This episode will discuss First Nations mental health, the AIMhi project, Stay Strong and the Strong Country, Strong People website.
In episode 7, Dr. Ruth Crowther speaks to Professor Tricia Nagel about the Aboriginal and Islander Mental health initiative (AIMhi), the Stay Strong app and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander digital mental health.
Professor Tricia Nagel has thirty years of experience working in NT rural and remote mental health and substance use settings as psychiatrist and educator. Since 2003 Professor Nagel has led a research program based at Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin. The program promotes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives of mental health and access to culturally responsive services and treatments. It has transitioned over two decades from face-to-face, paper-based treatments and tools, to digital solutions that continue to embed holistic and empowering elements.
Where did the AIMhi program came from and how it has evolved?
The need for the project was identified while Tricia was working as a psychiatrist in an inpatient unit in Darwin, working with Aboriginal health workers, treating Aboriginal people from a range of remote communities with mental health concerns. This raised a lot of challenges with cross cultural care, as it was so important to be able to assess and treat within the world view of a different culture. It was important to have Aboriginal health workers there but there was still a very apparent gap in terms of plain English information to allow people to know what’s going on, the treatments on offer for mental illness, and what can be done to prevent it.
The AIMhi project started by spending 5 years consulting around the NT with Aboriginal health workers, other Aboriginal workers, other mental health professionals to develop a suit of resources to address some of the gaps. The suit focused on holistic, strengths based resources, that were plain English and accessible for people whose Firt Nations language is first.
About the Stay Strong app?
The app began as a care planning tool developed with First Nations people, integrating assessment, treatment and a number of therapeutic principles, with a holistic approach. Stay Strong promotes family and culture alongside brief interventions, problem solving, motivational interviews and collaborative goal setting, creating the four steps of a discussion.
The tool was developed as a paper resource first, as a way to build rapport and trust, to build communication in order to work together with a client towards making some changes that they choose, then transitioned to an app to support the wellbeing workforce. The app also allows for a collaborative experience between the client and clinician, creating an equal relationship and placing the individual at the centre of their own care.
The Strong Country, Strong People website
Strong Country, Strong People is a strengths based website, funded by the Menzies School of Health Research local PHN looking to develop a resilience approach to suicide prevention. The website is focused around a set of strengths and culture resources, including apps, videos, interviews and links to culturally responsive resources. The aim of the Strong Country, Strong People website is to link people with the resources they need to promote their wellbeing
AIMhi Stay Strong (Google Play): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=au.edu.menzies.aimhistaystrong
AIMhi Stay Strong (Apple App Store): https://apps.apple.com/us/app/aimhi-stay-strong-app/id912289264?ls=1
Strong Country, Strong People: https://www.aimhistaystrong.com.au/
AIMhi Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AIMhiStayStrong
AIMhi Stay Strong YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfoq2Y_BUsqLmTfOQ14ujBQ
Contact the AIMhi team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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