Hock­ing Fel­low­ship

Yanchep res­i­dent wins SANE men­tal health grant to re­search Friend­ship Bench ini­tia­tive.

North Coast Times - - NEWS -

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.

Pic­ture: Verge Stu­dio Pho­tog­ra­phy

Tandi Kuwana is com­mit­ted to rais­ing men­tal health lit­er­acy among mi­grants and cul­tur­ally di­verse com­mu­ni­ties.

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