Aboriginal leaders from across the state gathered at the NSW Mental Health Commission recently to work on documenting how Aboriginal-led services improve their communities’ social and emotional wellbeing.
Everyone came together on 8 June to share the non-clinical ways they help community members to feel strong, connected and supported. They also discussed how these ways of caring could be formally documented so they can be used by other services that provide support for Aboriginal people.
Agencies and services that gathered for the meeting included:
- The Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC)
- Waminda South Coast Women's Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation in Nowra
- Bila Muuji Aboriginal Corporation Health Service Incorporated in Dubbo
- Galambila Aboriginal Health Service, Durri Aboriginal Corporation Medical Service and Bowraville residents from the Mid North Coast Local Health District
- Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation in South Western Sydney
- The Healing Foundation
NSW Mental Health Commissioner Catherine Lourey said the meeting was part of a project that began when some Aboriginal-led services told the Commission they wanted to better record and share how they provide care.
“There are lots of ways that Aboriginal-led services in NSW improve the social and emotional wellbeing of their community members. But the successes and challenges of these models of care have not been formally documented,” Ms Lourey said.
“Many Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal services have told us they want to change this, and so now the Commission is working alongside Aboriginal leaders and communities to help this process.”
As part of the project, Aboriginal-led consultancy service Cox Inall Ridgeway met with Aboriginal-led services earlier this year, to gather information on how they care for people. The consultants have since brought the key learnings together for project members to review and refine into a single model of care.
Aboriginal leaders who are steering the project are NSW Deputy Mental Health Commissioner Dr Robyn Shields AM, community leader and carer Aunty Dolly Brown, statewide coordinator of the NSW Aboriginal Mental Health workforce program Tom Brideson, and CEO of Durri Aboriginal Corporation Medical Service Tim Agius.