For the past two years a team of Indigenous women and mental health professionals have been coming together to uncover words for talking about mental health in Pitjantjatjara, Ngaanyatjarra and Yankunytjatjara. The group believe that creating a shared understanding of the language used to talk about feelings will improve mental health and emotional literacy, which will lead to increased help-seeking and better communication between Indigenous people and health workers.
“Our group is about bringing things out in the open – talking about mental health and trauma,” say senior Indigenous women from NPY Women’s Council’s Uti Kulintjaku project. “This is to help our families and communities see and understand what’s happening. We’ve now got words to talk about these things with our children and grandchildren. We are bringing things out into the open.”
The innovative work of the Uti Kulintjaku team was recognised with the 2015 NT Administrator’s Medal in Primary Health Care.