Journey Mental Health Center believes that cultural competence is fundamental to providing quality services that promote individual and family strengths, dignity and self-reliance. Cultural competence broadens and enriches the delivery of mental health and AODA services by providing a more holistic, relevant view of the world and the helping process. Cultural competence does not stand apart from, but is intrinsic to good clinical practice. Its threads are woven into the tapestry of effective assessment, treatment planning, intervention, advocacy and support. In addition, cultural competence is intrinsic to effective staff relationships and business practices.
Cultural competence promotes relationships based upon understanding and knowledge of how one’s own cultural beliefs and values influence the organization of information, perceptions, feelings, experiences and coping strategies. It involves being able to identify, learn from and incorporate these elements of cultural competence into the helping process. When cultural competence is an integral part of personal competence, there is the maximum opportunity to increase the amount and quality of information and the speed with which that information can be shared and processed to form healthy alliances.
Cultural competence demands an ongoing commitment to openness and learning, taking time and taking risks, sitting with uncertainty and discomfort, and not having quick solutions or easy answers. It involves building trust, mentoring and developing and nurturing a frame of reference that considers alliances across culture as enriching rather than threatening shared goals. In order to support its supervisors and staff, JMHC will be guided by five values:
Embracing difference as a dynamic human force is what will make Journey Mental Health Center a viable resource to our community. Journey will actively seek out, incorporate and benefit from staff who bring a broad array of multicultural perspectives. These perspectives will be evidenced in how Journey makes policy, personnel, clinical and administrative decisions, and creates a welcoming environment. Journey will work to ensure that all staff members have an equal opportunity to contribute, be valued and succeed. Affirmative action and EEOC protections will be used as tools to help promote inclusiveness
It is not enough only to increase the diversity of Journey’s staff. Journey’s work environment must promote reciprocal sharing and learning across cultural groups. Cross cultural skills are best acquired through practice and through mentoring between colleagues who bring different cultural perspectives. Building allies across cultural groups is Journey’s vehicle for promoting partnerships, equality and community.
All persons have cultural attributes that connect them to and separate them from others. By exploring and acknowledging these attributes in one’s own culture, as well as in others’ cultures, it is possible to create greater opportunity to build relationships and alliances across cultural groups. All staff should work to acknowledge and accept dynamics of difference by understanding that when a person of one culture interacts with a person of another culture, both may misjudge the other’s actions or feelings based on learned expectations. When the dynamics of difference are acknowledged and attended to, they will enhance the probability of having a cross- cultural relationship.
While every person is unique and cannot be fully defined by cultural attributes, some characteristics of cultural heritage are basic to any individual or group. Understanding the diverse cultural complexities that influence identity, assumptions, behaviors, expectations, and beliefs can greatly benefit all aspects of human interaction. Interactions beneficially impacted by the understanding of cultural diversity include clinical relationships with consumers, relationships between staff members and relationships with persons and entities in the larger community.
Journey’s organizational and informal relationships with multiple cultural groups in the community, as well as the personal connections of its staff, are prerequisites to better understanding and advocating for those facing complex challenges. This includes participation in community social, political, and spiritual functions, celebrations and friendships in addition to our service and business relationships.