AH&MRC Deliver Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid (AMHFA) Training to Durri Aboriginal Corporation Medical Service, Kempsey
Colin McGrath and Sylvia Akusah delivered AMHFA training to Durri ACMSs’ health workers in a marathon effort over four days.
Two AMHFA training courses were delivered over the course of four consecutive days and to 36 of Durri’s workforce.
The AH&MRC provide the AMHFA training to it’s Member Services free of charge and is part of a larger suicide prevention strategy.
The AMHFA training is designed to empower our ACCHO’s health workers with the tools to assist community members, family and friends who experience mental health crises. Accredited Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid officers are able to support their community members who are in a mental health crisis, provide them with support and information and encouragement to reach out and get professional help and other supports that will keep them safe until professional support has been arranged.
Kempsey’s Aboriginal community has been rocked by tragedies in recent times and seen much mourning and Sorry Business. Many of the health workers in attendance at the training were still grieving the loss of community members and loved ones.
Colin, himself, has struggled with AOD and Mental Health issues for most of his life, and faced and overcame many challenges that arose from these conditions.
He uses the insights gained from his own life in the delivery of the Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid training. In 2019, his partner’s mother took her own life and he knows the pain and suffering caused and the states of being that make up the journey through loss back to a new normal.
“This is why mental health first aid, provided in a culturally appropriate setting is so important”. Colin said, and then went on to say, “Having people from Aboriginal communities who have the knowledge and skills to provide mental health first aid is essential to safeguard mob, and will benefit the whole community and make them more resilient when there are people from your own community to listen and provide professional support options, and importantly, hope.
A key message to the Durri participants of the training was that grief and mourning is normal, that it is part of the healing process and, to not blame yourselves for a loved one taking their own life, “that their decision to take their own life happened at a moment in time of dark despair when you are not there to talk to them”. And,
“That it is not your fault that you were not there at that moment in time.”
The AMHFA training was well received by Durri’s workforce, which included, Transport Drivers, Reception staff, GPs, AHWs/AHPs, Admin workers, dentists, and nurses.