It is well documented that youth today experience significant mental health issues related to bullying, social isolation and unemployment. Aboriginal youth are often burdened with additional and unique stressors such as loss of cultural identity, intergenerational trauma, complex family environments, racism and poverty.
The Assertive Outreach Team has successfully secured Mandurah Mental Health Funding to organize 3 day Cultural Camp in June, for Aboriginal youth between the ages of 12 and 17 who are at risk of social and emotional wellbeing issues. The aim of the cultural camp is to improve the social, emotional, and physical wellbeing of Aboriginal youth participants.
Participants will undertake activities that strengthen their cultural identity and connectedness with country and community and foster their relationships with their peers. We will also support the young people to develop a greater awareness of mental health issues and support services available to them through informal interaction and workshops with participating services.
Collaborating with local services and with 2 local Aboriginal leaders on site, we aim to provide culturally appropriate support to help participants reconnect with culture by teaching youth how to respect the land, support the development of cultural identity and look at family connections and structures. Alongside this camp participants will be introduced to local service providers such as Nidjalla Waaangan Mia, Halls Head Community College, Palmerston, Department of Communities, and the City of Mandurah to help them develop any networks they need to support them.
With a range of fun and challenging activities, we are looking forward to this event and bringing you an update after the camp.
GP down south is committed to the safety and well-being of children and young people, and as such, is committed to creating and maintaining a child safe organisation.
Our commitment to the safety of children is based on our duty of care and responsibilities to children and always acting in the best interests of children. Our commitment will be enacted through the implementation and monitoring of the Child Safe Standards, as specified under the Child Wellbeing and Safety Amendment (Child Safe Standards) Act 2015.
Our commitment to children: We are committed to ensuring children feel safe, empowered and are taken seriously if they raise concerns in relation to their safety and well-being. We have zero tolerance of child abuse and/or exploitation. We promote diversity, inclusion and tolerance for people from all walks of life. We are committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children regardless of race, age, sex, gender, religion or disability.
The Organisation has robust human resources and recruitment practices for all workers and we are committed to regularly training and educating our people to achieve these commitments.
Our friends at Blackwood Youth Action organised a great day for Year 9 students from the Warren Blackwood high schools and combined what we were presenting as separate Tiers 1 & 2 into a one day event at the Manjimup Senior High School.
We were among a group of 9 local service providers there to give students information on the mental health services we provide and offer support on the day.
Students heard Tracey Barnett’s story of depression and alcohol abuse along with her fabulous music in the morning. It was a tale made very real by the raw emotion with which it was presented. Tracey is a good place now, but shares how reaching out and asking for help set her on the road to recovery. We were then treated to a visit from riders on the Hawaiian Ride for Youth. One of their riders spoke of his experience with suicide within his family and went on to explain that we all get the three Cs – Choice, Chance, Change. It was a powerful message. The simple ones often are.
For the first time in its 26 years the South West Business Awards had a category for Not-for-Profit organisations. GP down south started the submission process in March 2020 and on 27 March 2021 the awards were presented to a full house of South West businesses.
In a year unlike any other, many businesses were forced to look at how they operate and how to remain operational amidst a pandemic. GP down south demonstrated remarkable agility in managing a very quickly changing landscape in the health sector.
As an organisation, with nearly 80 staff across 5 locations, we showed that team work, quick action and strong leadership enabled the continuation of services to our vulnerable clientele.
The awards process is a valuable tool to remind us of the work we do and the lives we make a difference to. They also highlight that GP down south is an organisation of excellence in how we deliver services. We were delighted to be a finalist in two categories - Professional Services: People Based and Excellence in Not for Profit.
The Gala Awards night was wall to wall with the best of South West businesses. GP down south was among strong contenders. Chairman, David Barton and CEO, Amanda Poller accepted the winning award in the Professional Services – People Based category. It is a great process to look for areas of improvement and focus on the positive impact made each day. Congratulations to all the other finalists and to the Busselton Jetty who took out the Excellence in Not for Profit category.
Nidjalla has once again received a national award of accreditation, from Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL), the leading not-for-profit provider of general practice accreditation services within Australia demonstrating its commitment to quality and safety within its practice.
AGPAL Chair, Dr Richard Choong, said accreditation shows that the practice makes a significant investment and commitment to quality on a day-to-day basis, across all levels of the practice team.
“Achieving accreditation is a major achievement for any practice and a clear demonstration that Nidjalla Waangan Mia is striving to improve their level of care to both patients and the community,” he said.
“Practices seek accreditation because they want to do their best and view this as another step towards excellence in patient care."
To achieve accreditation, a practice team works over a 12-month period to implement the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Standards for general practices. The RACGP Standards provide a recognised national benchmark for general practices and services, and a template for quality care and risk management.
Practice Manager, Kerry Cabasi said that it is a rigorous process which reviews all the systems and processes in place to serve clients to ensure they meet the RACGP standards. Thanks to the whole team for helping Nidjalla reach this goal.
“We want community members, nationwide to know that their wellbeing is our priority. By choosing to attend an AGPAL accredited practice, patients know they will get quality and safe care that meets the RACGP Standards.”
Last week, GP down south delivered the 3 Tier Youth Mental Health Program to 8 schools in the Peel region. The program is based around Awareness (Tier 1), Prevention (Tier 2) and Intervention (Tier 3). Each of these is usually delivered separately, but this year, Tiers 1 and 2 were combined into one presentation.
Young people today have access to unprecedented amounts of information and can google much of the information themselves. However, we found that the face to face presentation by Amy Coombe who shares her story of eating disorders, depression and anxiety is compelling and powerful enough to hold an audience of 15 year old’s captive for up to 2 hours.
641 students attended the sessions during the week and quite a few commented that it was unlike any mental health program they are usually delivered. The authenticity of a story delivered from someone with lived experience who has a passion for helping young people manoeuvre a tricky time of life, is what makes this program unique and why schools keep inviting us back to present the program. Deepest praise to Amy Coombe for her energy, passion and dedication to the program and to the staff and teachers at the school who helped make the week such a resounding success.
The Peel and Rockingham Kwinana Mental Health Service (PaRK MHS) and GP down south have recently established a joint Consultation Liaison Service between the two services at the Peel Health Hub. A Psychiatric Registrar from PaRK MHS commenced a weekly session at the Peel Health Hub in February and will provide additional support to the PYMS GPs to sustain their workload – with diagnostic clarification and treatment guidance. This initiative will assist to relieve the load of referrals to the Peel MHS Assessment Treatment Team and will help to keep clients in a primary care setting.
GP down south also works collaboratively with PaRK MHS through the Clinical Care Coordination team at the Peel Health Hub who work closely with the Psychiatric Liaison staff at the Peel Health Campus Emergency Department.
GP down south welcomes two new Board members. They were inducted last Tuesday prior to a Board meeting. Both come to GP down south with a wealth of experience in the health sector and in governance.
Ms Anne Donaldson is a former Director for the Health and Disability Service Complaints Office; a position that involved strategic leadership in the oversight and management of health, disability and mental health complaints. Ms Donaldson has worked in the health sector for most of her career in a range of positions, and has a depth of experience and understanding of finance, audit, and safety and quality.
Professor Garry Allison is Associate Deputy Vice Chancellor - Research Training. He was formerly Faculty Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Health Sciences. He is Professor of Neurosciences and Trauma Physiotherapy within the Faculty of Health Sciences at Curtin University. Prof Allison's current role is to lead the Institutional strategy for innovative PhD programs and research training. He maintains research activities and mentoring research groups and individuals to achieve excellence and their chosen field.
L-R: Dr Russell Wallis, Mrs Tricia Scaffidi, Mr David Barton, Ms Anne Donaldson, Prof. Garry Allison, Dr Rupert Backhouse
For the second year, the Mental Health and Chronic Conditions programs have teamed up to attend the Smart 2 Ask Expo. The Expo brings together agencies in the South West who provide support and services to vulnerable and at risk members of the community.
Hundreds of people visited the expo and were helped with financial information, food and nutrition, counselling and mental health services and a range of other support services. There were free household items and clothes, hand massages and a hairdresser on hand for the day.
Prizes were given away throughout the day and the backpacks which we filled with handy items we filled for people who are doing it tough was drawn by Don Punch, MLA and Minister Simone McGurk, MLA. It was an excellent day and we look forward to 2022.
The Assertive Outreach Team has made strong inroads in the Peel region communities with staff being invited to help deliver programs in schools.
Ashley, our female Aboriginal Youth Worker is getting well known as someone young people relate to and has been approached by a local not for profit organisation to co-facilitate an Early Intervention Program for girls at Pinjarra Senior High School - "Keeping Us Safe"- utilising some of the concepts of Canadian model "Safe4Kids" promoting protective behaviours, awareness, consent, boundaries, online safety and self-care.
Ashley is experienced in helping young people with mental health and alcohol and other drugs (AOD) issues and she is working across several high schools in the region including Fairbridge, Coodanup and Waroona to engage with students and support Aboriginal youth.