Cultural Sensitive Care Provision in a Public Child and Adolescent Mental Health Centre: A Case Study from the Toulouse University Hospital Intercultural Consultation

Author(s): Gesine STURM ; Sylvie BONNET ; Yolaine COUSSOT ; Katja JOURNOT ; Jean-Philippe RAYNAUD


Child and adolescent mental health services in Europe are confronted with children with increasingly diverse socio-cultural backgrounds. Clinicians encounter cultural environments of hyperdiversity in terms of languages and countries of origin, growing diversity within groups, and accelerated change with regards to social and administrational situations (Hannah, in: DelVecchio Good et al. (eds) Shattering culture: American medicine responds to cultural diversity, Russel Sage Foundation, New York, 2011). Children and families who live in these complex constellations face multiple vulnerabilizing factors related to overlapping or intersecting social identities (Crenshaw in Univ Chic Leg Forum 140:139–167, 1989). Mobilizing existing resources in terms of social and family support, and encouraging creative strategies of interculturation in therapeutic work (Denoux, in: Blomart and Krewer (eds) Perspectives de l’interculturel, L’Harmattan, Paris, 1994) may be helpful in order to enhance resilience. Drawing from experiences in the context of French transcultural and intercultural psychiatry, and inspired by the Mc Gill Cultural Consultation in Child Psychiatry, we developed an innovative model, the Intercultural Consultation Service (ICS). This consultation proposes short term interventions to children and families with complex migration experiences. It has been implemented into a local public health care structure in Toulouse, the Medical and Psychological Centre la Grave. The innovation includes the creation of a specific setting for short term therapeutic interventions and team training via shared case discussions. Our objectives are (a) to improve outcomes of mental health care for the children through a better understanding of the child’s family context (exploration of family dynamics and their relatedness to complex migration histories), (b) to enhance intercultural competencies in professionals via shared case discussions, and, (c) to improve the therapeutic relationship between children and professionals on the basis of the work with the family and the dialogue with the team. In our paper, we present the rationale and functioning of the ICS and illustrate our work with a case study. The presentation of the case uses the Mc Gill B-version of the Cultural Formulation, combined with a relational and process oriented reflection on the intercultural dynamics that unfold during the encounter with a family.


Culturally sensitive child mental health, Hyperdiversity, Intersectionality, Interculturation, Cultural formulation

Tags: France, Europe, Children, Adolescents, Youth, Families, Social support, Transcultural approach, Diversity, Access to mental health care

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