Gate opens to suc­cess


Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - FRONT PAGE - Aaron Cor­lett

THE jour­ney of Pav­i­tra Aran’s par­ents from Sri Lanka to Aus­tralia has in­flu­enced her de­sire to work in the men­tal health sec­tor and to help refugees and mi­grants.

The South Perth res­i­dent, who is com­plet­ing her Mas­ters of Clin­i­cal Psy­chol­ogy at Mur­doch Univer­sity, was recog­nised as the over­all win­ner and Health and Well­be­ing Award win­ner at the Western Aus­tralian Young Achiev­ers Awards held at the Pan Pacific on May 12.

“My par­ents came to Aus­tralia in 1988 be­cause of the civil war and their back­ground was one of con­flict and hard­ship,” she said.

“This ties into men­tal ill­ness be­cause of what peo­ple of their back­ground faced and there was also stigma about seek­ing help, but in Aus­tralia that stigma isn’t as bad.

“My mo­ti­va­tion to study psy­chol­ogy is be­cause I wanted to work in a pro­fes­sion where I could help peo­ple. I’ve al­ways been fas­ci­nated by the hu­man mind.”

Ms Aran was recog­nised at the WA Mul­ti­cul­tural Recog­ni­tion Awards last year for cre­at­ing the Face­book page Young Refugees of Western Aus­tralia, which shows pos­i­tive sto­ries and pho­tos of refugees and mi­grants.

“The rea­son I cre­ated the page was be­cause of the neg­a­tive and sad cov­er­age that refugees get,” she said.

“I wanted to show them in a pos­i­tive way, to des­tig­ma­tise them and to fight xeno­pho­bia be­cause th­ese peo­ple have so much grat­i­tude for the op­por­tu­ni­ties they have been given here.”

Ms Aran has worked with Headspace as a Cul­tur­ally and Lin­guis­ti­cally Di­verse (CALD) youth worker.

“We be­lieve the role was the first of its kind in WA, if not in Aus­tralia,” she said.

“I worked with mi­grants and refugees who typ­i­cally have low lev­els of seek­ing help about men­tal health is­sues

“My goal is to be­come a reg­is­tered psy­chol­o­gist; at the mo­ment I’m work­ing at Mur­doch Psy­chol­ogy Clinic.

“In the fu­ture I want to work with peo­ple who have faced trauma and help chil­dren as well, be­cause men­tal ill­ness peaks in ado­les­cents.

“I also want to work with the CALD com­mu­nity to in­crease aware­ness about men­tal health and to en­cour­age them to seek help.”

Ms Aran said she was shocked to win the two hon­ours at the Western Aus­tralian Young Achiev­ers Awards.

“I work with vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in the com­mu­nity, so you learn about ev­ery­thing they’ve been through but you don’t ac­tu­ally think about your­self,” she said.

Ms Aran has also vol­un­teered at Zero2Hero, pro­vid­ing talks and work­shops about youth sui­cide pre­ven­tion in schools around Perth.

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son­mu­ni­ d469278

Pav­i­tra Aran has been recog­nised as one of WA’s young achiev­ers.

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