‘Baby Coming-You Ready?’ is more than just a mental health screening tool. It is a unique strength and desire based well-being assessment process. It is designed to create engagement, develop trust and importantly the direction and outcome is controlled by the mother or father-to-be.
We have been and are actively involved with Derbarl Yerrigan at every level of the project’s development with members of the Derbarl Board being on the Elders Cultural Advisory Group for the development of “Baby Coming-You Ready?” Its development has been developed and driven by Aboriginal men and women.”
How Baby Coming-You Ready?” has engaged with the Aboriginal community controlled health sector (see article below )
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Indigenous women handed mental health boost to assist pregnancy, motherhood
A digitised mental health screening program which aims to assess the social and emotional wellbeing of pregnant Aboriginal women is to be piloted in Western Australia.
The program, called ‘Baby Coming – You Ready?’, invites expectant parents to choose images they strongly connect with from a series of illustrations, to help identify areas of support they may need and to flag mental health issues.
It is based on a research project conducted at Murdoch University by PhD student Jayne Kotz with Aboriginal mothers and fathers from around the state, called ‘Kalyakool Moort – Always Family’.
“Aboriginal people are currently not well screened, if at all, in the perinatal period,” Ms Kotz said.
“The tool currently used is the score based Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) which was developed in Scotland 40 years ago.
“There is no evidence that it is culturally safe, nor accurate amongst Aboriginal people.”
The tool is intended to be used for early intervention and as an alternative mental health screening tool to EPDS.
“It’s critical that we find and identify which mothers and parents are struggling, and provide them with appropriate support as early as possible in their pregnancy,” Ms Kotz said.
Ms Kotz said Aboriginal women experienced significantly higher levels of anxiety and distress during their early reproductive years than Aboriginal men at the same age, and higher still than non-Aboriginal women.
She said the mothering group was often younger than their non-Aboriginal counterparts and faced a myriad of social and economic challenges.
“We know also that Aboriginal children are removed from their parents and put into out-of-home care at a rate 10 times higher than non-Aboriginal children,” she explained.
“It is not because they’re bad mothers. They are simply struggling to deal with the multiple social and emotional pressures life has dealt them.”
According to Ms Kotz, many health services are not culturally safe and prevent expectant mothers seeking the help they need.
“Aboriginal women are much more shamed and much less likely to ask for what they want, and much more likely to go away with none of those needs met,” she said.
How Baby Coming-You Ready?” has engaged with the Aboriginal community controlled health sector
We have been and are actively involved with Derbarl Yerrigan at every level of the project’s development with members of the Derbarl Board being on the Elders Cultural Advisory Group for the development of “Baby Coming-You Ready?” Its development has been developed and driven by Aboriginal men and women.
The initial pilot of the digitised version will be undertaken through Derbarl Yerrigan among other agencies. We are also working with AHCWA.
A solid and active Aboriginal Working Party has members who have all been purposively selected Aboriginal people from across the sector. There are midwives, child health nurses, social workers, psychologists, Aboriginal liaison officers, Aboriginal mental health workers, Department of Child Protection workers, carers, grandmothers, drug and alcohol workers etc..
We are also in active partnership with the Aboriginal Maternity Group Practices and the Ngala Indigenous Parent Support Program .
You might want to have a look at the website for some more details to the background research in the development of ‘Baby Coming-You Ready?’
The Aboriginal Working Party, the Elders Cultural Advisory group and Advisory Group (with more than 50% Aboriginal members) are all committed to continue their support for the next phase of this project.
Everyone has a vested and significant interest in this research as it has been their hard work which has resulted in the ‘Baby Coming-You Ready?’ project.
HEAR Aboriginal Women
working in health voices #NAIDOC2016