Hon John Day BSc BDSc MLA

Hon John Day BSc BDSc MLA

Former Minister for Health; Culture and the Arts

Hon Andrea Mitchell BPE DipEd MLA

Hon Andrea Mitchell BPE DipEd MLA

Former Minister for Mental Health; Child Protection

    Elders building bridges to better mental health

    13/12/2016 1:30 PM
    • $382,249 Healthway grant to enhance mental health of young Aboriginal people
    • Building Bridges project incorporates Aboriginal-led, culturally safe solutions
    • Traditional yarning and storytelling to promote peer support and mentoring 

    A unique Western Australian Aboriginal-led program to improve the mental health of young people will be developed and evaluated, after receiving significant Healthway funding.


    Health Minister John Day said the $382,249 health promotion research grant to Curtin University would allow trialling of the Building Bridges project.


    "Working with Headspace Midland, Youth Focus and Youth Mental Health Services, Building Bridges will use traditional Aboriginal cultural methods, engaging elders in targeted yarning and storytelling workshops with young people," Mr Day said.


    "Young Aboriginal people will have direct input into the design, development and implementation of solutions that are appropriate for them and can be delivered by existing youth mental health services."


    Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell said the project was exciting and innovative, and would help extend the skills of existing service providers to make delivery more culturally appropriate.


    "Aboriginal young people, in particular, are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health problems and losing their life to suicide," Ms Mitchell said.


    "To help drive positive change, it is crucial they be encouraged to contribute to the solutions, through direct input into treatment programs.


    "It is also important to promote help-seeking behaviours by connecting Aboriginal youth with available services."


    Dr Michael Wright, from the Curtin-based National Drug Research Institute will lead the research, along with Dr Ashleigh Lin and Glenn Pearson from the Telethon Kids Institute.


    "The Building Bridges project aims for better health outcomes for Aboriginal youth by encouraging them to seek help sooner," Mr Day said.


    "Research shows early access to mental health services and culturally safe interventions help guarantee better health outcomes.


    "Aboriginal elders will partner with young people and staff from Youth Mental Health Services to co-design, implement and measure culturally tailored mental health intervention."


    Fact File

    • Building Bridges will utilise the Minditj Kaart-Moorditj Kaart ('Sick Head to Good Head') Engagement Framework, co-developed by Noongar elders and services during the Looking Forward Project (2011-15)
    • In 2015-16, Healthway provided $1.4 million for health promotion research projects 

    Health Minister's office - 6552 6200

    Mental Health Minister's office - 6552 5400


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