The Westerman Jilya Institute for Indigenous Mental Health, (“The Jilya Institute”, or “Jilya”) is an Aboriginal Community Controlled not for profit organisation, registered as a charity with the Australian Charity and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).
Jilya was created in response to the 13 deaths of Aboriginal young people in the Kimberley, the subject of the 2019 Fogliani Coronial Inquiry. These deaths, and the continuing deaths of Aboriginal people by suicide, compelled Dr Tracy Westerman AM to act and do something to support improved access to culturally and clinically complex mental health services which could provide measurable outcomes for high risk communities. She commenced the first Indigenous Psychology Scholarship Program with a personal donation of $50,000. Since then, and in just TWO years we are supporting FORTY ONE Indigenous Psychology Students to ensure there is more capacity on the treatment side and to ensure that never again shall a child die from want in a world of excess.
Jilya’s vision is to reduce Indigenous suicides, build resilience and strengthen wellbeing in Indigenous Australians. We hope to achieve this through leading the development of culturally and clinically informed mental health and suicide prevention responses, and increasing the number of Indigenous Psychologists working in Australia, in our highest risk regional and remote communities.
Help us reach our $600k target!
Now that our army of psychologists has grown to 41, we’re developing a NATIONAL Indigenous Psychology Clinic and Psychological Assessment Service to value add to services on the ground. With 6% of Indigenous people in mental health distress accessing services, Jilya wants to change that unacceptable statistic!
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Why Do we need more Indigenous psychologists
“Imagine having a child caught in the grip of mental illness and there are no services to help. Imagine when you do find a service they struggle with the very basics of cultural understanding that the opportunity for healing is effectively lost”
Dr Tracy Westerman
The ‘system’ has been built by non-Indigenous people, to meet the needs of non-Indigenous people, and is delivered to Indigenous people by, frequently, non-Indigenous people. It is therefore unsurprising that this is failing and the implications of doing nothing new or different are clear. Listen here to Dr Tracy Westerman speaking on ABCs “All In The Mind” on “Why we need more Indigenous Psychologists”
Our children deserve a better future.
Indigenous children die by suicide at 6 times the rate of non-Indigenous children. Our highest risk communities are consistently our most remote. Help us to #BuildAnArmy of Indigenous Psychologists to address the needs of these communities, where successive Governments have failed. Our country has now had generationally the highest child suicide rates in the world. The Dr Tracy Westerman AM Indigenous Psychology Scholarship Program directly addresses the needs of bereaved Indigenous parents and communities by ensuring access to specialist clinical and cultural services into these regions.