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A Working Life for People with Severe Mental Illness$
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Deborah R. Becker and Robert E. Drake

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195131215

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195131215.001.0001

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Work and Cultural Competence

Work and Cultural Competence

(p.160) 15 Work and Cultural Competence
A Working Life for People with Severe Mental Illness

Deborah R. Becker

Robert E. Drake

Oxford University Press

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

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