provided knowledge to empower and help navigate their new lives in Australia. Consequently, it created opportunities for healing and recovery. Unintended outcomes were improved TAFE attendance, new partnerships with TAFE for future projects and building guest speakers’ capacity in working with clients from CALD communities. This collaborative approach shows the strength
of what can be achieved through partnerships.