Remoteness, limited services, language, literacy and cultural differences are the basis for many of the challenges faced by NPY Women's Council members. Trauma and mental health issues disproportionately affect many anangu (aboriginal people of this region) and can have a profound impact on children. NPYWC recognises that there are multiple knowledge systems in this region, as well as many languages, and that we need to share these understandings before we can develop effective responses to problems. The NPY Women's Council Ngangkari program has created the Uti Kulintjaku project, which brings together ngangkari (traditional healers), senior Anangu, interpreters and mental health practitioners in workshops to strengthen bi-cultural mental health literacy for Anangu and non-Aboriginal health professionals. The team have produced a range of resources to improve the emotional vocabulary of anangu children and also explain how trauma can affect their behaviour.
This project strengthens the capacity of anangu women to address mental health and related issues in ways that draw on their strengths, abilities and culture as well as their new knowledge of western mental health. It also strengthens the capacity of the local mental health team to engage with and communicate more effectively with anangu, to ‘see through their eyes’.
Building on the experience of the UK workshops, ngangkari team are currently working with men to develop innovative ways to prevent domestic and family violence, using cultural stories as metaphors that have contemporary relevance.
The UK Project is highly regarded for the integrity, authenticity and relevance of its work and its resources.