What does being a part of the headspace team mean for you? What do you hope to achieve in your role?
As a proud Wonnarua man, working at headspace is more than ‘just a job'. I've witnessed too many families and communities lose their young ones to suicide. I want to contribute to reducing the notion of suicide being an option for our young mob going through a hard time and give them hope.
Being a part of the headspace National team means that I can influence change and help build the cultural capacity of the headspace network to provide culturally safe and responsive services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people across the country.
I’d like to see headspace continue to build on the success of initiatives such as Yarn Safe, which was a campaign focused on breaking down mental health stigma and shame for our young mob, as well as the Youth Mental Health Traineeship Program which creates training and employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people at headspace.
I'm excited to play a part in the development of headspaces Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan that will deepen the organisations understanding of our history and strengthen the way headspace collaborates with and responds to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and communities.
My biggest hope is for headspace to build a strong and connected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce across the country to better influence how services are developed and delivered across our communities.
How important are services like headspace for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Young People going through a tough time?
Services such as headspace are so important for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in particular. It's important for our young people to be able to identify when themselves, a brother, sister, cousin or friend is going through a tough time and has the tools to keep themselves grounded and know how to provide support.
Alongside Aboriginal community controlled health services, headspace is another safe place, free of judgement, where young people can go to have a yarn about what's going on for them.
What do you hope to see moving forward in relation to youth mental health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people?
My hope is to see our future generations culturally strong and connected! Connected to their physical and spiritual self, their families, ancestors, country, culture and community. I'd love to see more co-designed services and programs, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people can connect with their Elders, communities and cultures - where they can learn, share, heal, be themselves and develop new skills.
How important is workplace diversity to you and why?
Diversity in the work place is a beautiful thing, providing it's embraced and peoples perspectives and experiences are respected. Diversity, can help people understand the difference of perspectives, reduce prejudice and discrimination and in the context of headspace, improve the delivery of health and wellbeing services for all young people. Services that are human centred, inclusive, strength based and takes into consideration the individual’s cultural context.
What does Reconciliation Week mean to you?
Reconciliation week is the week established between two significant milestones for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's: the 1967 referendum and the Mabo decision. Both landmark occasions recognising the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
However, Reconciliation is more than just a week. Reconciliation is the process of truth telling, listening with intent, learning, building empathy, with aim to not make the same mistakes as the past. In my opinion, Reconciliation is where current oppressive policies and systems are removed; people from a young age are empowered and educated about the policies that led to the massacres of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country, and forced removal of children from their families and lands - policies that have shaped the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal Australia today.
Reconciliation is also about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's being given the power to influence and make decisions on matters that impact them.