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.
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
• programs to tackle the issues of domestic violence;
• programs focusing on youth pregnancy.
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.
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.)