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-Indigenous mental health workforce,
  • building capacity of Indigenous 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 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

  • In partnership with GDPSA, AHCWA, and AMSANT, map SEWB workforce needs and implement the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing 2017-2023.
  • Build capacity in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and SEWB workforce.

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

  • Decolonising and transforming psychology education at universities.
  • Increasing participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in psychology.
  • 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
  • Training, accreditation, and employment models and pathways for diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and SEWB workforces 
  • Cultural responsiveness training programs for mental health professionals
  • Decolonising higher education and increasing the participation of Aboriginal students in psychology education

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