Developing wellbeing (trauma) informed care approaches across Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in the Kimberley region of WA.

Emma Carlin, a Research Fellow from the Rural Clinical School of Western Australia, University of Western Australia (UWA), is leading a partnership with the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services, Broome Aboriginal Medical Services, and the Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing research project (UWA) to develop and implement Wellbeing Informed Care approaches for Aboriginal Community Controlled primary health care in the Kimberley region.

The Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) is providing $955,000 to fund the project over three years. Th funding will allow the partnership to explore and refine clinical responses to managing experiences of adversity or trauma that many Aboriginal patients experience and the impacts this has on their health care access and engagement. This project will work with clinics and community to co-design and implement emerging best practice informed by international and national trauma informed care research in a place based and culturally secure way.

This project builds on various social and emotional wellbeing research activities undertaken by the partnership over the last five years. This includes a recent publication which demonstrated the high level of patients presenting to remote Kimberley primary health clinics in psychosocial distress or with acute mental health concerns.

At the end of the project, the partnership aims to have developed an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service specific approach to Wellbeing Informed Care alongside an accessible implementation guide that will be available for other interested services.

Emma Carlin said she was thrilled to receive the funding on behalf of the partnership team.

“I am grateful for the opportunity that has been provided to us by the CRCNA, all partners are committed to optimising the way in which Aboriginal people are cared for through their clinical journey. We are looking forward to celebrating and codifying the great work already happening and refining systems based on community and clinical knowledge and need”.

Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services CEO Vicki O’Donnell stated the project can deliver on a much-needed gap in Aboriginal health policy and practice.

“We see trauma informed care talked about a lot in health planning and policy however, how this looks for Aboriginal Community Controlled primary health care, and what this approach can achieve in this context is exciting.”

CRCNA CEO Anne Stünzner said ‘We are delighted to be working with UWA and this group of partners to undertake this project in the Kimberley. We are keen to support the project to link in with stakeholders across Northern Australia to reflect, share, and learn from each other in the emerging space of trauma and wellbeing informed care’.

Project enquiries

Emma Carlin (p) 0419 390 207 (e)