headspace Ipswich - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art and Pamper Day

30 May 2023

We are thrilled to share the success of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art and Pamper day held on the 5th of April on Jagera / Yuggera and Ugarapul country.

The event was established to raise awareness of our headspace Ipswich services while promoting wellbeing within the First Nations community.

To ensure active engagement from young people, we embraced a whole-of-community approach. We believe that grandmothers and Elders are a key component for engagement in the youth sector for First Nations community. Not only are grandmothers often the carers and key support links for young people in First Nations community, but they are also often the line of authority, decision makers and knowledge keepers.

As a Mununjali Elder once explained:

“Telling our young people all this good health information while leaving us in the dark, not only disrespects our culture, it undermines the structure of our community, the line of authority and cultural place we hold. You have an opportunity to utilise a great resource in our community for youth, just bring us with you”.

Including Elders into the youth circle has become a key aspect of success in our mental health programs for young people.

Throughout the planning process, we consulted with the Kambu Aboriginal Islander Health Service, who graciously agreed to provide transportation for the Elders on the day and also circulated information to families in their service. We were delighted to have 30 Elders and young people in attendance.

The wellbeing day featured a talk by Nicky Newley-Guivarra, a remarkable First Nations woman, who shared her mental health journey with bipolar disorder in a yarning circle. She emphasised the importance of connecting to culture and country, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and seeking support services like headspace to address trauma. Through her personal story she addressed the idea of community dismissing behaviour as ‘blackfella stuff’ rather than generational trauma, and the importance of supporting each other to move forward to heal.

Following her talk, Nicky facilitated an art workshop, where Elders, young people, Kambu case workers, and headspace staff engaged in conversations about supporting youth mental health in our community.

After lunch, the day continued with free massages, weaving activities, a clay workshop facilitated by a Traditional Owner Pricilla Dalton, and concluded with a yarning circle to discuss local concerns and ways to connect young people with Ipswich youth support services.

One of the highlights of the day was the weaving activity, led by a talented gender diverse First Nations individual who is part of our headspace Ipswich Diverse City+ program.

For some young First Nations people leading a cultural activity in front of their Elders can be a confronting experience. headspace Ipswich staff worked alongside the young person to build their confidence leading up to the day. Once they took charge, they displayed remarkable cultural leadership, guiding both young people and Elders in acquiring a new skill.



Our ongoing partnership with Kambu Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation for Health

Since our successful cultural day, headspace Ipswich has become involved in the Kambu Youth Cultural Mentoring Program. headspace Ipswich now has a place in yarning circle as part of the facilitated group program to deliver mental health literacy workshops before young people learn cultural games with community leaders.


Feedback from our Cultural Art and Pamper Day

The feedback we received from various participants was overwhelmingly positive.

A case worker who attended the event mentioned, "I enjoyed connecting with other women and young women in our community. It was a fantastic day celebrating the strength of deadly women."

A parent expressed their satisfaction, stating, "I loved the yarning and community spirit. It was an amazing day, and I wouldn't change a thing. Well done to everyone involved in the preparation and delivery of such a wonderful event. headspace, you were amazing! A special thank you to Erika and Jodie for making the day so wonderful!"

An Elder expressed their delight, saying, "I thoroughly enjoyed the entire day, from the great lunch to the enjoyable workshops. Thank you so much; I absolutely loved it. Everything was perfect. Can we do this again?"

Young people that attended also provided feedback, expressing their enjoyment of the art activities and requesting another cultural and pamper day. Some suggested including jewellery making and exploring more painting styles.

Another Elder shared their experience, highlighting the significance of the event. "This has been a wonderful day for Elders, not only for learning about supporting our young people but also because, since COVID, Elders have become increasingly isolated. We aren't connecting with our youth as much as we used to. We see many Elders morning teas and other events advertised, but no one shows up. This is the first time in a long while that I have seen the Elders come together with young people. It's lovely, and I sincerely thank you for organising this for us."



Funding for this event was made possible by headspace National’s First Nations Wellbeing grant. The grant has allowed us to bring together Elders and young people for a memorable art and pamper day.

We are grateful for the support and participation that made this event such a success. The positive feedback and the impact on the community has been wonderful. We hope to have the opportunity to host another Cultural event for our First Nation’s community in the near future.


If you’d like to learn more about our services and social inclusion work, contact headspace Ipswich at headspace.Ipswich@stride.com.au or call our centre on (07) 3280 7900.


headspace Ipswich acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we live and work, the Jagera / Yuggera and Ugarapul peoples land, and of the many different nations across the wider regions from which we all come. We pay our respects to the Elders, past, present and emerging as the holders of the memories, the traditions, the culture and the spiritual wellbeing of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the nation. We acknowledge any Sorry Business that may be affecting the communities as a whole. In the spirit of reconciliation, partnership and mutual respect, we will continue to work together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to shape our community mental health services to respond to the needs and aspirations of the communities to which we serve.