Stay Strong – Using Technology to Increase Access to Wellbeing Support for Indigenous Australians

Christabel Lewis1, Josie Povey1, Kylie Dingwall1

1Menzies School Of Health Research, , Australia

Abstract:

For Indigenous Australians, cross-cultural and geographical remoteness may contribute to poorer utilisation of mental health services. Digital mental health services can provide an efficient and cost-effective opportunity to reach populations with poor service access. The AIMhi Stay Strong App is a therapist supported tablet-based application (App) designed specifically for Indigenous Australians. It utilises Motivational Care Planning therapy to facilitate a cross-cultural, strengths-based approach to wellbeing, which identifies a person’s family, strengths and worries, and person-centred goals for change. The App is designed for healthcare practitioners to use with Indigenous clients to address mental health and wellbeing concerns in a range of healthcare settings. The AIMhi approach remains one of the only rigorously tested psychological therapies specifically designed for Indigenous Australians.

Workshop participants will be introduced to the small but growing collection of digital mental health resources available to support the needs of Indigenous people and how to assess the suitability of these in practice. Participants will learn about the AIMhi Stay Strong approach and build practical skills using the Stay Strong App using the tablet devices available. Opportunities for and barriers to implementing the App in practice will also be discussed.

Both facilitators are based at Menzies school of health research and work within the Wellbeing and Preventable Chronic Diseases Division. The AIMhi program of research began in 2003 and has resulted in a wide array of resources, ongoing collaboration with a variety of stakeholders and over 1000 health professionals trained in using the AIMhi approach.


Biography:

Josie Povey is an occupational therapist who has worked as a remote mental health practitioner for 5 years, travelling to remote communities in the NT to deliver mental health services. More recently she has worked within the AIMhi team at Menzies School of health research. Her current role is as a trainer and project manager for a variety of projects focusing on the development and implementation of digital health resources for Indigenous Australians.

Christabel Lewis is also Occupational Therapist who has worked as a mental health practitioner for two years. She currently works across two roles in Darwin; one as a Clinician in the headspace Youth Early Psychosis Program and one as a Project Coordinator in the AIMhi team at Menzies school of health research. Her interests lie in public health and early intervention frameworks that aim to build a more connected and resilient society.