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Aboriginal mental health worker program 'working both ways'
In 2001, the Top End Division of General Practice (TEDGP) was funded under the Australian Government's More allied health services (MAHS) program to employ Aboriginal mental health workers (AMHWs) to work alongside general practitioners in five remote health centres. In 2002, beyondblue joined the program to extend this to seven centres and to fund an external evaluation.
beyondblue's involvement initiated the establishment of a partnership agreement between the major institutional contributors to the program: the TEDGP, the NT Department of Health and Community Services, Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, and Charles Darwin University. The partnership agreement outlined the commitments of each organisation to support the program objectives to:
- develop the role of AMHWs as members of a community-based mental health team in participating communities
- provide ongoing support, training, and mentoring to AMHWs in remote communities
- provide more effective mental health care practice through application of the local cultural knowledge and expertise of AMHWs working in conjunction with and in support of general practitioners
- improve the level and quality of mental health care services accessed by members of participating communities
- form an effective partnership between contributing organisations in the delivery and support of mental health care services in remote Indigenous communities.
Abstract adapted from beyondblue
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Harris A, Robinson G (2007)
The Aboriginal Mental Health Worker Program: The challenge of supporting Aboriginal involvement in mental health care in the remote community context.
Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health; 6(1): 15-25
Robinson G, Harris A (2005)
Aboriginal mental health worker program: final evaluation report.
Casuarina, NT: School for Social and Policy Research, Institute of Advanced Studies, Charles Darwin University