It was recognised that culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities also experienced considerable difficulty in accessing mental health services through the Better Access initiative. It is notable that this issue was raised by most public mental health representatives, one RACGP representative and two RANZCP representatives and several GPs in rural and remote areas. When questioned about the issue, several other GP and AHP interviewees reported that they had not considered access issues for CALD communities, and were unaware of specific difficulties these groups may face.

The major challenge identified for CALD communities was one of language. While GPs can access the Australian Government's Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) without charge, stakeholders and interviewees noted that there is no interpreting service available for allied health professionals. Communication with mental health clients under the Better Access initiative without interpreter support, unless by a bilingual AHP, was therefore deemed virtually impossible and a clear barrier to accessing services. As a result, interventions may be reliant on informal or untrained interpreters such as family or community members, in turn raising other difficulties.

Where interpreters are used (whatever the source), the additional time required in working with a client using an interpreter is not recognised. This more than halves the therapy time available to clients receiving services through an interpreter.

The communities' understanding and perceptions of mental health and mental health treatments also limit access to mental health services. Access to these communities may require a period of engagement and cultural sensitivity to increase awareness and acceptance. One opinion is that there should be more training and awareness campaigns targeting these communities through local community networks, while also increasing awareness and cultural sensitivity of local GPs and AHPs. An alternative view was that services targeted to CALD communities may be better funded though ATAPS and/or block funding to established CALD specific health services.

When questioned about reduced access by CALD communities and other disadvantaged groups, a small number of AHPs suggested that this was an issue for GPs who drive the referrals, rather than one for AHPs. They perceived it as the responsibility of the GP to make the referral, and that improving access by CALD and other disadvantaged groups was not something that they could readily influence.