Social Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) Network
The SEWB Network funded by WNSW PHN as part of the suicide prevention trial undertakes various non-clinical, community-based initiatives to strengthen the social and emotional wellbeing of local Aboriginal community members. These initiatives include activities such as ‘Brothers for Recovery’ men’s Healing Camps, ‘Walkabout Barber’ and ‘Lateral Violence/Healing’ workshops.
The best available research evidence indicates that these types of interventions are essential for work within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander conceptualisations of health and wellbeing and are consistent with research findings about the type of work likely to be most effective in reducing rates of suicide
The aim of the project is to identify and make recommendations for the implementation of SEWB measurement tools for participants in non-clinical, community-based initiatives.
The WNSW PHN SEWB network consists of our SEWB contracted services: Coomealla AHC, Coonamble AHS, Yoorana Gunya Family Healing Centre Aboriginal Corporation, Orange AMS, Maari Ma HAC, Peak Hill Aboriginal Medical Service.
We participate in facilitating the network and providing updates from our organisation regarding SEWB, along with guidance. This approach creates
conversation and collaboration driven by the SEWB providers themselves, which is what they have intended since inheriting the network.
The outcomes of the project would be:
- Local service providers are consulted about the methods they currently use and/or the challenges they face in undertaking evaluations of relevant activities (including the application of trauma informed practice principles).
- WNSW PHN is provided with a report that includes:
- A scan of relevant research literature
- Summary of consultations with providers
- Recommendations about what evaluation tools would be suitable for providers to use and strategies to support and enhance their routine use by providers.
- In consultation with the authors, the research findings would be made publicly available to the (Indigenous) health, wellbeing and community work sectors and submitted for publication in relevant professional journals.
All Staff Day 2021
We facilitated the all-staff day during 2021 with cultural immersion activities provided by proud Tubba-Gah Wiradjuri man Lewis Burns.
This day included talks about local Aboriginal culture, vibration therapy, traditional dancing lessons, the meaning of symbols and the use of ochre with different colours meaning different things (yellow can only be used by women, and red can only be used by men in this area).
Along with this, we had an all-day activity: an ongoing artwork that had a contribution from all staff present on the day.
Set to be released during the 2022-23 financial year, the WNSW PHN Waluwin Strategy underscores why engaging with Aboriginal people and communities when done in the ‘proper way’ will support our goal of strengthening and enhancing the capacity to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people and their communities.
This Strategy supports the WHAL Commissioning Framework for how WNSW PHN undertakes its role as a commissioner of services to support Aboriginal people and communities in accessing appropriate health services as identified by needs analysis.
The intent of the Strategy and the associated Aboriginal Engagement Guide: Engaging the ‘proper way’ for Staff (the Guide) is reflected in the WNSW PHN Strategic Plan. The Strategy and Staff Guide
support staff to:
- develop and improve cultural competence within WNSW PHN and commissioned health services through a sustained focus on knowledge, awareness, behaviour, skills, and attitudes at all levels of service in tailoring service delivery to the needs and priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.
- improve cultural competence in commissioned services by working with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to enhance their capacity to provide a wide range of services to their communities.
- develop commissioning processes that build capacity and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, and which minimise the fragmentation and lack of coordination caused by competitive tendering processes.
- understand the role of Reconciliation in closing the gap in the outcomes for Aboriginal people and the objectives for the actions in WNSW PHN’s Reconciliation Action Plan.
Aboriginal Community Engagement Strategy
This guide is for all WNSW PHN staff, contractors and partners to support them in improving relationships with Aboriginal people in the workplace and in the community to improve service delivery and close the gap.
It also ensures that Aboriginal people are included in local decision making within their own communities, empowering them to take control of the future health outcomes of their own people.
It is supported by the Western NSW Primary Health Network Aboriginal Engagement Strategy 2020 (AES) and A Transition to Cultural Safety in Service Delivery: A Western NSW Primary Health Network Framework (CSF).
The WNSW PHN Community and Consumer Engagement Framework provides the overarching framework for the principles of engagement.
Understanding the ‘proper’ way of engaging at individual, local and regional level is essential to building rapport and trusting relationships and partnerships.
This Guide is underpinned by the guiding principles outlined in the WNSW PHN Aboriginal Engagement Strategy – Waluwin the ‘Proper Way’ 2020.
As a snapshot, projects already completed as part of the Aboriginal Engagement Strategy include:
- Culturally significant dates calendar.
- Aboriginal Engagement Strategy, Waluwin digital document.
- Aboriginal Engagement Strategy, Waluwin staff document.
- Engagement and communication promoting access to health care and grants in progress.
- Promoting culturally safe practices in progress.
- Engaging with LALC, AMS, ACCHOs etc. in discussions around “Closing the Gap” targets the Waluwin way.
- Engaging with LALCs and AMSs to promote access to healthcare
- Primary Health Program Officer and Practice Support teams engaging with the ACCHOs and GPs to develop and implement culturally safe practices.
Western NSW Primary Health Network Scholarships have been made available for eligible students at Charles Sturt University. These scholarships are designed to help progress and maintain a locally developed and sustainable workforce in our region, targeting 1st Year Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students studying a Diploma of Health Science (Mental Health) through the CSU Wagga Wagga campus.
Each of the scholarships granted will total $8000.
Redesigned Integrated Team Care Program
The revised Integrated Team Care (ITC) Program from WNSW PHN is funded by the Australian Government to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with chronic conditions and will be fully operational from January 1, 2023.
The program’s revision follows region-wide stakeholder and community consultations undertaken between July 2021 and February 2022 that identified several improvement areas required to deliver better outcomes
Areas of the program identified for improvement included the inclusion of care coordination to aid patients to navigate often complex pathways to the level of care each person requires, including specialist services.
Local delivery of the program was also identified as being vital for local residents to ensure the service has the ability to be tailored to specific community requirements, while also aligning with National Guidelines.
The region’s Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS), Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) and other key stakeholders have been involved in the co-design of the program. All AMSs within the WNSW
PHN region are now being offered a direct contract to manage the delivery of service directly to their patients, while also having the option to contract other organisations to deliver the service on their behalf.
In addition to this, WNSW PHN is seeking providers to offer additional access points to care through the program. Current services are continuing with full funding to the end of December 2022 when the new ITC Program will become fully operational to ensure no disruption to services.
The first WNSW PHN Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) was officially launched in November 2021 in conjunction with Reconciliation Australia.
As well as identifying existing work being undertaken by WNSW PHN aligned to its strategic vision of improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in and connected to our region, the WNSW PHN Reflect RAP identifies several actions and deliverables that are to be embedded in its operational plans.
- Establishing and strengthening mutually beneficial relationships with stakeholders and organisations
- Promoting reconciliation through WNSW PHN’s sphere of influence
- Promoting positive race relations through anti-discrimination strategies
- Increasing understanding, value and recognition of Indigenous cultures, histories, knowledge, and rights through cultural learning
- Demonstrating respect and creating culturally safe and respectful environments
- Improving employment outcomes and increasing supplier diversity
- Increasing grant opportunities
- More than 60% of tasks are complete
- 30% of tasks are nearing completion
- 10% of tasks are starting shortly
WNSW PHN now plans to commence work on its Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan before the end of 2022.