Purro Birik - 17

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Purro Birik - (Healthy Spirit)



6.3 Training


The need for ongoing training that is relevant to service development needs was highlighted throughout the consultations on a number of levels. The primary issues were cross-cultural training for the staff of mental health services, and training on social, emotional, and cultural wellbeing issues (including mental illness) for Koori health service workers.


It was proposed that cross-cultural training should include information on Koori history, Koori gender issues, the role of family and elders in Koori communities, and Koori concepts of mental health and wellbeing. It was emphasised that cross-cultural training done in isolation is often not effective and that any long term effect requires ongoing training undertaken within the context of an active relationship/partnership between Koori health services and mental health services.


It was proposed that social, emotional and cultural well being training should include skills and strategies for undertaking crisis intervention, understanding the mental health system, managing psychiatric medication, practising ethics/confidentiality, working with substance abuse, recognising and responding to early warning signs, developing local promotion and prevention strategies, and developing the concept of social, emotional and cultural wellbeing.


Other training strategies proposed were adding units in Koori-sensitive practice as core components to existing clinical degree courses, and more proactively recruiting Koori people into clinical degree courses.


6.4 Service Development


A number of service development issues were recognised, particularly by Koori community controlled health services, as being significant to improving services' responses to the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing issues of their communities.



The main issues were that:

  • the role of social, emotional and cultural wellbeing workers needs further definition. This will provide greater clarity for workers operating in partnership with mainstream services, and help to establish greater recognition of the role from within Koori communities;

  • there is a need to identify which other mainstream services would be beneficial to engage in partnerships

  • or protocol arrangements and how best to go about facilitating cooperative arrangements; 

  • a number of Koori health workforce development issues need to be addressed, such as on-call arrangements, burnout, career path development, professional boundaries and professional recognition;

  • a strategy should be developed to promote ethical awareness on issues such as confidentiality in the workplace;

  • a strategy should be developed to increase the recognition of the role of Koori elders in addressing social, emotional and cultura! wellbeing issues;

  • the development of H'~aling places needs to be supported;

  • the need for community controlled supported accommodation for social, emotional and cultural wellbeing issues needs to be investigated, and a model for providing the support needs to be developed;

  • there is a need for better quality information about the extent of social, emotional and cultural wellbeing issues within Victorian Koori communities;

  • health service plans and job descriptions for social, emotional and cultural wellbeing service positions need to be further developed to promote better understanding of what the services can provide;

  • the provision of social, emotional and cultural wellbeing support to Aboriginal people in Victorian prisons needs to be further considered and addressed;

  • Koori health service data is the property of the Koori service and should be collected only as a condition of funding where it relates to issues of resource distribution and patient care. Service development data should be provided on a specific agreement basis only;

  • a strategy is needed to gather credible data on the demographics of the Victorian Koori community. Australian Bureau of Statistics data is generally considered to be poor;

  • ongoing evaluation and continuous improvement needs to occur to ensure best outcomes on social, emotional and cultural wellbeing issues for Koori people;

  • there is a need to develop a vision that can be adopted across the State for the provision of social, emotional and cultural wellbeing services;

  • social, emotional and cultural wellbeing workers need more opportunities to meet, discuss common issues, and develop ideas.

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