‘Tune In, To Country’ NSW Health Aboriginal Mental Health & Wellbeing Workforce Forum 17-18 May 2023
The 2023 Aboriginal Mental Health and Wellbeing Workforce Forum was proudly hosted by the Far West Local Health District on 17th & 18th May 2023. The Far West LHD Aboriginal Mental Health Drug & Alcohol Services took the opportunity to showcase and demonstrate the CORE values of the Far West LHD and demonstrate partnerships and connectedness through the theme ‘Tune In, To Country’.
“'Tune In, To Country’ is an acknowledgment of the achievements that have taken place on country. The Forum offered insights into what we all bring to our country and how country takes care of us. Being on country is a part of our identity. It helps us heal, learn, and teach”.
Corina Kemp, Committee Member and Director Aboriginal Health and Community Relations at the Far West LHD stated, "the forum enabled the Far West LHD to demonstrate the positive working relationships and the importance of developing a strong partnership with the Aboriginal Medical Services and other agencies to ensure culturally safe and sensitive services are delivered to Aboriginal People”.
The Forum brought together Aboriginal Mental Health & Social and Emotional Wellbeing workers from Public Health sectors, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and other Non-Government Organisations, and other people that support mental health & social and emotional wellbeing, including service providers and researchers.
Approximately 200 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal participants attended the forum, travelling from across NSW and interstate, working within various streams of Aboriginal Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Services.
The Forum was supported by local Aboriginal Artists and local and national service providers holding a stall, sharing information, resources, cultural artefacts, local art and cultural knowledge and storytelling.
A gala dinner attracted over 140 delegates, having Wilcannia band Black Shadows, Leroy Johnson and the band provide great energetic entertainment for the evening. The gala dinner provided delegates the opportunity to network and connect.
“A Walk on Country was held at Mutawintji National Park as part of the forum, where Owen Whyman and the Wilcannia Cultural Dancers welcomed all delegates with a Welcome and Cultural Dancing. This highlighted the distinctiveness and importance of a welcome to the lands of the traditional owners, the Malyankapa and Pandjikali people.
Mutawintji tour guides Mark Sutton, Keanu Bates and Alfred Fazledeen shared the enrichments of the sacred sites that included a visit to the Cultural Centre.
They shared the history of the Aboriginal engravings, sacred sites, bush tucker and artworks that was left behind by the Ancestors that walked the sacred lands before us. The day ended with a cultural smoking ceremony as part of the Aboriginal Culture, a cleansing / healing ceremony said Ms Kemp”.