Yanchep resident wins SANE mental health grant to research Friendship Bench initiative.
YANCHEP resident Tandi Kuwana has received a 2018 Hocking Fellowship to investigate the mental health benefits of the Friendship Bench initiative.
Mental health charity SANE Australia provides grants of up to $20,000 to help Australians travel throughout the world in search of ideas, innovation and excellence.
Ms Kuwana’s project aims to identify global best practice in engaging communities from migrant and diverse cultural backgrounds in a dialogue about mental health and to challenge mental health stigma.
Her commitment to increasing mental health literacy among migrants and culturally diverse communities will take her back to the country where she was born, Zimbabwe, to learn about the Friendship Bench initiative.
The Mental Wellness Keys founder runs activities to raise awareness of mental health in people from countries without established mental health systems.
“This award is such a huge opportunity for me to learn new and innovative ways of reducing the stigma of mental illness in migrants, and new and emerging communities,” she said.
“I chose the Friendship Bench initiative because it is operating in a country with limited mainstream services. People seeking assistance can talk anonymously with trained community workers who provide support and refer them to resources where they can get help.”
The project trains and employs elders to listen to the issues experienced by people in their community, then refer them to a mental health clinician or service.
Tandi Kuwana is committed to raising mental health literacy among migrants and culturally diverse communities.