Wontulp Bi-Buya College (WBBC) delivers the Indigenous Mental Health (Suicide Prevention) Certificate IV (IMC). The IMC Course has been delivered in six intakes running from 2014 to 2019. It is accredited by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and is approved for ABSTUDY study assistance for Indigenous students (Stephens, 2015). The course is currently undergoing re-accreditation in 2019. From April 2019, the course coordinator is Karen Guivarra.
Development of the course was undertaken by WBBC’s College Course Advisory Committee in partnership with WBBC Trainer and Course Coordinator, Rev. Leslie Baird. Rev. Leslie Baird previously developed the Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention in Yarrabah (1995/6), and he worked in consultation with Indigenous leaders to adapt the Indigenous Mental Health for suicide prevention and cultural suitability to fulfill the needs of the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) (Stephens, 2015).
Currently in the pilot phase, the IMC course works to promote responses to suicide and mental health issues in Indigenous communities that respond to local needs and has been highly effective in Cairns. The course is transferable to other locations and communities (Stephens, 2015).
The program has a general-entry enrollment with student intakes from a wide selection of communities to provide greater networking opportunities, and the formation of a larger information repository leading to possible funding, employment, public health initiatives, and the development of critical frontline workforce capacity. Importantly, the average level of formal education of the enrollees was Year 10. Wontulp-Bi-Buya College’s teaching strategy encompasses the inclusion of continued high support and modified learning plans for all students (Stephens, 2015). This includes an awareness of Indigenous learning styles and the need for cultural appropriateness and acceptability (Stephens, 2014; Stephens, Baird, Turpin, & Tsey, 2012).