The Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, Inc. (MAMH) believes it is essential that all aspects of wellness promotion and mental health and substance use disorder prevention and treatment be reflective of the diversity of the community and that mental health and substance use policy makers and providers strive to become and remain culturally and linguistically competent.

A culturally and linguistically competent system integrates skills, attitudes, and policies to ensure it is effectively addressing the cultural and communication needs of consumers and families with diverse economic and social resources and capacities, and diverse values, beliefs, and sexual orientations, in addition to backgrounds that vary by race, ethnicity, religion, and language.

This requires (1) a thorough understanding of the culture of the many segments of American society; (2) adequate language skills to serve the language needs of substantial limited-English- speaking communities and of the deaf and blind communities; and (3) an understanding of the full range of sexual orientations, currently summarized as LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, ally or asexual, etc.). MAMH urges that advisory councils, governing boards, staff and peer service workers of mental health and substance use treatment organizations in the Commonwealth become well educated about cultural and linguistic diversity, so that they are better equipped to offer culturally competent evidence-based treatment options to the individuals they serve.

Cultural Competency Plan

To fully integrate MAMH’s cultural competency philosophy with its own practices, MAMH will:

  • Periodically review demographic data and local needs assessment data to become educated about the diversity and needs of the people who live in the Commonwealth and use those data to inform our policy and planning efforts.
  • Leverage our data and knowledge about cultural competency to recruit and hire culturally and linguistically competent staff.
  • Annually review our Board membership to determine if there is sufficient representation on our Board reflecting the cultural and linguistic makeup of residents of the Commonwealth and the individuals that MAMH serves.
  • Provide cultural and linguistic competency training for staff members.
  • Provide educational materials that are consistent with the linguistic diversity of the target populations MAMH is attempting to reach in its many outreach efforts.
  • Implement mental health promotion initiatives that advance racial equity. Our strategies will include employing public awareness, targeted communications, community engagement, and town hall forums incorporating the voices of individual members and thought leaders representing communities of color.