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Alcohol and other Drugs - A Zimbabwean Perspective

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Zimbabweans living in Perth took the opportunity to share their experiences of and attitudes towards alcohol and other drugs and mental health in a survey conducted by the WA Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (WANADA).

Alcohol and other drug services offer information, support and treatment to people who need it, regardless of their cultural or linguistic background. Working with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds requires a greater understanding of a cultural group and the 82 survey participants have contributed to WANADA's understanding of the Zimbabwean community in Perth.

The Survey

WANADA Project Officer Geraldine Muriritirwa, originally from Harare in Zimbabwe, encouraged people in her networks to complete the survey online via Facebook. The survey found that:

  • Forty two respondents reported that they know someone adversely affected by their own or another's alcohol or other drug use
  • Two out of five respondents experienced symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression.
 "We're encouraged by the openness of survey participants," says Geraldine. "Recognising alcohol and other drug issues and mental health concerns in yourself or others is a great first step to overcoming them."

What Prevents People From Accessing Services?

More than half of respondents reported that they would be too embarrassed to access alcohol and other drug or mental health services. Others reported that they didn't think services would be necessary to help deal with alcohol and other drug or mental health issues.

"We want people to know that not only is it okay to access support and information, we can make a big difference to ourselves and our community when we do," says Geraldine.

Talking More About Alcohol and other Drugs and Mental Health

WANADA now plans to meet with people from Zimbabwe living in Perth to share  more information about the services available and what they can do when faced with alcohol and other drug or mental health issues. "We're hoping that by talking more to Zimbabweans living in Perth about alcohol and other drug issues we can prevent problems from developing and offer assistance if needed," says Geraldine.

More Information

For more information about the project, or how alcohol and other drug services work with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, please contact Geraldine Muriritirwa on (08) 6365 6365 or via geraldine.muriritirwa@wanada.org.au.

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