Mental Health First Aid Curriculum: Embedding Cultural Perspectives

The 2018 Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium will be held next month over 15-17 October at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, Tasmania.

Joining us at the conference is Ms Eliza Pross, Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs at Mental Health First Aid Australia who will present on ‘Mental Health First Aid Curriculum: Embedding Cultural Perspectives’.

Abstract

‘Mental Health First Aid’ (MHFA) is the help offered to a person developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. Over 4000 MHFA courses are delivered each year, with over 2 million people trained in MHFA across the world. A growing area of focus for Mental Health First Aid Australia is the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-specific programs, now delivered by over 200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Instructors across urban, rural, remote and very remote areas in Australia.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people regularly find themselves subject to program adaption or ‘hindsight inclusion’ in education or service delivery processes that are primarily targeted at mainstream populations. This is despite the fact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander have faced, and continue to face, challenges and experiences in the public space that are different and unique.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are said to represent the longest surviving living culture on the planet. Our ways of seeing the world, of ‘being well’, healing and thriving are embedded in our communities, despite the ongoing traumas Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to face. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are unique and diverse. Developing programs that are acceptable across urban, rural and remote settings can be a challenge, as can the consideration and inclusion of acceptable or shared cultural concepts and protocols in the work that we do.

This presentation explores the processes Mental Health First Aid go through to develop, trial, implement and evaluate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander course content, and the various roles Aboriginal people have in the design, development and implementation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid.

Key Learnings:
1. Understanding the ways Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander concepts and perspectives are incorporated into Mental Health training curriculum.
2. Learning about the roles and leadership of Aboriginal people in curriculum design, delivery and evaluation.
3. Understanding some of the challenges and opportunities for mental health training that incorporates cultural and western views.

Biography

Eliza Pross is a Yuin/Nuenonne woman, and curriculum developer for Mental Health First Aid Australia. She co-authored various MHFA courses, including in areas such as Suicide, Non-Suicidal Self Injury and Gambling Problems for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Eliza has extensive experience working with Aboriginal communities across urban, rural and remote settings, and within the mental health, aged care and disability service settings. She is a qualified Social Worker, and an accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructor, passionate about supporting communities to support each other, and particularly ‘growing up’ strong and well youth.

For more information on the upcoming 2018 Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium please visit anzmh.asn.au/rrmh

 

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