Beaudesert elders step up to lead the way on Indigenous mental health

INDIGENOUS community members within the Scenic Rim are set to benefit after a group of elders recognised a need for more mental health resources and stepped up to be part of the solution.

At their graduation ceremony on April 24, Aunties Levina Page, Ruby Sims, Judi Durand and Fay Ward were joined by fellow student Nicole Coulter to receive their Cert IV in Mental Health.

The graduates gathered at The Centre Beaudesert to celebrate their qualifications as mental health professionals, an accomplishment that came after 12 months of hard work.

The course was undertaken through Gallang Place Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation Counselling Services and sponsored by South Brisbane Primary Health Network with classes at Carinity Illoura in Beaudesert.

Aunty Ruby said she enjoyed the study but would not miss the assignments.

She said the course was delivered in a way that made cultural sense by teachers Amy Keys and Gary Moore.

"There were times when we were able to tell our stories and see how they related to what we were learning," she said.

"Grandmothers in the community already do a lot of work in this area and the course what about being up to date and able to communicate."

Also in attendance were Katalina Tupuola and Batasi Morris from Gallang Place, Kathy Forrest from Scenic Rim Regional Council, Reuben and June Vail from Carinity Illoura, former mayor Joy Drescher and South Brisbane PHN's Louise Litchfield and Lucille Chalmers.

In her graduation speech, Auntie Levina said there were drugs and alcohol in every community and the course helped the elders to understand their children and what they were going through.

"I will be easier now to sit down with a young person and understand, know what we're talking about," she said.

"Now we have this understanding it would be really good to have others take the course.

"We thought if elders got the ball rolling the younger ones might step up and do it too.

"It wasn't a boring journey... I'm proud of the girls who went on this journey and hopeful for the families.

"We can go out there and try to help others."