From engagement to impact: The Looking Forward Project

Thursday, 23 March 2017
Margaret O'Connell
Dr Michael Wright
Louise Hansen
Joanna Corbett

The Perth Aboriginal (Nyoongar) community raised their concerns about the lack of culturally responsive and respectful mainstream mental health and drug and alcohol services for Aboriginal people. The Looking Forward Project developed an engagement process that harnesses the cultural leadership of Aboriginal Elders to create effective systemic change. Project findings revealed the importance of working within the local context, based on the principles of kinship, Eldership and country. Project participants co-designed the Minditj Kaart–Moorditj Kaart (Sick Head, Good Head) Framework. The Framework is based on a Nyoongar worldview. It aims to develop and maintain meaningful relationships between Elders and services. It guides service providers to engage with Nyoongar clients and their families. It sets out the conditions for working together. The Elders provide cultural direction and legitimacy via their role as cultural consultants. Services integrate these new ways of working ensuring sustainable change. By implementing the Framework, Aboriginal families experiencing mental illness and drug and alcohol concerns will experience better health outcomes. 

We will present on how the Framework creates organisational change to improve relationships between Aboriginal clients, their families, and service providers, and how its implementation impacts health outcomes for Aboriginal clients and their families.