Tiarnee Schafer

I am a proud Kalkadunga Kintja (Kalkadoon woman) from Mt Isa QLD and currently lives on Gadigal land in Sydney. After losing too many loved ones to suicide, I felt helpless and feelings of despair; why us? We are the oldest living culture; we should be the oldest living people too. I was driven to help bring hope and support others on their healing journey, particularly those in rural and remote areas, as they face additional barriers and are usually forgotten about, unfortunately. This saw me relocate to Brisbane and study psychology, as the best way I thought I could help was to learn and understand best practices, then come back home and support the community.

After completing my Bachelor’s degree, I have continued studying for a Master of Suicidology and am currently completing my fourth year honours in psychology. My lived experiences have made me passionate about improving the Social and Emotional Wellbeing of our mob. I want to make a difference by better understanding best practices in mental health and suicide prevention.

I look forward to progressing onto a Master of Clinical Psychology and becoming the first Kalkadoon Psychologist. I then look forward to going back to Kalkadoon land and working with my people and community and sharing and supporting them through Aboriginal ways of knowing, being and doing, incorporating the skills I have learnt at university.

I am inspired by Dr Tracy Westerman and her vision at the Jilya institute of building an army of Indigenous Psychologists, as our people deserve the best culturally appropriate and safe care. It’s by mob for mob, and I couldn’t think of anything more rewarding than being mentored and surrounded by other deadly Indigenous Psychologists in training, learning, and sharing from one another.