Purro Birik - 35

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Purro Birik - (Healthy Spirit)



The young people identify that mediation between themselves and family would be of great benefit and the provision of parenting courses and additional support in the home would resolve many of the difficulties faced by young parents.

Suicide is a sensitive issue, but all the young people spoken to agreed they would be much more likely to speak with a Koori mental health worker than a white psychiatric professional. They expressed mistrust in the current system of help, advice and treatment.

Children's Business

The Moroponuk officer has not consulted the children of Wathaurong, but numerous consultations have been held between the officer and the Koori health/welfare officer and the Koori Children's Services Coordinator. The major issues identified are as follows:
Sexual, emotional and physical abuse;
educational and psychological developmental issues;
complicated family histories;
growing in a culture that is different from mainstream society while having to integrate within the wider community.

Feedback from the Children's Services Coordinator, the Health/Welfare officer, and many of the parents of the community suggests that one of the most effective ways of resolving some of the Social, Emotional, and Spiritual Wellbeing issues facing the children, would be to resolve those of their parents. Appropriate interventions would be:

• effective parenting programs;
• support program for young parents;
• program to involve the men in the community in the raising of the children;
• programs to tackle the issues of domestic violence;
• programs focusing on youth pregnancy.

4. Recommendations

The following recommendations have been generated by this consultancy project. They are directed to the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-Operative and Barwon Health Mental Health Services respectively in regard to the development of culturally appropriate services aimed at meeting the mental health and Social, Emotional, and Spiritual Well-being needs of the Wathaurong Koori community. There are also recommendations to the relevant funding bodies in regard to the development of a community controlled and owned Social, Emotional, and Spiritual Well-being service.

Barwon Health

1. That Barwon Health develop a partnership with the Wathaurong Aboriginal cooperative to clarify the provision Barwon Health's role in the delivery of Mental Health Services.

2. That Barwon Health considers the employment of a Koori Liaison Officer specifically for Mental Health. There is a job description and statement of duties and responsibilities in the appendix of this report. (Appendix 5.)

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