Chapter

<i>Work and Cultural Competence</i>

Deborah R. Becker and Robert E. Drake

in A Working Life for People with Severe Mental Illness

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195131215
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199863808 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195131215.003.0015

Series: Innovations in Practice and Service Delivery with Vulnerable Populations

 Work and Cultural Competence

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People from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds have a right to receive services that are culturally competent. Cultural competence refers to services that are sensitive to and tailored for the cultural context of the person receiving services. The illustration in this chapter highlights some of the key features of cultural competence when a young man expresses interest in returning to school. The workforce of the mental health agency must include employment specialists and other practitioners who are bilingual/bicultural to provide services to people with similar backgrounds. The agency provides education and training to all staff members to sensitize them to their own cultural beliefs and biases and to introduce them to the customs, values, belief systems, social networks, communication, and behaviors of clients from different cultures and backgrounds. For example, the meaning of work is different for people from different cultures and backgrounds. Similarly, family roles and responsibilities are different and need to be understood by employment specialists who are trying to help with goals of school and work.

Keywords: bilingual; bicultural; staff training and supervision; family involvement

Chapter.  2360 words. 

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