Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing

Circle and Dots

Empowering Access

Stream 1 (Empowering Access) is focused on establishing social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) as a paradigm of health that can be applied in both Aboriginal community-controlled and mainstream service delivery and programs.

This stream is working to bridge the gap in services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, by building an evidence base of what works for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities. The pivotal work of the National Empowerment Project and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Project have demonstrated that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities must be a part of the solution. Using principles of empowerment and self-determination we aim to investigate:

  • What are the barriers and enablers to accessing mental health and SEWB services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples?
  • What elements need to be in place to promote SEWB and mental health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, families, and communities?

Key Projects

Research activities will focus on building evidence and models that successfully implement the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander MH&SEWB 2017-2023. These include:

From March 2020, TIMHWB has hosted several roundtables for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to inform government responses to the mental health impacts of COVID-19 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities. These roundtables advocate for evidence-based and culturally-informed strategies to protect and promote holistic health and address social determinants of health. Read more via: TIMHWB.org.au/publications/

TIMHWB is working with NACCHO, GDPSA, and AIPA to host national SEWB Gatherings. This work will inform a blueprint for SEWB and includes the renewal and implementation of the  MH&SEWB Framework.

This research will develop and support the implementation of a Kimberley Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) MH&SEWB service model that is aligned and responsive to community needs. The four objectives are to:

  1. Identify and explore current services offered by Kimberley ACCHS as they relate to MH&SEWB,
  2. Use Aboriginal participatory action research approaches to develop a culturally secure needs-based MH&SEWB service model for Kimberley ACCHS,
  3. Progress and support the implementation of the service model across the Kimberley ACCHS,
  4. Evaluate the process, outputs, and outcomes of the SEWB model following its development and implementation.

The OJOS research project will be building bridges to improve Aboriginal youth mental health and wellbeing, and is a part of an evolving program led by Chief Investigator, Dr Michael Wright.

Working with Impact Co, and CBPATSISP,  TIMHWB is working to strengthen partnerships between PHNs and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health services and to strengthen the understanding and application of SEWB. These research projects are conducted in partnership with Western NSW PHN and North Coast PHN.

National Empowerment Project (NEP) is an evolving program of research that is conducted in partnership with Langford Aboriginal Association (LAA). The Cultural, Social and Emotional Wellbeing (CSEWB) program was originally piloted in Queensland following national consultations. Pilots have now also been completed in three Perth communities.

The KEHLP program is another community-owned program that was developed from the National Empowerment Project.

These SEWB-based projects are currently being delivered in prisons and are looking to be extended to youth.

The work in Stream 1 (Empowering Access) will help to inform culturally responsive (Stream 2) and culturally safe (Stream 3) service systems and programs. 

Working together, we will ensure that the SEWB paradigm is an essential part of policy, research, education, and service systems.

Goals

Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing

1. Effective SEWB models, principles and protocols established through consultation, pilot, and evaluation data,

2. Community engagement and policy advocacy to inform, translate, and implement the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander SEWB, mental health, and suicide prevention evidence base and promote practice-based evidence,

3. International knowledge exchange to inform and empower Indigenous peoples across the globe through research collaborations and conferences.

These goals are the stepping stones to strengthen and sustain the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities across Australia:

  • Establish the SEWB framework as a paradigm through our research collaborations with communities,
  • Inform the renewal and implementation of the SEWB&MH Framework,
  • Establish and strengthen national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander SEWB networks through regular SEWB Gatherings,
  • Develop SEWB models of care and SEWB-based programs for both community-controlled health and mainstream mental health services.

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