Ms Amanda Akers1, Ms Cathy Faulkner1
1Cranplus Bush Support Services
Community-led actions creating social support to enhance social networks, or the other way around? This paper looks at ‘the other way around’. Starting with social connections, a Senior Aboriginal Health Worker, teamed up with a non-indigenous Clinical Psychologist to use their social networks, firstly with each other, and then with the broader communities, to create social support, resulting in community-led actions to enhance them. This qualitative reflection of the delivery of a series of CRANAPlus Bush Support Services workshops is a positive example of Working Together to close the gap in the area of mental health and also for the retention of Aboriginal Health Workers, whose numbers are not meeting the previous ratio to meet the increasing population. Qualities of the social connections are revealed and outcomes of this small team’s workshop delivery, enhancing social networks, resulting in community-led action, are presented, as are suggestions for improving the social and emotional well-being and retention of Aboriginal Health Workers.
Amanda Akers is a Clinical Psychologist who has worked in rural and outreach settings in Northern NSW in both public and private sectors. Amanda’s interest area is drug and alcohol issues, she also works with people suffering from trauma, anxiety, depression and other psychological problems. Amanda runs a private practice in Helensvale, QLD. Amanda also works with CRANAPlus Bush Support Services on a casual basis. She provides after-hours telephone counselling and supervision for remote area health workers. Amanda’s work with Bush Support Services includes running workshops on self-care, reflective practice, bullying, and presenting conference papers on rural and remote issues.