Listening, sharing understanding and facilitating consumer, family and community empowerment through a priority driven partnership in Far North Queensland

Haswell-Elkins, Melissa, Reilly, Lyndon, Fagan, Ruth, Ypinazar, Valmae, Hunter, Ernest, Tsey, Komla, Gibson, Victor, Connolly, Brian, Laliberte, Arlene, Wargent, Rachael, Gibson, Teresa, Saunders, Vicki, McCalman, Janya, and Kavanagh, David (2009) Listening, sharing understanding and facilitating consumer, family and community empowerment through a priority driven partnership in Far North Queensland. Australasian Psychiatry, 17 (s1). S54-S58.

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Abstract

Objectives: This paper provides an example of a mental health research partnership underpinned by empowerment principles that seeks to foster strength among community organizations to support better outcomes for consumers, families and communities. It aims to raise awareness among researchers and service providers that empowerment approaches to assist communities to address mental health problems are not too difficult to be practical but require long-term commitment and appropriate support.

Methods: A collaborative research strategy that has become known as the Priority Driven Research (PDR) Partnership emerged through literature review, consultations, Family Wellbeing Program delivery with community groups and activities in two discrete Indigenous communities. Progress to date on three of the four components of the strategy is described.

Results: The following key needs were identified in a pilot study and are now being addressed in a research-based implementation phase: (i) gaining two-way understanding of perspectives on mental health and promoting universal awareness; (ii) supporting the empowerment of carers, families, consumers and at-risk groups through existing community organizations to gain greater understanding and control of their situation; (iii) developing pathways of care at the primary health centre level to enable support of social and emotional wellbeing as well as more integrated mental health care; (iv) accessing data to enable an ongoing process of analysis/sharing/planning and monitoring to inform future activity.

Conclusion: One of the key learnings to emerge in this project so far is that empowerment through partnership becomes possible when there is a concerted effort to strengthen grassroots community organizations. These include social health teams and men’s and women’s groups that can engage local people in an action orientation.

Item ID: 10836
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-1665
Keywords: Aboriginal; empowerment; Indigenous; mental health
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2010 05:47
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health @ 60%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 40%
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