Dr Jean Pepperill

My name is Dr Jean Pepperill Penangke. I am a Kaytetye Woman from Barrow Creek in the Northern Territory. I was born in Mparntwe on Central Arrernte Country and raised in Meanjin on Jagera and Turrbal Country. I am a keen hiker, photographer, and painter in my free time.

I currently live in Mparntwe, where I have been working as a doctor after completing a Doctor of Medicine at Flinders University. Since I was a third-year medical student, I have been based in Alice Springs, training and working. In 2022, when I commenced psychiatry training with the Royal Australia New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, I realised there are high levels of psychological distress and high mental health burden in communities in Central Australia. I also noticed standard diagnostic and treatment models were not capturing or addressing the root of high levels of psychological distress amongst these communities. I want to ensure that my future practice is well-informed and culturally safe.

Mental health and wellbeing are extremely important to me. Depression, anxiety and suicide rates are higher amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors and medical students. The ability to take care of ourselves as health professionals and as Indigenous professionals is vital so we can continue to provide vital support and services to our communities.

Through completing these studies, I plan to use my training to redesign how mental health services are delivered in a culturally safe environment in Central Australia.