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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
A free training program that assists members of the community develop grassroots suicide prevention and mental health support strategies is having a positive and life-affirming impact on participants.
Meekatharra local Pamela Hodder (39) learnt about the ‘Grow Local’ program from posters around town and conversations with friends. Intrigued by what it could offer, the small business owner decided to sign up for the 15-month program, which delivers the Certificate IV Mental Health to community members at no charge. It is a decision she does not regret.
“I have suffered from mental health issues since a teenager and I continue to be under the care of a mental health team here at Meekatharra.
“However, I am interested in mental health development for not just myself but my kids, my fellow community members or anyone who needs an ear,” said Pamela who has four children, four step-children, 13 grandchildren and one great grandchild.
“I wanted to broaden my horizons. I have children coming into their teenage years and I want to be able to help if there is a problem. I also want to be able to support my friends if they ever need help.”
Driven by her love for her family, Pamela said she also felt the urge to better understand how the mental health sector functioned.
“Understanding the legal aspects of the sector, and its many systems and processes has been fascinating.”
With just two months until graduation, Pamela has been enjoying the program and is keen to undertake another certificate to fortify the knowledge she has gained.
Grow Local’ was developed by the WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) in 2017 in response to difficulties in recruiting and retaining culturally appropriate mental health workers to support Aboriginal people.
It was initially identified as a need during the filming of Bus of Hope, a documentary that followed a group of people from Leonora as they embarked on a journey to Alice Springs, sharing their personal stories of how suicide has impacted their lives and their tight-knit community.
Delivered by AMA Training Services, the ‘Grow Local’ program will be running training courses in Carnarvon, Bunbury, Northam, Kalgoorlie, Albany and Karratha – with workshops scheduled to begin next month.
The expanded program will be funded by WAPHA, under the Australian Government PHN Program.