Mental health is a contributor to the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal health in Australia, with the incidence of mental illness and suicide being disproportionately higher amongst Aboriginal people. That said, Aboriginal adults are twice as likely to experience high levels of psychological distress as that of non-Aboriginal adults.
NPY Women's Council is a service delivery, advocacy and support organisation created by Anangu women from 28 remote communities in NT, SA and WA. NPY Women's Council has delivered services and programs since 1980, working with Anangu people to improve their health, wellbeing and safety.
NPY Women's Council established the Uti Kulintjaku project in 2012 to address help-seeking around mental health and wellbeing for Indigenous people in the region.
With our funding support, a partnership between NPY Women's Council and Smiling Mind will be formed to deliver a tech-based program delivering accessible and engaging mental health and wellbeing tools to Indigenous communities in the NPY Women's Council region.
NPY Women's Council's Uti Kulintjaku project will engage its members of senior Indigenous men and women, otherwise known as cultural advisors, to work with Smiling Mind and develop a mindfulness-based meditation program. The cultural advisors will be involved in the process of scripting and recording the meditations in the local Indigenous languages of Pitjantjatjara and Ngaanyatjarra.
The program will be piloted at schools and youth services in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara region with the meditations eventually becoming widely accessible to all community members in the NPY Women's Council region, through the Smiling Mind App and website.
Research has shown that mindfulness based programs can significantly improve mental health and reduce risk of self-harm in non-Aboriginal populations. Currently, no such programs have been developed to cater for the language and culture of Indigenous Australians.
This unique project will provide an opportunity for young Indigenous people of the NPY Women's Council region to access a mindfulness and meditation program appropriate to their language and culture.
The local schools will be introduced to new app based tools and strategies to help improve mental wellbeing amongst the students and increase student attendance.
The program aims to provide an efficient, cost-effective, and accessible tool to reduce the burden of mental health amongst aboriginal people.
To learn more about the program visit NPY Women's Council.