Authors: Michael Wright
Event: 2018 TheMHS Conference
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Background: Building Bridges (2017-2019) is a participatory action research project based in Perth, Western Australia. The project involves Aboriginal Elders and young people working directly with youth mental health services to co-design, implement and evaluate a framework for systemic change that increases Aboriginal young people’s engagement with services and builds better relationships between the Aboriginal community and services. Objectives: This presentation will outline our co-design process and the results that are currently being translated into practice. From this, we aim to demonstrate the link between engagement, change and impact, within research and translation. Method: Our research methods are underpinned by a co-design approach and include co-design workshops and consensus building processes. The process and outcomes are driven by the priorities of the Elders and young people. As the nature of co-design is in itself about relationships, central to our research methods is attention to meaningful engagement and the building and sustaining of relationships between participating Elders, young people and service staff. Results: The project has revealed the lack of trust between Aboriginal young people and services is predominantly due to services lack of understanding of Aboriginal culture and spirituality. This lack of trust creates a significant barrier to accessing services and prevents Aboriginal young people from seeking mental health support early and timely. We will present the way in which the values of trust, culture and spirit and ways of working provide the roots from which systemic change can grow, and will unpack what these values look like in action.
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