Unorthodox approach to mental-health care pays off

Sydney Morning Herald

Dr Siva Bala, a regional psychiatrist with the Kimberley mental-health and drug service, says he has to dispense with some conventions of traditional psychiatry to forge ties with remote indigenous communities.

Adopting an overly formal approach to consultation or relying on office or hospital-based environments can be detrimental, he has found. It is often more appropriate to see patients on their own terms, Bala says.

‘‘Seeing them in their homes with their family members can be very helpful and advantageous, and very secure for Aboriginal people…’’

… Bala attained his fellowship with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry in 2007, 14 years after he began medical training. During his postgraduate training in psychiatry, he travelled to the Kimberley region for a mandatory six-month rural placement.

‘‘I did that and fell in love with the place and have essentially stayed on,’’ he says.

Read the full story by Josh Jennings: here

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