Authors: Greater Western Area Health Service (Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol)
Event: 2010 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: NSW
Award level: Winner
Award category: Regional and/or Remote Services or Programs
Abstract: The Greater Western Area Health Service Aboriginal Mental Health Workforce Program provides on-the-job and university-based training for rural and remote Aboriginal Mental Health Workers in New South Wales. In addition to the training and workplace components, the program also supports graduate workers via mentoring, clinical supervision and pastoral support. The program also provides a distinct career structure for Workers. Aboriginal trainees are selected via an interview process to undertake a three year degree program (Djirruwang Course, Charles Sturt University). The trainees are supported financially to attend the Course. They also receive 12 weeks approved study leave per year. Upon completion of the traineeship, graduates are offered permanent employment within the Area Mental Health Service as Mental Health Workers. Graduates also have the opportunity to move into positions including senior clinician, specialist project worker and Area Coordinator Aboriginal Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol. The Area Mental Health Service aims to achieve a 20% Aboriginal workforce by 2020. Description of Facility/Organisation: Greater Western Area Health Service (GWAHS) is the largest health service in NSW. It has 108 facilities, including 33 Public Hospitals, 16 Multi Purpose Services and 59 Community Health Centres. The population is dispersed across a huge geographic area - 444,586 square kilometres, representing more than 55 per cent of NSW. The Aboriginal population in the region is 8%. There are two major non-metropolitan referral hospitals - Dubbo and Orange Base and six district non-metropolitan hospitals - Bathurst, Broken Hill, Cowra, Forbes, Mudgee and Parkes. GWAHS is also affiliated with the University of Sydney Medical School and is home to the University Department of Rural Health in Broken Hill, the NSW Rural Institute of Clinical Research and Training and the NSW Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health. The Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Service employs 728 FTE staff of whom 28 are Aboriginal people. The annual MHDA budget for the financial year 09/10 is $92 million.