Purro Birik - 30

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Purro Birik - (Healthy Spirit)



1. Executive Summary

The Moroponuk (spirit) Project is a partnership initiative between the Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative and Barwon Health Mental Health Services. The aim of the project was to consult extensively with the Wathaurong Koori community to ascertain; the mental health needs of the community, factors contributing to low levels of access to existing mental health services and what modifications to existing services and/or creation of new services would effectively target the mental health needs of the Wathaurong Koori community.

This is a condesned version of the report to be used as a model of best practice within the state wide policy development project being conducted by VACCHO. Should anyone require access to the full document, they can be obtained through the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative.

The consultation process commenced with the Moroponuk Officer (Sid Pope, employee of Barwon Health) having meetings with the Board of Directors of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative, to discuss the proposal and to gain the permission of the Board to commence the consultation. The health and welfare officer Karen Wood then introduced the Moroponuk Officer to the community. Karen facilitated access to various community groups and the Moroponuk project officer worked closely with all the officers of the Co-Operative.

The Koori community of Wathaurong defines the 'social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing' issues within their community by the specific group affected by the issue.

The detailed and specific findings for each of the community groups are too numerous to list here. On review it appears that the issues presented are all inter-related, that some of the issues are universal across the community, whilst others are specific to the group in question.

The recommendations generated by this consultancy project are directed to the Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative and Barwon Health Mental Health Services respectively.

They are focused on the development of culturally appropriate services aimed at meeting the mental health and social, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing needs of the Wathaurong Koori community. There are also recommendations to the relevant funding bodies regarding the development of a community controlled and owned social, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing service.

The outcome of the Moroponuk consultation process is that there is now a coherent description of the social, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing needs of the Wathaurong Koori community. The roles and responsibilities of the two main stakeholders/service providers have been somewhat clarified and hopefully will soon be refined and ratified.

There are now a range of recommendations and proposed interventions which (if adopted), have the potential to resolve many of the issues identified by this project. There is also now an opportunity for the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-Op, Barwon Health Mental Health Services, the Department of Human Services, the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), and the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Service (OATSIHS) to negotiate and develop an effective and appropriate social, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing service for the Wathaurong Koori community.


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