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Depression, anxiety, drugs, body image, bullying, violence, peer pressure, relationship and friendship issues, and community connectedness are key health issues for newly arrived young people in the St George area.

They also want health services that are low cost, easy to get to, allow flexible or drop-in appointments, allow unaccompanied and confidential visits, and have non-judgmental staff who have good youth rapport.

These findings are from a new report produced by Advance Diversity Services (ADS), which offers insights from a Youth Health and Wellbeing consultation for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) young people held in Oatley on May 16.

Launched in October, the report aims to support community service organisations in providing services to newly arrived young people in the St George area by increasing understanding of their health and wellbeing needs.

ADS Executive Officer Antoinette Chow said the report identifies barriers that can stop young people from CALD backgrounds from using a health service or seeking advice about their health concerns.

‘It also makes recommendations that can improve young people’s access to services,’ she said. ‘Simple steps service providers can take include: offering a friendly space, having welcoming and culturally competent staff, and providing promotional resources that are youth friendly and presented in different languages.’

Forty young people aged 15 to 19 and drawn from local schools took part in the consultation, which was facilitated by 2Connect Youth & Community. All participants had been in Australia from six months to five years, and two-thirds of them for two years or less. Their countries of origin included China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Pakistan, Burma, Iraq, France, India, Hong Kong, Jordan, Thailand, and Syria.

This was the second CALD youth health forum organised by ADS, and feedback from both consultations was positive. This year, participants said they had learned important information about Kids Helpline, Medicare, headspace, how to contact health clinics and services, and how to find chaplains and mental health support.

Background and recommendations

In 2017, CALD young people in St George participated in a consultation as a strategy outlined in the Get Active-CALD Youth Project funded by South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Multicultural Health Service and coordinated by ADS.

This first consultation identified the need for current information to inform future service delivery and assist providers in their efforts to make a positive difference to the lives and health of youth in the region.

On the strength of these findings, ADS made a commitment to run similar consultations biannually.

To propel this initiative, ADS formed a project advisory committee, with stakeholders partnering with ADS to implement a second consultation in May 2019. Partner services included Georges River Council, headspace Hurstville, SESLHD and 2Connect Youth & Community, which facilitated the day’s proceedings at Georges River College Oatley Senior Campus.

Interactive activities helped the 40 young people who participated in the consultation to explore a range of questions including:

  • What are the health and wellbeing problems of newly arrived young people?
  • What knowledge do they have of existing services they can access for help and how comfortable are they in accessing existing services?
  • What features are most important for services that support young people from CALD backgrounds with their health and wellbeing matters?

Participants documented the day’s discussions which were later collated in the report along with charts and graphs to illustrate the findings.

The report also offers recommendations in the following four categories for health-oriented service providers who work with newly arrived CALD young people.

Environment. Services should project a youth friendly space to encourage young people (and their families) to feel safe, welcome and accepted as newly arrived young people may be anxious and unsure about accessing a service for the first time. This includes providing a calming reception area, free resources in different languages, and flexible opening hours.

Staff. Positive first impressions are important as young people engage with a service. All staff should be welcoming, non-judgemental, culturally competent and sensitive, and genuinely helpful.

Culture. Services need to ensure that all staff practise cultural competence in order to respond respectfully to young people from all cultures, backgrounds, languages, and religions. This includes employing staff who speak a second language, recognising cultural holidays and celebrations, and understanding bi-cultural conflict and parental expectations.

Promotion. Promotional efforts should prioritise relevant information young people are seeking, be presented it in a variety of youth friendly formats, and incorporate feedback from other young people who have used the service. It is also important to use social media in creative and meaningful ways, offer information in different languages, and encourage face-to-face engagement with service staff which builds trust.

ADS’s Multicultural Youth Officer, Settlement and Community Services, Salvin Kumar, said the 2019 Youth Health & Wellbeing Report gives practical suggestions to providers in the region who want to dissolve the barriers that prevent newly arrived young people from accessing health services.

‘Providers who want to make a positive difference to the health of CALD and newly arrived young people in our area will be better positioned to achieve this goal if they act on the report’s insights.’

Download the report from the ADS Resources page https://advancediversity.org.au/resources/


We have recently become a member of the Welcome Here Project. The Welcome Here Project supports businesses/organisations throughout Australia to create and promote environments that are visibly welcoming and inclusive of Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) communities. Click here for more information. Soon you’ll see a Welcome Here Project Sticker and Welcome Here Project Charter in visible locations across our four office sites.


Advance Diversity Services has partnered with ACON, Georges River Council and SSI Ability Links NSW to organise an LGBTIQA+ Forum for staff working with culturally and linguistically diverse and newly arrived clients. The forum is on Monday, October 21. To register, click on this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RX8Y6S7. More details in the attached flyer.


We are currently seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) from community members and representatives from organisations, service providers, community groups as well as ADS staff to join the ADS LGBTIQA+ Working Group. The Working Group has been formed to assist ADS to improve access and equity for LGBTIQA+ clients. 

If you’re interested, please read and complete the attached EOI. 


The St George Sutherland Shire Employment Training and English Action Network (SSETEN) will be holding a complimentary Business Breakfast for business owners/employers in St George & Sutherland Region on Tuesday, 30 July 2019 from 8:00 am to 10:00am at Club Central Hurstville. It’s a friendly breakfast to engage local businesses to look at opportunities for growth and new ideas to expand.

Online booking: http://bit.ly/SSETENBreakfast


Advance Diversity Services’ is deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy in Christchurch last Friday.

Our board members and staff express our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families who have lost loved ones, or whose loved ones have been injured.

We stand with the people of New Zealand in the face of this horrific terror attack. 

We also join with Muslim communities around the world in grieving.

This week is Harmony Week (March 17 to 23) — a week when we celebrate multiculturalism and respect and belonging for all Australians regardless of cultural or linguistic background.Together, we must defend our values of unity and respect of all races and all faiths, and unite in solidarity against all forms of racial and religious prejudice. 

We must also foster harmony and peace to help build safe and vibrant neighbourhoods and nations.  Please join us to ensure this tragedy unites rather than divides us.


On December 2, our Thai women’s group enjoyed a basic accessory-making workshop at Advance Diversity Services while learning about the importance of recognising and responding to domestic and family violence. Kanyarat Tresise facilitated the information session with the help of volunteers, Tedheporn Antico and Khanung Ciserain.

Who came up with the idea of blending the making of accessories with raising DV awareness, and what was the thinking behind it?

In the Settlement Services Program (SSP) we like to provide useful and relevant information in a fun way. The reference group members suggested we run a session on domestic and family violence (DV) and family law information. Most female Thai migrants are on spouse visas, and cross-cultural family relationships, DV, divorce and other legal issues are common concerns for Thai women who feel stigmatised when DV occurs and relationships break down. Thai women also love practical and creative activities that they can apply to their daily life as a hobby or as a pre-employment skill. Combining these two sessions provided a soft entry to difficult conversations.

What accessories did the group make?

The women made necklaces, earrings and bracelets using beads – and the results were lovely (as these photos show).

What was the feedback?

Everyone was so happy and requested more jewellery making workshops! They had lots of fun and made new friends, and they found the Thai teacher Tedhiporn Antico and her assistant Khanug attentive and helpful. They were especially impressed that Tedhiporn provided all the materials and they were able to take home the jewellery for free.

Any closing comments? 

Thanks so much to Thai teacher Tedhiporn Antico and her assistant Khanug for providing the materials and the wonderful session. We look forward to another session soon.

– If you need help please call the Domestic Violence Line 1800 656 463.  


To empower our Thai new arrivals with interview and styling skills, our Thai community worker, Kanyarat Tresise, organised a workshop with Michelle Bonner at Dress for Success in Marrickville on November 15. The informative and practical session was a success – and this Q&A with Kanyarat reveals why.

What was the highlight of the Dress for Success session?

The tips for preparing for an interview were great. For example: research the job and the organisation; ask for information about the interview (i.e. how many people on the panel etc.); check transport to make sure you’ll be on time; and when you’re a candidate in the waiting room, you should always sit in a composed way to impress.

What did Michelle Bonner say, show or provide to the women in terms of dressing/styling? 

While Michele Bonner helped me organise the session, however, she was not present on the day. Susan Dunn (pictured fourth from right) presented on interview skills.

What was one practical tip that participants will take on board when they are next going for an interview?

The standout tip: The candidate should feel comfortable in their clothing and the style of the clothes should be modest and conservative – not revealing. Be on the safe side and keep it formal for any role for which you have an interview.

Tell us more about the photo: Were participants dressed by Dress for Success to appear in the shot?

I’m standing next to Susan Dunn who presented on interview skills (she is fourth from the left). There were three Thai participants and the woman beside each of them is their own individual stylist. The women were able to take home the clothes they were dressed in. If any of these women gains employment they will be able to return to Dress for Success to get five sets of clothes, shoes, bags and other accessories for their working week.

– For more information contact Kay (Sineenat Khantaracha) sineenat@advancediversity.org.au (from January 2019) or visit https://sydney.dressforsuccess.org/


Butt Out is a quit smoking project that targets Arabic-speaking communities in the St George region of Sydney. Its goal is to reduce the high levels of smoking in these communities by developing and delivering smoking prevention awareness strategies and practices that are culturally and linguistically appropriate.

In 2017, Advance Diversity Services (ADS) received an Innovations in Cancer Control Grant from the Cancer Institute NSW to implement this two-stage project over two years.

In February 2018, ADS completed stage one, which targeted the Chinese-speaking community. We are now developing stage two, which aims to reach Arabic speakers in the region who smoke, and empower them to quit.

Butt Out’s Arabic project worker, Hana Srour, and the project’s steering committee members have conducted a range of media interviews in Arabic to raise the awareness of the harms of the smoking. They have also actively promoted quitline services like iCanQuit and the NSW Quitline number 13 7848 (13 QUIT).

SBS Arabic radio interviews
In her first SBS Arabic radio interview on April 24, 2018, Ms Srour spoke about the prevalence of smoking among Arabic men living in the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District. She revealed that around 41.7 per cent of Arabic men in the region smoked as compared with 14.7 per cent of the general population. Ms Srour also translated much of the information about the project from English into Arabic to ensure she could more easily answer the interviewer’s questions.

Listen to the first interview here.

In her second interview with SBS Arabic radio on September 4, 2018, Ms Srour raised and reinforced awareness in Arabic-speaking communities of the harms of smoking. She also promoted Quitline’s services, support and contact number.

Listen to the second interview here.


• A good resource to help Arabic people understand the harmful effects of smoking is the booklet (in Arabic and English) Please don’t smoke near me.
• A video in Arabic outlining methods for quitting can be found here.
• Watch the video of Seham Gerges being interviewed by Aghapy TV about useful strategies for quitting smoking here.

Efforts rewarded
On August 5, Ms Srour was awarded a plaque at the Arncliffe Aurora Football Club community dinner to recognise her excellent work in the Arabic community to help stamp out tobacco use.

Anthony Scerri, Program Manager for ADS’ Settlement and Community Services Program, said ADS is proud of Ms Srour’s achievements relating to Butt Out. He is also confident stage two of the project will help many people recognise smoking is unhealthy and help them quit.

– For more information please email hanas@advancediversity.org.au