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Local communities now have increased access to mental health, drug and alcohol counselling delivered by Aboriginal health professionals

01 November 2019

Indigenous communities throughout the Nepean Blue Mountains region now have increased access to mental health, drug and alcohol counselling delivered by Aboriginal health professionals.

Nine students have completed a customised Diploma of Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs that was tailored by TAFE Digital for the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, Sydney University to provide training to Indigenous communities. This program was commissioned by Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network and funded by the Australian Government.

Amy Traeger, Senior Project Officer at Poche, said “We successfully gained a tender from Wentworth Healthcare,provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network (NBMPHN) to empower the Indigenous workforce, specifically in the field of mental health, alcohol and other drugs.”

Wentworth Healthcare CEO, Lizz Reay said, "Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people often face extra barriers when accessing health services and these graduates will help our community by providing culturally safe and appropriate support that will help break down some those barriers."

"Before these nine students graduated, our consultations indicated that there was only one qualified Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander community worker to providing drug and alcohol counselling in our region. As a result of this program there are now 10. We think that is a great result for our community."

“Four students from the cohort applied to undertake cadetship, which involved completing the qualification, whilst undertaking paid work in four host organisations in the NBMPHN catchment area,” said Ms Traeger.

All students gained specialised knowledge and practical skills in the areas of mental health, and drug and alcohol counselling and are now able to take these skills into their workplace to contribute more holistically regarding appropriate treatment and management...

Read full media release (pdf 400kb)