Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health peak body, leads the way in influencing innovative practice and integrative systems approached in their culturally responsive framework for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities, allied health professionals and all health professionals working with these communities.
Successful outcomes for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander healing practices have often been hindered by limited understanding of cultural worldviews. Particularly, in understanding and incorporating the Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) framework and holistic case formulation in professional practice.
These key elements are paramount if culturally responsive health care is to be provided. This framework allows mainstream practices to be improved, evaluated, and replicated using culturally responsive variations to existing or proposed programs attempting to address the complex and diverse health needs and outcomes of trauma experienced by individuals and their families.
The development of culturally responsive models of care, which demonstrate successful SEWB healing outcomes when dealing health outcomes for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities, will prove valuable. Such holistic models could influence development of best practice program design and incorporate culturally responsive and coherent guidelines for mental health practice and program development as well as providing beneficial planning data for funding distribution and effective healing outcomes for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities.
In addition, health professionals who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, form a pathway or conduit between the knowledge system of their professions, the mainstream health system and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge systems. No single system is favoured above the other but are equal in their own right and importance, supporting strategies and understanding in providing practice on the ground that is effective and sustainable.
Ms Kelleigh Ryan, Psychologist and IAHA Board Member, Indigenous Allied Health Australia will give practical examples around how a cultural responsive framework can guide mental health practice when working with the complex health and wellbeing needs of Australia’s first peoples at the 15th International Mental Health Conference will be held at the QT Hotel, Surfers Paradise from Monday 25th to Tuesday 26th August 2014.