Adapting the 'family wellbeing' empowerment program to the needs of remote Indigenous school children

Tsey, Komla, Whiteside, Mary, Daly, Sathyabhama, Deemal, Audrey, Gibson, Teresa, Cadet-James, Yvonne, Wilson, Andrew, Santhanam, Radhika, and Haswell-Elkins, Melissa R. (2005) Adapting the 'family wellbeing' empowerment program to the needs of remote Indigenous school children. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 29 (2). pp. 112-116.

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Objective: To adapt the family wellbeing empowerment program, designed to support adults take greater control and responsibility for their affairs, to the needs of remote Indigenous school children.

Method: At the request of two schools in remote Indigenous communities in Far North Queensland, a pilot personal development and leadership program based on the family wellbeing principles was developed, conducted and evaluated in the schools. The main aims of the program were to build personal identity, to encourage the students to think about themselves as people who have a future and to have a greater awareness about their place in their communities and the wider world.

Results: Participation in the program resulted in significant social and emotional growth for the students. Outcomes identified included increased analytical and reflective skills, greater ability to think for oneself, sense of identity, setting goals, less teasing and bullying in the school environment, enhanced friendships and “social relatedness”. Conclusion: The findings of the study confirm the principles of school health promotion that teachers, parents, children and those in the wider community should all be involved in such a program. This is particularly critical in Indigenous settings experiencing high levels of alcohol and other related problems. Initiatives need to first empower and support adults to tackle endemic alcohol related problems, take greater charge of their own situation, so that they in turn can better support young people’s development. The complexities associated with delivering and sustaining school health promotion programs in remote settings are highlighted.

Item ID: 705
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1753-6405
Keywords: empowerment; mental health promotion; remote indigenous schools; positive behaviour change; parental/family involvement
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2005 Copyright Public Health Association of Australia. Reproduced in accordance with publisher policy. Author version.

Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2006
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 > 920399 Indigenous Health not elsewhere classified @ 51%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920408 Health Status (e.g. Indicators of Well-Being) @ 49%
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