Prevention – Programs and Services

///Prevention – Programs and Services
Prevention – Programs and Services2019-04-15T07:00:21+00:00

Alive and Kicking Goals! Peer-led Approach (Broome, WA)

Alive and Kicking Goals is an Indigenous-led program to prevent youth suicide through the use of football and peer education, one-on-one mentoring, and counselling in the Kimberley.

Contact:
Kevin McKenzie – Phone: 08 9193 5904/Email: kevin@aliveandkicking.org.au

Alive & Kicking Goals (AKG) is a program designed to respond to local needs and interests and to effectively engage young people. It takes a strengths-based approach focusing on enhancing protective factors by working to dismantle stigma, open a discourse around depression and suicidality, and encourage positive help-seeking among young people.

AKG is a unique community-based, community developed and community-driven as well as community and peer-led suicide awareness and prevention program grounded in continual learning. AKG was developed in response to high rates of suicide experienced among young people in the Kimberley; and as a way for the community to begin working towards more effective prevention and better understanding of protection. AKG is centred on enhancing the capacity, confidence, competence and esteem of community members through peer education within the frames of suicide awareness and prevention. AKG operates under the Men’s Outreach Services Inc. which is also based in Broome, and conducts workshops in 10 Indigenous communities across the Kimberley region. These communities are: Broome (the base), Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Looma, Bidyadanga, Beagle Bay, Djarindjin Community, One Arm Point and Lombadina.

AKG is focused on enhancing protective factors within several West Kimberley communities by working to dismantle stigma, open a discourse around depression and suicidality, and encourage positive help-seeking.  Represented by the Project Mentor (PM), Peer Educators (PEs) and the Steering Committee, rather than focusing on risk factors and models of vulnerability, AKG teaches its participants that dreams are possible through hard work, focus and passion. According to the Evaluation Report essentially, the youth sub-committee were being trained to be gatekeepers; however, the PE role takes this further and deeper. The PE role incorporates greater teaching, self-care and dynamic aspects where the workshops can change, and discussions will be different, in each situation. In this way, the opportunities to learn, reflect and grow is unlimited and, in combination with the CPAR approach to the evaluation, allows for AKG to learn from challenges and work through obstacles.

The initial mode of delivery was developed through utilising the Broome Saints Football Club (BSFC). BSFG has an extremely high standing in the community, and is predominantly an Aboriginal football club established in 1960. Those involved would learn healthful coping strategies, as well as help-seeking behaviours for themselves and others. A safe space was provided where the young people were able to discuss sensitive topics of importance to them.

The program aims to prevent Indigenous youth suicide through the use of football and peer education. Volunteer youth leaders, who are well-respected sportsmen, undertake training to become peer educators. They educate young people in communities about suicide prevention and lifestyle, and demonstrate that seeking help is not a sign of weakness. At the conclusion of the pilot, 16 young men had become peer educators (Tighe & McKay 2012). AKG was born from weekly meetings after training where the Project Mentor (PM) would train the youth subcommittee in leadership skills, and suicide awareness and prevention. These mini-workshops were created to be holistic and looked at both protective and risk factors involved in Aboriginal suicidality. Those involved would learn healthful coping strategies, as well as help-seeking behaviours for themselves and others. A safe space was provided where the young people were able to discuss sensitive topics of importance to them.
Originally meeting every week after training, and conducted by the Project Mentor (PM), the youth sub-committee of young Aboriginal football players was initially trained in leadership skills and suicide awareness and prevention. These mini-workshops purposefully took on a holistic approach so as to best cover both risk and protective factors connected to Aboriginal suicidality. The youth subcommittee were also taught about healthy coping strategies and help-seeking for both themselves and others. These learnings and values have continued on into the present AKG workshops. The young men from the youth sub-committee have since become either PEs or remained on the Steering Committee. At the end of 2012 there were four full-time PEs; three young men and one young woman.

• The content and implementation of the AKG DVD and workshop were found to be relevant and appropriate within the Kimberley context. Many of the participants reported that the narrators of the DVD were telling stories that they could relate to and see themselves making the teachings contained in the DVD more tangible and relevant for the participants.

• The DVD and workshop were well received by the participants with the use of local narrators and content specific to each of the communities involved is of particular importance.

• Almost 45% of the pre and post-workshop survey participants acknowledged a positive change in attitude towards talking about suicide, their feelings, and help-seeking. In the focus group for participants aged 16+, participants who attended the workshop and watched the DVD provided confident and detailed answers about how to deal with a person with suicidal ideation when compared with those who had not attended a workshop.

• A key factor is that the program is community-based, and is a suicide prevention initiative embedded within the contexts in which it is working.

• The space is which meetings took place was safe so members were able to discuss issues close to their own hearts.

• The young men from the youth sub-committee have since become either PEs or remained on the Steering Committee. At the end of 2012 there were four full-time PEs; three young men and one young woman.

In total, 449 people completed at least part of the pre-/post-workshop surveys with 255 (56.8%) completing both entirely. According to the pre/post-workshop surveys, the vast majority of the participants rated that DVD and workshop positively. While struggling with literacy, all participants noted positive changes occurred for the questions to varying degrees indicating the DVD’s impact on attitudes and knowledge. Many participants had some kind of experience with suicide.

An evaluation of AKG conducted by Tighe and Mackay was commenced in November 2010 until 2012. Given time constraints, it was decided that a process and impact evaluation using an ongoing participatory action research evaluation collecting largely qualitative methodology would be the most effective and feasible; and offer a rigorous and translatable evaluation.

All AKG workshop participants during the collection timeframe were invited to participate in the study. Currently, AKG run two types of workshops: one for those aged 16+ years, and those aged between 10-15 years. For the 16+ year group both pre and post-workshop surveys were taken, as well as a focus group. The focus group was also open to participants who had not attended an AKG workshop. For the participants aged 10-15 years, they were invited to attend a focus group at school after the workshop.

In addition to this, principals and teachers of the school were also invited to participate in a survey to express their perceptions of the AKG workshops, their communities and schools. By utilising a combination of surveys and focus groups with varied participants, a greater contextual understanding was obtained.

Evaluation Participants

The various evaluation tools showed that both the process and impacts of AKG are positive. The process evaluation covered an analysis of the appropriateness of AKG’s content and implementation within a Kimberley context, and the impact evaluation looked at participant measured change in attitude and knowledge about suicide after the workshop.

Evaluation Findings

Altogether 449 people completed at least part of the pre-/post-workshop surveys with 255 (56.8%) completing both entirely. According to the pre-/post-workshop surveys, the vast majority of the participants rated that DVD and workshop positively. While struggling with literacy, all participants noted positive changes occurred for the questions to varying degrees indicating the DVD’s impact on attitudes and knowledge. Many participants had some kind of experience with suicide.

Two significant findings emerged from the evaluation:

  • First, the way in which some participants constructed their responses around the recognition of someone who was feeling down or depressed; there was more a sense of physicality as to how a person looked (face and body) and their physical and emotional isolation away from family and community..
  • Second, some participants were shouldering the responsibility of saving people’s lives when, sometimes, a suicide may not be able to be prevented. People who take on supporting roles need to know that a suicide death is not their fault; they need to know that suicide prevention is a shared effort, not an individual one. When care-givers do not take care of themselves, they put themselves at risk of burnout, and worse. While well-intentioned, these participants need to take care of their own wellbeing.

Critical factors underpinning the effectiveness of the program

The evaluation identified the following critical factors to the success of the program:

  • The content and implementation of the AKG DVD and workshop are relevant and appropriate within the Kimberley context. Many of the participants reported that the narrators of the DVD were telling stories that they could relate to and see themselves making the teachings contained in the DVD more tangible and relevant for the participants.
  • The DVD and workshop were well received by the participants with the use of local narrators and content specific to each of the communities involved is of particular importance.
  • Almost 45% of the pre and post-workshop survey participants acknowledged a positive change in attitude towards talking about suicide, their feelings, and help-seeking. In the focus group for participants aged 16+, participants who attended the workshop and watched the DVD provided confident and detailed answers about how to deal with a person with suicidal ideation (tendencies?) when compared with those who had not attended a workshop.
  • A key factor is that the program is community-based, and is a suicide prevention initiative embedded within the contexts in which it is working.
    The space is which meetings took place was safe so members were able to discuss issues close to their own hearts.

AKG was rated as promising evidence of effectiveness and practice. It is a program designed to respond to local needs and interests and to effectively engage young people. It takes a strengths based approach focusing on enhancing protective factors by working to dismantle stigma, open a discourse around depression and suicidality, and encourage positive help-seeking among young people.

The Yiriman Project: Connection to Country (Kimberley, WA)

A community cultural connectedness program to assist young people to reduce risk-taking and self-harm behaviours and gain meaningful employment

Contact:
Jen Klewitz
Women’s Project Coordinator
Mobile: 0439 648 020
yirimanwomen@westnet.com.au

Scott Herring
Men’s Project Coordinator
Mobile: 0428 764 269
yiriman@westnet.com.au

The Yiriman Project – Kimberley WA – Connection to Country

The Yiriman Project was initiated by Aboriginal elders in the West Kimberley in 1997 with aim of taking young people on country to help them develop a sense of their cultural heritage, which builds self-esteem and identities and prevents suicides. It started from a deep concern by Aboriginal elders who wanted to address the number of young people engaging with antisocial problems such as self-harm with drugs and alcohol, infringement of the law and a high risk of suicides among young people. The elders followed long established traditions in setting up an organisation that would take young people, elders and other community members on trips to country to hunt and collect food, meet others, interact with elders, take care of country and walk as a way to learn stories, become healthy, build their skills and respect traditions.

The project began in in Jarlmadangah Burru Aboriginal Community, approximately 100 kilometres south east of Derby, WA and has continued to operate under the clear direction of senior people. Yiriman is an intergenerational, ‘on-country’ cultural program, conceived and developed directly by Elders from 4 Kimberley language groups: Nyikina; Mangala; Karajarri; and Walmajarri who comprise the 4 cultural blocks in the West Kimberley region. Occasionally Yiriman is involved in supporting similar projects in the north and East Kimberley. Yiriman is auspiced by the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre (KALAAC) which is the principal organisation for the maintenance of customary law and life in the region.

The Yiriman Project’s key aim is to ‘build stories in young people’ and keep them alive and healthy by reacquainting them with ‘country’. These four groups have similar cultural, geographical, language and kinship ties across a vast region of traditional lands stretching from the coastline south of Broome, inland to the desert areas south and just east of Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley in the far north of Western Australia.

The Yiriman Project consists of hosting ‘back-to-country trips’ where young people, elders, other community members and stakeholder groups are brought together. Stakeholder groups include land care workers, educationalists, health practitioners, researchers and government officials. The Yiriman model provides young people with opportunities to participate more fully in community events and in life, but also provides inclusion in a range of other events, such as:

  • land care
  • cultural education
  • fire management
  • science and economic development
  • health care and education
  • tourism
  • training for employment
  • language regeneration

Yiriman trips vary in length, with some lasting only a couple of days to others which take a couple of weeks depending on the destination, the work done, and the time of the year. Programs focusing on youth caring for country last a little over a month to offer longer diversion programs for youths, especially young boys, to remove themselves from negative influences such as alcohol, drugs and crime. Picture book reports are regularly produced to show what has happened on trips using digital images, language, direct quotes and limited text. These picture books are also a way of publicising the Yiriman projects.

The evaluation identified the following critical factors to the success of the program:

  • The significance of reconnecting young people to country, traditional lore and custom, extended family groupings and the Elders.
  • The considerable intergenerational contact between children, young people, parents and senior people. While on trips, young people in company with the adults, particularly elders, participate in hunting expeditions; are taught language by the old people; sit around the camp hearing stories of the past; look after those who are less physically able by setting up camp and collecting firewood; take care of younger children and work on other practical projects with members of their community while learning about and maintaining culture. The project’s engagement with these activities extends young people’s contacts with other generations and groups, which strengthens the connection that the young people have to their society.
  • The experience of walking on country allows young people to get out of the towns and expose them to a different environment. Once there, they are provided with the opportunity to reconnect with their elders, Aboriginal culture and the land of their family ancestry. It is also a way in which young people’s attention can be diverted away from alcohol and drugs, antisocial activities and general unhealthy lifestyle choices and behaviour. For the duration of the trips young people consume healthy food, are free of alcohol and other drugs, live without violence, enjoy themselves, spend time with knowledgeable and respected members of their community and take on new and exciting roles. Through this, they grow a stronger sense of resilience and an enhanced capacity to overcome adversity and trauma as their identity and knowledge of their culture is increased.
  • Land care is another important element and function of the Yiriman Project’s “back-to-country” trips. Some of the initiatives run by the Yiriman Project have included the formation of a number of fire teams (in conjunction with the Kimberley Fire Project), a Ranger team and work with the Australian Quarantine Service. Also, initiatives from Yiriman have carried out fisheries research and supported various native title bodies.
  • Training and education opportunities are interwoven into many of the trips. An example is the work done with trainers and young people learning various traditional and modern methods of burning, some have learned to take bloods and carry out post-mortems for quarantine testing, use machinery for land care purposes, operate digital machinery to record research, build their literacy and numeracy levels, learn about health management and first aid, make films and other production work and create project reports using multimedia and public presentation software.
  • The Community Psychologist is required to go through intensive cultural induction. They are also required to meet with the cultural bosses and attend at least 2 Yiriman programs in the first year of their work. The Community Psychologist’s activities are also culturally assessed annually by cultural bosses and Yiriman staff.
  • Many clinical and medical practitioners also attend Yiriman trips to translate understanding from the trip into practices. This creates a more culturally comprehensive delivery of health care.
  • The training of the staff also needs to involve cultural induction. The staff members need to have an annual professional development plan to demonstrate cultural appropriateness. A network of cultural interpreters are employed to guide staff on what is culturally appropriate. It is very important that the staff should be well-aware of the cultural context of the local area.
  • Careful records are kept of the organisation to facilitate evaluation of the project. This includes record of the travel and community engagements by the Fitzroy Crossing Community Psychologist, the cultural bosses involved in recruitment of staff, areas and kilometres travelled by staff, leaves taken by staff and staff professional development.

To be provided

The Yirriman Project builds strengths and capacity in Aboriginal communities and resilience in individuals and families. Specifically, it promotes the communities to have the capacity to initiate, plan, lead and sustain strategies to promote community awareness and to develop and implement community suicide prevention plans. It also provides materials and resources appropriate for the needs of Aboriginal peoples in diverse community settings. The project also identifies high levels of suicide and self-harm in communities and facilitate a planned response. They also provide culturally appropriate community activities that engage youth, build cultural strengths, leadership, life skills and social competencies through the on-country trips, resulting in life promotion and resilience-building. The activity is also founded on long-term, sustainable prevention strategies that build resilience and promote social and emotional wellbeing are specifically developed for Aboriginal families and children.

The Yiriman Project was rated very highly as strong evidence of effectiveness and best practice. The Yiriman Project is recognised as being national best practice of a ‘back to country’ program for Aboriginal youth living in remote communities – it has been recognised as such by Reconciliation Australia, the Productivity Commission, and National Mental Health Commission and was recommended as part of the recent Coroner’s Report . It has undergone a robust evaluation identifying the rigour and effectiveness of the program for its context, with validated and culturally responsive and strength based methodologies underpinning its approach to suicide prevention. It takes an upstream, strength based approach to addressing many of the risk factors for youth suicide and regards the role of connection to country, culture and law as critical for the youth of the regions in which it operates.

Warra-Warra Kanyi – Mt Theo Program: A Cultural and Clinical Approach (Warlpiri, NT)

A comprehensive program of youth development and leadership, diversion, respite, rehabilitation, and aftercare throughout the Warlpiri region.

Contact:
Phone: 08-8956 4188/Email: General Enquiries admin@wydac.org.au

Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation (WYDAC) Warra-Warra Kanyi (WWK) is a counselling and mentoring service that combines formal, tertiary counselling skills with a local Warlpiri approach and methodology to target high-risk behaviours in Warlpiri people aged approximately 12-25 in Yuendumu community. It works with numbers of young Warlpiri people on a variety of personal risk issues, most notably relationship issues, family violence, substance misuse (alcohol and cannabis) and suicidal and/or self-harming behaviour. The WWK team is uniquely comprised of four important parts: the WWK Coordinator/Counsellor, the WWK Youth Mentor, a team of Jaru Pirrjirdi Trainee Mentors, and the WWK Senior Cultural Advisor.

The Mt Theo Program (WYDAC) was started in 1993, by elders from Yuendumu community in the Warlpiri region of Central Australia. The Program achieved unprecedented success in successfully ending chronic petrol sniffing in Yuendumu, through a dual focus. The first step was the consistent removal of any petrol sniffers to the remote Mt Theo Outstation for 1-2 months of cultural respite and rehabilitation under the care of Warlpiri elders. The second step was creating a 7 day/night youth diversionary service in Yuendumu filled with sports, art, bush trips and discos to keep Warlpiri youth entertained and engaged. In 2002 the program expanded, with the Outstation broadening beyond petrol sniffing to other substance abuse, or indeed any youth at risk issues. Similarly in 2003 there was a deepening of the basic youth program beyond an ‘entertainment’ and diversion focus. The Jaru Pirrjirdi (Strong Voices) project continued the youth diversion activities but also built a more comprehensive youth development program incorporating education, training, cultural activities, mentoring, leadership and career pathways. This project seeks to create meaningful and positive futures for Yuendumu youth aged 16-25.

The success of the Jaru Pirrjirdi project in Yuendumu resonated loudly in other Warlpiri communities. At the express invitation of these communities, youth diversionary programs were begun in Willowra (2005), Nyirrpi (2008) and Lajamanu (2009). Similar to the growth of the Yuendumu youth program these services are growing from an initial solid diversionary base to broader, more comprehensive youth development programs including training, education, employment and leadership outcomes as well as crisis response, education, group project work and bush trips.

In 2008 Mt Theo Program client services were augmented by the creation of the Warra-Warra Kanyi (WWK) Counselling and Mentoring service in Yuendumu. Senior Jaru Pirrjirdi members were employed as WWK youth mentors to work with a WWK Counsellor to target critical youth issues. The WWK team engage with youth issues such as alcohol or other substance abuse, sexual health, relationship breakdown, domestic violence, depression and grief and suicidal behaviours,.

The Warra-Warra Kanyi (WWK) Project is comprised of five main elements:

  • Prevention and Education;
  • Early Intervention;
  • Peer Mentoring and Counselling;
  • Community and Family Engagement; and
  • Re-engagement with the youth development project.

The key objectives of the Jaru Pirrjirdi Suicide Prevention Project – Mt Theo Program are to:
• decrease the incidence of suicide attempts by building resilience to protect against suicidal ideation and other self-harming behaviours;
• strengthen the Jaru Pirrjirdi structure as part of a systemic and culturally appropriate solution to underlying issues;
• develop a pool of strong trained, confident young mentors who are able to deal with underlying issues of suicidal ideation and other harmful behaviours; and,
• graduate Jaru Pirrjirdi members into employment and positions of strategic power in the community (Saggers & Stearne 2010).

Critical factors identified as promising practice

There are a number of critical factors to this program that supports it as evidence of promising practice.

A permanent, locally-based qualified counsellor.

The provision of therapeutic services from a counsellor with tertiary qualifications is critical to the success of the project in fundamental client care processes, including the development of client care plans, identifying and implementing coping strategies, identifying and accessing sources of support, monitoring and managing risk, and exploring the deeper causes and triggers for the issues in a young person’s life. An important aspect has been the ability to appoint someone with significant time and relevant experience in the community as well as professional skill, and longevity of community relationships.

Employment of local youth WWK Youth Mentors.

These are Young Warlpiri people who have demonstrated particular strength, skill and capacity at caring for their at-risk peers. The WWK Youth Mentor position works very closely with and reports to the WWK Counsellor, who in turn supports the development of, and provides professional supervision to, the Youth Mentor. The WWK Youth Mentor is an active collaborator in the care of appropriate clients (with primary care responsibilities remaining with the WWK Counsellor). Youth mentors will often have genuine, direct, honest and insightful advice on preventative behaviours, coping strategies and positive pathways.

Peer mentoring system.

Peer status is particularly powerful and important in Warlpiri youth culture. Through kinship and ceremonial systems, Warlpiri youths have formal obligations and responsibilities of care and protection towards certain other youths. Each person is in a particular relationship with each other and there is an appropriate peer to provide validated and skilful support. The exact same kind of support may not be accepted from a different peer (or indeed older person, or other mental health professional) simply because they are not the trusted or appropriate person to deliver this support. The WWK mentoring system is thus an attempt to further support and employ traditional and functional care systems.

Employment of Trainee Mentors.

Trainee Mentors are a group of young people who are currently active in the Jaru Pirrjirdi youth development project, and who have demonstrated a clear interest and capacity for helping at-risk peers. They are casually employed, operate under the close supervision of the WWK Counsellor (and, where appropriate, the WWK Youth Mentor) and are ‘matched’ with suitable clients according to important local and cultural factors such as gender, family group and skin name. This not only ensures that Trainee Mentors are in very frequent contact with their at-risk peers, but importantly that they are well-placed and appropriate people to work with young people involved in WWK. There is a particular reliance and use of the Trainee Mentors as a unique ‘early warning’ or risk-identification system. At high risk times, such as late at night or when substance misuse is a factor in a situation, the only other people present are peers. In these situations, the Trainee Mentors represent the crucial link between a developing crisis, and professional assistance. Usually, Jaru Pirrjirdi Trainee Mentors have struggled with and successfully resolved issues in their own lives which are similar to those faced by youth in crisis; hence, their mentorship is particularly relevant, effective and appropriate.

24 hour on call service, seven days a week.

The Counsellor is expected to be available to community members at all times, day or night, weekends, and public holidays (with clear on-call protocols covered by other appropriate WYDAC staff members during periods of annual leave).

Addressing suicidal behaviour by working to address cannabis misuse.

This is a significant underlying factor in suicide risk for Warlpiri young people. This aspect of the program utilises the Mt Theo Outstation. The physical place Mt Theo (Puturlu) has enormous significance as a cultural site among Warlpiri people, containing powerful Jukurrpa (Dreaming) sites and stories. Any young person who is misusing cannabis can have the opportunity to undergo cultural rehabilitation and a period of detoxification supported by experienced Warlpiri carers at Mt Theo. This works to assist young Warlpiri people to deal with their cannabis misuse, through respite from the pressures, demands and temptations of community life. Mt Theo fosters a strong link with Warlpiri culture and with all the inherent benefits embedded in that culture for at-risk Warlpiri youth. It is a place where strong, positive, healthy Warlpiri identity is forged, promoted, practiced and imparted.

Appropriate Counselling and mentoring.

These services take place appropriate people, in an appropriate setting (in the bush and out of community) and during an appropriate activity (for example, whilst hunting or whilst sitting together for 1-2 hours and waiting for the kangaroo to cook). Weekly young men’s mentoring trips, for example, are a regular event that involves the WWK Youth Mentor, Jaru Pirrjirdi Trainee Mentors and a group of at-risk young men with whom the team are currently working and who go out bush and hunting.

Inclusion of Elders of the Warlpiri community.

Elders are involved as support persons and through the role of Senior Cultural Advisors who acts as a cultural supervisor and advisor, particularly for the non-Warlpiri staff of Warra-Warra Kanyi (and more broadly, other WYDAC and external agency staff). The WWK Senior Cultural Advisor also plays an important outreach and support role to the Mt Theo Outstation and to other Warlpiri communities requesting support. Finally, the WWK Senior Cultural Advisor plays an important supervisory role in the development of culturally relevant Warlpiri mentoring and counselling resources.

Deep understanding of the critical and heightened risk periods for the community.

Over many long years of experience and communication with the community at Yuendumu, the WWK team is able to identify critical periods or situations when a risk situation is likely to develop. This predictive knowledge is crucial in developing an understanding of a ‘local calendar’ which will enable the specific targeting and preparation for particularly high risk nights, weeks or times of year. This allows useful preparation of staff, of resources, and early preventive work with families and peers and external agencies such as the police.

The incorporation of both clinical and cultural components.

The WWK is both a clinical and cultural program that provides extensive and appropriate wrap-around services and rapid, consistent, accessible, local and informed crisis response to address suicide attempts, and preventing attempts from becoming completed suicides. The WWK is a culturally safe and accepted source of support for young people who have experienced suicidal thoughts, impulses, threats or attempts over a sustained period. It also deals with the issues underlying these problems and moves young people forward towards a positive and meaningful future pathway.

Comprehensive – encompasses diversion, development, leadership and rehabilitation

The program has grown significantly since its grass-roots inception into a comprehensive program of youth diversion, development, leadership and rehabilitation throughout the Warlpiri region. Most critically Warlpiri people themselves created the program, and its ownership, design and growth remain under the control of the governing committee of Warlpiri people.

Responsive, local and informed people available in the community on a permanent basis.

This program demonstrates that one of the critical factors in preventing and responding to suicidal behaviours is having responsive, local and informed people available in the community on a permanent basis. It is equally important that this team comprise people with local knowledge and people with qualified experience. The program also places emphasis on the ability of families and the community to recognise suicide risk and respond to it and communicate their concerns as early as possible.

Independent review of Yuendumu Youth Development Program (Jaru Pirrjirdi) by Sherry Saggers and Anna Stearne from Curtin University
a. Entire reports are available upon request. The conclusion of the 2007 report appears below:
b. “The Jaru Pirrjirdi Project is a shining light for the FYA [Foundation for Young Australians] venture philanthropy funding model. A small amount of money, given with relatively few strings attached, but with frequent visits and support by FYA staff, is helping to support a broad-based community strategy with young people at the centre – as leaders and participants in events and activities determined and run by them, in collaboration with their non- Indigenous coordinators. Just as FYA tries to model collaborative Indigenous and non-Indigenous partnerships as they support the Youth Futures projects, Jaru Pirrjirdi shows Yapa and Kardiya working together – valuing each others’ knowledge and experience, working out who works best in each situation, but also allowing people to develop new knowledge and skills”.
c. “As with all Indigenous communities, young people at Yuendumu face formidable challenges – structural disadvantages of relative poverty, lack of appropriate education and training opportunities (most have very poor literacy in English), very poor health with premature mortality, and chronic substance misuse which can frequently lead to self-harm or death. They are meeting these challenges at many levels – working with community Elders to embed Warlpiri language and culture at the heart of all Yuendumu life and to inform them what they think, as young people, of the community’s directions; working with Kardiya to plan activities and events that will equip all young people in the community to have a strong sense of themselves as part of the community; and working on their individual life plans – which are very largely tied to becoming positive role models in their own communities”

The Warra-Warra Kanyi (WWK) Project was rated very highly as strong evidence of effectiveness. It demonstrates the importance of a clinical and cultural model as an effective means of supporting and empowering young people. The WWK is both a clinical and cultural program that provides extensive and appropriate wrap-around services and rapid, consistent, accessible, local and informed crisis response to address suicide attempts, and preventing attempts from becoming completed suicides. The WWK is a culturally safe and accepted source of support for young people who have experienced suicidal thoughts, impulses, threats or attempts over a sustained period. It also deals with the issues underlying these problems and moves young people forward towards a positive and meaningful future pathway.
The centrality accorded a strong cultural identity to ensure young peoples’ sense of connection and confidence has proved highly effective in enabling them to move away from cycles of violence, selfharm and suicide, substance misuse, and criminal behaviour towards more positive and meaningful life pathways. The program has grown significantly since its grass-roots inception into a comprehensive program of youth diversion, development, leadership and rehabilitation throughout the Warlpiri region. Most critically Warlpiri people themselves created the program, and its ownership, design and growth remain under the control of the governing committee of Warlpiri people. It is an example of the importance of a team comprised of people with local knowledge and people with qualified experience who are responsive, local and informed and available in the community on a permanent basis. The program also places emphasis on the ability of families and the community to recognise suicide risk and respond to it and communicate their concerns as early as possible. The impacts of the program have been sustained over a long period of time, it supports inclusion and engagement across the community and is underpinned by local governance and community control.

Wesley LifeForce Suicide Prevention Training for Indigenous Community Workers

The Wesley LifeForce Suicide prevention training is a culturally responsive suicide prevention resource and training package with protocols and the curriculum specifically adapted for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community workers.

Contact: Mary McNamara, Training Services Manager
Phone: (02) 9857 2570 /Mobile: 0427 735 423/Email: Mary.McNamara@wesleymission.org.au

The Wesley LifeForce Suicide Prevention Training is an exemplar of an innovative initiative to adapt an existing mainstream suicide prevention program led by highly experienced Aboriginal community consultants using culturally responsive and reciprocal learning processes. In 2014 the Wesley Suicide Prevention Services engaged The Seedling Group to adapt the Wesley LifeForce Community Suicide Prevention Training Program to be culturally responsive for facilitators working with Indigenous peoples and to develop a resource for use by Indigenous community workers. The group consulted with local communities in Halls Creek in The Kimberley, Katherine in the Norther Territory and Thursday Island in the Torres Strait to receive feedback in order to develop a program that would be culturally appropriate for the participants. A key outcome required was the documentation and provision of a program design with content options informed by theory, research and cultural protocols, underpinned by professional practice and documented program logic. The initiative took place over a six months period.

The program has been designed to be adaptable to individual communities rather than ‘one size fits all’. The basis of the program is respectful knowledge sharing rather than facilitator led presentations. Starting in 2015, Wesley LifeForce carried out a series of suicide prevention workshops led by Aboriginal mental health workers. The aim of the workshops is to equip the participants with adequate knowledge about the high incidence of suicide in Australia, especially among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and factors contributing to suicide. More importantly, the trainings improved participants’ confidence in identifying warning signs of suicide and intervening accordingly.

Wesley LifeForce is currently rolling out a Train the Trainer program: The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Training project. This will equip Indigenous community workers to become a suicide prevention resource in their communities and facilitate suicide prevention workshops.

The key aims of the project were to:

  • Develop a culturally responsive training model in development and design, while adapting the existing Suicide Prevention Training program.
  • Develop a resource to encourage the inclusion of collective healing and knowledge exchange, through the development of a training model which is both culturally appropriate and responsive to the individual or collective Indigenous community members attending. Discussions are held as yarning circles to enhance community capacity and engagement, to help increase community strength and resilience.
  • Develop an evaluation framework to evaluate the efficacy of the program in suicide prevention.

The outcomes of the project:

  • Recommendation, protocols and curriculum for a culturally responsive training package were developed to deliver suicide prevention training to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community workers;
  • Feedback was obtained from community members who would receive the training and represent the end user. This enabled cultural diversity to be incorporated into the integrated framework. Indigenous communities all gave their voice to guide the development of the project. Communities participated in the focus groups and also a pilot training program;
  • Community members identified the best people to attend the training and focus groups;
  • The consultants spent time in the community before and after the training and focus groups, to provide further information and exchange of knowledge as part of a reciprocal learning process;
  • Consultations for the adaptation took place in three sites based on the communities’ needs and on the team’s existing connections and relationships with community members on a personal and professional level in Katherine, Northern Territory, Halls Creek, Western Australia and Thursday Island in the Torres Strait;
  • Evaluation of the focus groups and the pilot training were conducted at the end of each session. Certificate of participation in focus groups and training were provided to attendees. Follow-up of participants by the team, or by agreed community members, was carried out following each session; and,
  • Based on the consultations and evaluation follow-up, the Seedling Group research consultants identified the key features considered essential for effective community suicide awareness workshops and training. This included the key elements involved in the facilitation, delivery and evaluation.

Facilitation

  • Relationships built with key community members before introducing the training into the community.
  • A key Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander local training assistant who is a recognised member of the community engaged to recruit community members for the training so that appropriate people are included on invitation lists.
  • Local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander businesses utilised where possible for venue and catering purposes, accommodation and transport within the community.
  • Care needs to be taken to ensure culturally appropriate opening and closing protocols are observed.
  • The trainer and the local Indigenous training assistant review the presentation before the group training to ensure it is acceptable for that community.
  • Group work is encouraged, as it is a cultural way of sharing knowledge and learning. This also allows those less articulate in Standard Australian English or less confident members of the group to be heard and ask questions of peers. Small groups working together offer safety and were requested by focus groups.
  • Housekeeping to include how to proceed if the training is distressing participants in any way. It is likely that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants in this training will have been affected first hand by suicide, so the trainer should be trained to handle these situations during facilitation.

Delivery

  • Spend time on introductions – it is critical when facilitating this training in community. This step is paramount to building trust with participants.
  • Training should be given in a more informal ‘yarning circle’ or ‘round table’ setting.
  • Sharing of knowledge, rather than imparting of knowledge; emphasising reciprocal learning.
  • The opportunity for participants to add cultural content as a part of the training should be allowed and encouraged.
  • In communities where English is the second, third or even the fourth language, an interpreter (e.g. someone in the community) should be engaged to translate the information.
  • Include groups like Police and Community Youth Centres who have a strong relationships with some homeless groups in a number of communities.
  • Pre-training evaluations and post-training evaluations carried out to measure effectiveness for different population groups.
  • Using the qualitative evaluation process of “most significant change” to see how this training influences changes over time.

Evaluation Findings
The key findings from this process provide important insights into the design and delivery of any program and service.

  • The project was planned with the concepts of community capacity building, community engagement and culturally acceptable knowledge sharing protocol as its core features.
  • The project was planned to include full and fair participation of and input from the community members. This is considered not only an ethical and moral research practice, but a basic human rights practice.
  • The critical importance of developing a resource that is very different from just an adaptation of an existing program. The developed program incorporates existing knowledge from the old program, however it is grounded in collective healing knowledge and a reciprocal learning focus. It is intended to improve the range and quality of suicide prevention knowledge skills and training material and programs available to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
  • The reciprocal learning within the training model enables the training to be effective in any A problem with other training packages is the lack of interaction and ability for each community to raise their community needs and direct the knowledge transfer to best suit their needs. The inclusion of a community co-facilitator, adds strength to the reciprocal learning for the community, as well as offering a small strategy of “continued or after care” response to knowledge to support the participants and community members following the training. It is also a critical step in building sustainable relationships with service providers like the Wesley Mission and community members. It is also a real example of culturally responsive reciprocal practice.
  • Through the pre and post workshop evaluations, there was a strong increase in participants’ knowledge regarding the incidence of suicide in Australia and factors contributing to suicide. The participants also demonstrated an improved ability to identify suicidal behaviours, communicate with a suicidal person, and conduct a suicide intervention. This provides evidence for the training’s capacity to improve people’s competence in addressing suicide in their community. Its aim is not only to increase awareness around suicide in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities but also increase participants’ confidence in suicide intervention.

The Wesley LifeForce training adapted model strengths and capacity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and resilience in individuals and families. Specifically, it promotes the communities to have the capacity to initiate, plan, lead and sustain strategies to promote community awareness and to develop and implement community suicide prevention plans. It also provides materials and resources appropriate for the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in diverse community settings. The training program also improve suicide awareness among “gatekeepers” and “natural helpers” in communities affected by self-harm and suicide.

The evaluative assessment is based on several in-depth interviews and email correspondence with the two Indigenous practitioners involved in adapting the training program. Although the community training program specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders community workers was only recently launched in 2015, the program was developed on the basis of informed community perspectives. Many of the people who participated in the consultation to ensure the Training is culturally responsive were Elders and families with lived experiences who spoke directly to their needs. This is consistent with recommendations in the Suicide Prevention Australia position (2010) and The Fifth National Plan. There is considerable evidence that confirms that community-led, grass roots suicide prevention practices are more successful in reducing trauma and death than programs designed and implemented by external agencies. Therefore the need for training specific to Indigenous communities is critical (Silburn et al., 2014). This adapted program includes elements that have been identified in both the national and international research in Indigenous suicide and the Strategy as essential for effective practice (Culture is Life 2014).

It is rated as promising evidence of effectiveness and practice. The inclusion of Indigenous community consultants in suicide prevention training and the inclusion of a ‘continuity care’ strategy and partnership increase the ability of Wesley LifeForce suicide prevention service which is rolled out nationally to provide effective culturally responsive practice providing all of the identified elements identified and reported by Kelleigh and Tujagu (2015) are implemented in all Indigenous community suicide prevention training.

In the future they could hit

  • 1 Governments, agencies and services work together to improve completeness and accuracy of data collection, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identification and access to appropriate methods, measures and standards for reporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide and self-harm
    • They’re consulting PHN and VACCHO (and Roz)
  • 3  Programs are evaluated and there is quality support for program implementation

Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid (AMHFA)

AMHFA is a national training program on assisting an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander adult with a mental health problem or crisis until the person can obtain professional help is received or the crisis has resolved. The course is offered regularly across Australia.

Contact:
General Enquiries: 03 9079 0208/ Email: mhfa@mhfa.com.au

The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is informed by the strategic guidance from a similar Canadian First Nations MHFA Course. The evaluations in Canada reported participants experiencing gains in knowledge, self-efficacy and skills and decreased stigma beliefs. To make the program appropriate for Indigenous communities in Australia, the MHFA is modified, resulting in the Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid (AMHFA).

The Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid (AMHFA) training has been shown to be effective in developing knowledge about symptoms and behaviours linked with help-seeking. It is adapted from the Mental Health First Aid program through cultural sensitivity training and expert reference groups, involving stakeholders and local community members to provide comments on the prosed AMHFA program.

This program appears to be well organised, comprehensive and provides a sound cultural adaptation of a more general program in order to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may be experiencing psychological distress. Between 2007 and 2008, 199 Aboriginal Instructors were trained through one of the 17 five-day Instructor Training Courses, held around Australia. Since then, over 600 Indigenous people have become Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Instructors, with 200 Indigenous people currently active as Accredited MHFA Instructors. Since launching in 2007, a revised 14-hour AMHFA course has been run approximately 2700 times across all states and territories to over 50,000 members of the community.

The AMHFA Program also constantly consult Indigenous communities and update its programs to achieve its overall vision of a community where everyone has the first aid skills to support people with mental health problems and overall mission of providing high quality, evidence-based mental health first aid education to everyone.

These courses have been informed by a range of Delphi consensus studies drawing on the expertise of Indigenous people with lived or professional experiences across Australia. Through these consultations, the 14-hour AMHFA Course is now in its third edition. Additional programs have also been developed to supplement the 14-hour Course.

  • A 4-hour refresher course for Accredited MHFAiders who have completed the 14-hour AMHFA Course to refresh their knowledge and skills 3 years after completing their training.
  • A 5-hour ‘Talking About Suicide’ course which focuses on teaching skills on how to provide mental health first aid to an Aboriginal person experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviours (launching in August 2018).
  • A 5-hour ‘Talking About Gambling’ course which focuses on teaching skills on how to provide mental health first aid to an Aboriginal person experiencing gambling problems (launching in September 2018)
  • A 5-hour ‘Talking About Non-suicidal Self-injury’ course which focuses on teaching skills on how to provide mental health first aid to an Aboriginal person engaging in non-suicidal self-injury (launching in December 2018)
  • A Youth Aboriginal MHFA course which focuses on teaching adults how to provide mental health first aid to an Aboriginal adolescent.

AMHFA builds strengths and capacity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, especially through providing materials and resources that are appropriate for the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in diverse community settings. It also offers access to community-based programs to improve suicide awareness among “gatekeepers” and “natural helpers” in communities affected by self-harm and suicide through contextualised delivery of programs to people in the community. It also builds strength and resilience in individuals and families through culturally appropriate, life-promoting, resilience-building and Ssustainable strategies that are tailored specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The program focuses on developing knowledge about symptoms and behaviours linked with help seeking by Indigenous people experiencing mental illness, as well as increasing individual and community understanding of suicide prevention. AMHFA was rated very highly as strong evidence of effectiveness and best practice.

It is evident from the feedback from the informational survey and the literature that the AMHFA training program is a particularly valuable type of initiative to build community capacity. The program aligns with community consultations regarding the need to enable people to talk and share with one another and build social connectedness. Concurrent action to address stigma and create safe community environments to achieve the former is also consistently identified by communities. There was strong support from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents with 63.83 percent of the respondents finding the program increased knowledge and skills (click here).

  • Trained Instructors were more likely to run AMHFA courses if they had previous experience with teaching and were provided with follow-up support from one of the Trainers of Instructors.
  • Analysis of the qualitative data showed the both the Instructor Training Course and the AMHFA course are ‘culturally appropriate, empowering for Aboriginal people, and provided information that was seen as highly relevant and important in assisting Aboriginal people with a mental illness’ (Kanowski 2009, p.1).
  • Need for future courses to refine the structure and content which have been implemented, such as completing a 14-hour AMHFA course before Instructor Training, and increasing the Instructor training over more days to help with the uptake of information and greater understanding of how to run the AMHFA course.
  • The majority of participants have found the content and training approach culturally appropriate although the need for teaching resources to be suitable for course participants with limited standard English literacy, and for hands-on learners. Ways to address this include: having a pictorial flip-chart, more DVDs involving Aboriginal people, and greater use of role playing. Post-training support was suggested for Instructors to strengthen their confidence to run an AMHFA course; along with opportunities for debriefing sessions and accessing advice for particular issues that may arise during course delivery.
  • Program attendance led to an improvement in the recognition of mental disorders, confidence in the value of treatment (to be more like those of health professionals), decreased social distance from people with mental disorders, increased confidence in providing help, and an increase in the amount of help provided to others (Day & Francisco 2013, p.352).
  • Confidence in intervention is sustained up to 6 months after program completion (Day & Francisco 2013)

An evaluation framework to inform and guide the implementation of the program was established at the commencement of AMHFA, in 2007. The evaluation report by Kanowski (2009) outlines an initial evaluation of the AMHFA course, and presents information on its uptake and acceptability as an adaptation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Two types of data were collected: quantitative data around uptake of the course, and; qualitative data on attributes of the course such as strengths, weaknesses and recommendations for the future.

Another evaluation by Day & Francisco (2013)1 reviewed evidence that supports a range of psycho-social interventions implemented to improve social and emotional wellbeing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and communities. Sixteen interventions were reviewed and scored for strength of scientific evidence. AMHFA topped the list as having the strongest evidence in terms of scientific rigour, with a score of 5 out of 5.

The program is constantly evaluated and improved upon through the Delphi consensus method, which was identified as a useful consultation tool for Indigenous peoples gauging culturally appropriate best practice in mental health services. Through the Delphi consensus method, the AMHFA guidelines and culturally appropriate guidelines for providing mental health first aid to an Indigenous person who is experiencing problems with drinking or drug use (e.g. abuse or dependence) have been updated. This process involved 28 Indigenous health experts participating across two independent Delphi studies.

Furthermore, an uncontrolled trial of the latest edition of the 14-hour AMHFA Course and the ‘Talking About Suicide’ course is being planned for the future to ensure their efficacy.

It is evident from the feedback from the information survey and the literature that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid training is a particularly valuable type of initiative to build community capacity. The program aligns with community consultations regarding the need to enable people to talk and share with one another and build social connectedness. Concurrent action to address stigma and create safe community environments to achieve the former are also consistently identified by communities. There was strong support from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents who answered this question 63.83% found the program increased knowledge and skills.

Two further evaluation reports have since been produced along with a set of Aboriginal mental health first aid guidelines and culturally appropriate guidelines for providing mental health first aid to an Indigenous person who is experiencing problems with drinking or drug use (e.g. abuse or dependence). The development of these guidelines utilised the same process with twenty-eight Aboriginal health experts participating across two independent Delphi studies. This methodology facilitated a rigorous process where participants were able to reach consensus regarding guidelines for culturally appropriate mental health first aid. The Delphi consensus method was identified as a useful consultation tool for Indigenous peoples gauging culturally appropriate best practice in mental health services.

Mowanjum – Connection to Culture

The Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Cultural Centre is a creative hub for the Worrorra, Ngarinyin and Wunumbal tribes, who make up the Mowanjum community outside Derby, Western Australia. These three language groups are united by their belief in the Wandjina as a sacred spiritual force and the creators of the land. They are the custodians of Wandjina law and iconography.

http://www.digitalcollections.org.au/case-studies/dolord-mindi-mowanjum-aboriginal-art-and-cultural-centre-western-australia

Contact:
Email:
 sales@mowanjumarts.com

Keeping Place and Media Project and the Junba project commenced in 2012 in the community of Mowanjum WA in response to a cluster of youth suicides. The Elders of the Mowanjum community believed that the learnings and activities that connect young people to culture, country and a strong identity would give them strength and be the source of their happiness and health. Community elders and artists expressed their fears for what they believe to be an inevitable loss of culture knowledge if committed efforts are not made to secure it for future generations. The programs respond to a belief that without culture, Mowanjum youth face losing their identity and elders fear the repercussions that loss will have on their children’s health and wellbeing.

Mowanjum Keeping Place and Media Project

The Mowanjum Keeping Place and Media Project records stories of people and places, language and perspectives for families and language groups living in the region. It delivers an interactive and participatory platform that supports the maintenance of culture and law through the promotion of intergenerational teaching and learning – for current and future generations. Multi-media and digital archives are two of the engagement strategies in the program with digital film and photos and sound utilised to capture storylines, songs, and dance and for young people to interview each other. These tools attract young people to the program and are an effective way in which they choose to engage with culture. The use of cameras also assists young people to overcome shyness. Cultural camps and the making of totems are another activity. Creative materials are produced by community members in collaboration with Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre and other partners for exhibitions, festivals, publications and community initiatives. Digital records of this material and its production is then stored for safekeeping, sharing and teaching.

Junba Project

Junba is a form of storytelling through traditional song and dance. The Junba project increases the number and scope of opportunities for young people to engage with Junba by arranging workshops that team youth with community elders and multimedia specialists.

Culturally, Junba is considered essential for good social and emotional wellbeing, and is a means for young people and families to strengthen intergenerational bonds and connection to country. Junba gatherings on country are arranged in the lead up to the annual Mowanjum Festival. During this time elders, parents and young people practice together. As learning is reinforced through practice and the retelling of stories, cameras are provided to young people so that photographs and moving image recordings can be made. Recordings are used in youth media workshops, as well as stored and shared via Storylines.
The programs’ rationale is to keep culture strong through the engagement of Mowanjum’s young people working closely with Elders to achieve intergenerational knowledge translational and sharing. Training in managing the digital collection addresses community unemployment rates and creates culturally relevant jobs and long-term employment for community members. Employment encourages community participation through meaningful work relating to cultural maintenance.
The Projects give young people the opportunity to engage with the latest multimedia equipment within a meaningful, cultural context.

Provides young people, elders and children a pathway and a future built around a strong cultural identity and sense of belonging to their community. It is developing a repository of cultural knowledge and is developing multimedia skills among the community. The cultural and social fabric of the community has been directly strengthened by the program and the benefits to young people and Elders are recognised by many within the community.
• A team of Trainee Digital Collections Officers have been recruited from the community who are also excellent community liaisons and advocates for the project.
• Increased teaching and learning of Junba between Elders and young people.
• Long term presence of the program in the community, the sustainability of the program and the staff that has resulted in an increased response to the activities and involvement of young people.
• Community have come to value the program and recognise the difference it is making to young people and children.
• Relationships of trust established between the program staff and elders and young people, including those who have been previously disengaged.
• Ensures community ownership and community consultation, engagement and participation of the three language groups in all aspects of the program.
• A completely inclusive approach to anyone wanting to be involved in the program.
• Fostering a sense of pride, identity and leadership among young people who are then acting as important role models to young children in the community. An important outcome has been the eagerness with which young children are wanting to get involved and are aspiring to do the cultural activities and learnings.
• Elders and young people experiencing a number of positive effects from their cultural knowledge exchange.
• Ongoing opportunities for community to be actively involved in the recording of material across different mediums.
• Promotes the planning, implementation and production of local initiatives that can then be stored and preserved for intergenerational teaching and learning.
• Youth are encouraged to actively participate in exhibitions, festivals, bush trips and community initiatives, in diverse creative roles including dancers, artists, photographers and production assistants. Training and production equipment is available for their use on bush trips and in-house at Mowanjum Art Centre.

To be provided

These programs were rated very highly as evidence of promising evidence of effectiveness and practice. They are culturally embedded, responsive, based around a clear program logic, supports Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing and self-determination and pathways for young people.

‘GREATS’ Youth Services (GYS) Maningrida NT

GREATS” Youth Services (GYS) is a core program of Mala’la Health Service and provides an impressive range of programs and services for young people

www.malabam.com.au/services/youth-services

Contact:
Phone
Mel: 0438 921 550/Email: melisango.dube@malala.com.au

‘GREATS’ (Great Recreation, Entertainment, Arts, Training and Sport) youth services, is a core program of the Malabam Health Board Aboriginal Corporation (MHBAC) and provides a range of programs and services for young people aged 10 to 20 years. This service commenced in 2009 and its range of programs and activities have been in response to a serious of suicides, self-harming and petrol sniffing incidents in the community. It is noteworthy that anecdotal evidence suggests there has not been a youth suicide in Maningrida in the last three years.

Programs and services include:
• provides a range of activities encompassing sport, art, on country/cultural based and digital technology
• incorporates the community at all stages of the development of the programs and activities
• ongoing suicide prevention training of youth workers
• a drop-in service at the Youth Centre (up to 75 children and youth attend each day from 6-9 pm)
• youth in crisis safe house
• youth patrol and outreach
• specialist programs and workshops such as sexual health and life skills program, the Strong Young Women’s program “Gin Derta”, and Strong Young Men’s program “Ngarlapul”, which target disengaged and at-risk youth. During the dry season, these programs are often delivered on country with participation of Maningrida elders
• Youth Diversion Program in partnership with Northern Territory Juvenile Justice Department
• “Grog” day safe drop in
• A nightly drop in service
• Back to country cultural engagement trips with elders
• The annual Lúrra Festival
• Specialty workshop with AOD unit, Legal aid & DCF
• School holiday programs (4 times a year)
• Annual National Youth Week celebrations
• Bush camps to remove at risk young people from the community and address their harmful behaviour
• Volatile Substance Abuse workshops on a needs basis
• Suicide intervention on a needs basis
• A bi-annual consultation with the whole of Maningrida to design programming
• Sexual health information and resources readily available after hours

As well as operating a drop-in service at the Youth Centre (Tuesday to Saturday), the youth services staff deliver specialist programs and workshops which target disengaged and at risk Indigenous young people. During the dry season, these programs are often delivered on country with participation of elders. GYS also operates a Youth Diversion Program in partnership with the NT Juvenile Justice Department, and a school holiday program.

The Centre trains and employs staff from across the clan groups and encourages young people from across the clan groups to work, train and participate. It fosters peer support and pathways for young people. Gender specific programs and cultural sensitivity is prominent and promoted when delivering programs. The Centre also includes Elders and Traditional Land owners in specialised workshops and programs. It conducts regular community assessments across the clan groups to ensure the Centre and services are responsive to the needs and concerns of the community.

• Trains and employs only young local people from across the clan groups as youth workers, sexual health officers, youth diversion officers, and peer support workers
• Provides a pathway to training and employment opportunities for young people in the community and mentoring roles for young people with children in the community
• Delivers cross sector case management of children and young people identified at risk
• High level of engagement in activities and services across the community
• Brings different agencies together to plan and coordinate approach to young people
• Ongoing review of suicide planning

To be provided

GREATS youth service was rated very highly as strong evidence of effectiveness and best practice. It is an example of community determined, led and governed programs and approaches to addressing the issues facing its young people.

Contact Us

School of Indigenous Studies, University of Western Australia

39 Fairway, Nedlands, WA 6009.

cbp.clearinghouse@uwa.edu.au 

+61 8 6488 1570

Acknowledgement of Country:

We acknowledge and pay our respects to the traditional custodians of the land we live and work on, the Wadjuk people of the Noongar nation, and their Elders past, present and emerging. We also wish to acknowledge and respect the continuing culture, strength, and resilience of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities as well as our Indigenous members from other parts of the world.

Disclaimer:

“The terms ‘Aboriginal’, ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’ and ‘Indigenous’ are used interchangeably. It is acknowledged that there are many cultural differences between and within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the use of differing terms does not intend to disregard such differences.” © Copyright 2018