Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing

Circle and Dots

Empowering the Workforce

This research is designed to empower the mental health workforce to deliver an improved workforce model of care that is culturally appropriate for, and responsive to, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

In both mainstream and Aboriginal community-controlled mental health services, this stream will focus on:

  • building the cultural responsiveness of the non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health workforce,
  • building capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health professionals, and 
  • developing the social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) workforce.

A culturally responsive workforce will support integrated mental health, suicide prevention, alcohol and other drugs (AOD), and SEWB service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, improve access and uptake of services, and ultimately improve health and wellbeing outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

Cultural responsiveness will be strengthened through the revitalisation of the Australian Indigenous Psychology Education Project (AIPEP 2) by decolonising psychology curricula, working with key psychology stakeholders and organisations to build capacity and increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ participation in psychology education and training, and develop a culturally responsive workforce. 

Further, cultural responsiveness will be assessed and increased through a curriculum review of students and graduates from disciplines related to mental health services, including psychology, social work, and medicine, to establish the need for improved cultural safety in curricula.

The interdisciplinary ACCHS SEWB workforce will be defined and strengthened by establishing clear roles and training pathways for a broad range of cultural, clinical and community services, including cultural healers and Elders.

Importantly, cultural responsiveness is being informed by the needs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Emphasis must be on empowering the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce and building Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership within the mental health and SEWB sector.

Key Projects

Through the revitalisation of the  Australian Indigenous Psychology Education Project (AIPEP 2), AIPEP 2 aims to develop the cultural responsiveness in mainstream workforces by:

  • Decolonising and transforming psychology education across higher education providers.
  • Build a more sustainable and equitable society by increasing participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in psychology.
  • Develop a culturally responsive workforce

AIPEP 2 works in partnership with key executive psychology stakeholders, including the APS, AIPA, HODSPA, APAC, and PsyBA, to build capacity, facilitate advocacy, and ensure policy translation.

AIPEP 2 also works closely with higher education providers across Australia to build a national Community of Practice, of which more than 70% of higher education providers have joined. The Community of Practice assists educators to transform their curriculum and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

AIPEP 2 and the UWA SPS work in partnership to decolonise psychology at a school level through yarning circles held with UWA SPS course convenors and educators and the AIPEP 2 team.

  • Consistent with the recommendation from the SEWB gatherings, we will work in partnership with GDPSA to renew the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing 2017-2023 (MH&SEWB Framework) to reflect recent policy changes and ensure the third MH&SEWB Framework is ready for implementation.
  • In partnership with AHCWA, develop and implement the ACCHS SEWB Service Model across the SEWB Trial Sites to build capacity in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and SEWB workforce.
  • In partnership with the UWA Poche School of Indigenous Health and School of Psychological Science, we will undertake a curriculum review and training needs analysis of emerging health professional graduates (psychology, social work, and medicine) to better support graduates to work effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Goals

Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Decolonising higher education and increasing the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in psychology education
  • Cultural responsiveness training programs for mental health professionals
  • Training, accreditation, and employment models and pathways for diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and SEWB workforces

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