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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

WA's pioneer Indigenous mental health workers

Date posted: 24 February 2012

Twenty Western Australian Indigenous people have enrolled in tertiary mental health courses following the success of two trail-blazing Indigenous mental health workers in the Pilbara.

Katie Papertalk and Yvette Kelly recently made history when they became the first Western Australian health service Indigenous graduates from Charles Sturt University in New South Wales (NSW) with a Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health).

Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said Indigenous mental health was an emerging specialty which needed strong Indigenous input to be relevant to the people it helped.

'Both Ms Papertalk and Ms Kelly now hold high-level professional roles within the mental health service, which is having a significant impact on the creation and delivery of mental health services in the Pilbara,' Mrs Morton said.

The two women won scholarships through the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) Pilbara's Indigenous employment program (IEP), which is funded through a partnership between the State Government Royalties for regions program and the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy's Pilbara Industry's Community Council.

Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said the women's achievements were a perfect example of empowerment through education.

'On a broader level, these women have inspired peers to follow their lead, creating an interest among Aboriginal people pursuing higher education opportunities to advance their knowledge and skill in Aboriginal mental health,' Mr Grylls said.

Source: Western Australian Country Health Service (WACHS)


Last updated: 28 February 2012
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