” Tracy has now trained more than 22,000 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal service providers, accrediting them in her unique tools and approaches — enabling them to identify early stages of risk in Aboriginal people.
She has also provided her suicide intervention programs to Indigenous communities throughout Australia, as well as programs that improve the cultural competence of those working with Aboriginal people.”
Dr Tracy Westerman learnt early how to be a strong, proud Aboriginal. Now WA’s Australian of the Year is teaching others to be the same
Read full article HERE or extracts below Part 3
See Save a dates for Dr Tracy Westerman 2018 Workshops Assessment & Suicide Prevention in Aboriginal Communities Combined and Cultural Competency for Supervisors of Aboriginal People See Part 2 Below
Register early as limited workshops are available!
Part 1 : Aboriginal Conferences, Events, Workshops, Health Awareness Days
For many years ACCHO organisations have said they wished they had a list of the many Indigenous “ Days “ and Aboriginal health or awareness days/weeks/events.
With thanks to our friends at ZockMelon here they both are!
It even has a handy list of the hashtags for the event.
Download the 50 Page 2018 Health days and events calendar HERE
Download the 6 Page 2018 Aboriginal / Health days and events calendar updated 30 January HERE
We hope that this document helps you with your planning for the year ahead.
Events have been selected on their basis of relevance to the broad Aboriginal health promotion and public health community in Australia.
Every Tuesday we will update these listings with new events and What’s on for the week ahead
To submit your events or update our info
Contact: Colin Cowell www.nacchocommunique.com
NACCHO Social Media Editor Tel 0401 331 251
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Part 2.1 Assessment & Suicide Prevention in Aboriginal Communities Combined
- Free Cultural Competency profile
- Ensuring Cultural compatibility in assessment and engagement
- Culture-bound syndromes – type, nature and assessment
- Depression in Aboriginal people. Treatment, assessment and intervention
- Post traumatic stress and its manifestations
- Halting the transmission of intergeneration trauma
- Accreditation in four unique assessment tools
- Acculturation Scale for Aboriginal Australians
- Acculturative Stress Scale for Aboriginal Australians
- The Westerman Aboriginal Symptom Checklist – Youth & Adults – a suicide risk screening tool for Aboriginal people
- The nature of Aboriginal suicide – intervention and prevention frameworks
- Effective engagement with suicidal Aboriginal clients
- Translating cultural differences into suicide risk assessment
Sydney 18-19 October
Perth 1-2 November
Part 3 :Dr Tracy Westerman now WA’s Australian of the Year celebrates the 20th year of Indigenous Psychological Services
As a psychologist, she now knows that reaction was about the desire to fit in at all costs.
“When you’re a kid you don’t want to stand out for any reason,” she says. “But I was just really lucky to have an environment that didn’t generalise racism. They’d say ‘That’s just that nasty person’, rather than, ‘All white people are this way’. And I have never, ever been into divisiveness. We are all Australians together.”
Besides, she says, the stakes are too high to make her work a black or white issue.
“We have kids in our communities as young as 10 who are choosing the option of death instead of life. This is not an Aboriginal issue any more, this is a human issue,” she says, her passion rising to the fore. “We are only as strong as our most vulnerable and Australians have always been concerned about our most vulnerable. I’m not a social media commentator, I’m not a politician, I’m very, very clear about what I want my platform to be.”
Tracey used the Australian of the Year platform on Thursday to do as she has long been doing — working to improve Aboriginal mental health and help prevent alarming rates of suicide.
As she celebrates the 20th year of Indigenous Psychological Services, a business she started because she could see her people weren’t getting the kind of help they needed — and which she is proud to say has never had any government funding — even she finds it hard to believe she almost walked away from psychology.
“The first three years at uni I struggled, the culture shock was pretty significant. I mean I did distance education, I never caught an escalator, I never caught a bus, crossing Stirling Highway was terrifying to me,” she says. “And then on top of that I had this concept of the sorts of things that worked for my people and I was being taught the absolute contrary of that. I thought I can’t be a psychologist; if this is what psychology is, I’ve got it wrong.”
“I’ve always done fast things, so marathon running was the best thing for me because it made me slow down. It was this real mental battle initially because I’d go out like a bull at a gate and then after 10km I’d pass out.”
Then the 22-year-old was offered a job working in Kalgoorlie and the Western Desert communities with child welfare. “My first job in Warburton was just after 60 Minutes had been in there to do the big expose on petrol and glue sniffing,” she recalls. “I’d never been in an environment before where there was solvent abuse and there are 5000 household substances you can use to get a high.
“Imagine something the size of Subiaco Oval and shopping bags littered as far as the eye can see, discarded shopping bags that kids had used to sniff with. I had one sibling group one day, four years of age all the way through to 12 — five of them, high as kites. It’s just heartbreaking.”
But she loved the communities and immediately felt she could make a difference. Initially she was like a bull at a gate, wanting to smash all the obstacles at once, but was guided by some wiser heads. “One of my elders said to me ‘It’s like a drop in a bucket. One day you help someone and it’s a little drop in the bucket, and the next day you help someone else and it’s another drop in the bucket and eventually the bucket gets full’,” she says.
The experience also made her all the more determined to prove that mainstream psychology methods simply weren’t effective in dealing with indigenous mental health and suicide prevention.
“I developed the first unique screening tool for Aboriginal youth (the Westerman Aboriginal Symptom Checklist — Youth, or WASC-Y), developed from the ground up and validated,” she says. “I didn’t realise that had never been done before, not just in Australia but globally. I started to think maybe we’re getting this wrong, maybe the suicides are escalating because we’re getting the risk factors wrong and no one bothered to check. So we checked and found that the risk factors were very different, and if you get the risk factors wrong everything going forward is wrong.”
“We ended up wearing Aboriginal badges on our shirts when we went out just so that people would know we were Aboriginal because every time you’d go out you’d be in an argument.”
In 1998, as she was nearing the end of her groundbreaking PhD, she struck out on her own. “I was 27, I quit government, I bought a fax machine for $300 and just started sending out faxes to people about my training workshops — $600 for four days, fully catered. And that’s how I started my business, in the front lounge of this house.
People started registering straight away, I just couldn’t believe it. But mostly the business was born out of pure frustration. I knew that you had to get into communities and skill up whole communities if you were going to make a difference.”
This seemingly innocuous document is shocking on so many levels.
Tracy has now trained more than 22,000 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal service providers, accrediting them in her unique tools and approaches — enabling them to identify early stages of risk in Aboriginal people. She has also provided her suicide intervention programs to indigenous communities throughout Australia, as well as programs that improve the cultural competence of those working with Aboriginal people.
“You have to get people to identify unconscious bias and that’s really challenging. It’s quite common that they come up to me in tears,” she says.
She conducts an activity whereby she asks the participants to picture a group of Aboriginal people in a park. “And I go ‘OK, open your eyes’. And on the powerpoint there’s a couple of very well dressed Aboriginal tradesmen at work in the park.
And I say ‘Did you see this?’ And then you have another picture of some Aboriginal people drunk and dishevelled and lying in the park ‘Or did you see this?’ I am not doing it for the shock value. I’m doing this because the science tells us that this shifts people.”