Deadly support for Indigenous patients

Toowoomba Indigenous Mental Health Workers

Toowoomba Indigenous Mental Health Workers Randall Taylor and Belinda Wilson provide cultural support for Indigenous patients at their review.

Indigenous Mental Health Workers (IMHW) can play a key role in the review process for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients by providing cultural support. They are ideally placed to support the patient before, during and after their review by explaining the Tribunal process, encouraging the patient to attend their review and assisting them to understand Tribunal questions and decisions.

Randall Taylor is the IMHW with the Service Wide Integrated Functions Team (SWIFT) in Toowoomba. He has been in the role for just over a year and believes it is important to support Indigenous patients through the review process.

“Indigenous people like to talk about their culture and where they come from,” Randall says.  “It’s an important part of the healing process and can help treating teams to establish rapport and deepen their understanding. Finding out about where someone was brought up, their community, their land and their place of belonging is an opportunity our treating teams have come to value.  It’s also a good way to get the family involved.”

“I also make a point of going with them to their review.  It helps to have someone by your side.  I can ask the Tribunal to explain if they don’t understand what’s being said. I make sure the cultural page contains useful information for the Tribunal and I try to add to it each time a person is reviewed by the Tribunal.”

Randall says the patient has the best chance of a good outcome when the Tribunal understands something about their culture — who they are and where they come from. A key factor in Randall being able to perform his role so well is the support he receives from his team leader Gail Turner. This enables Randall to work closely with other members of the treating team to provide important cultural support to patients.

We would like to hear from other IMHW’s and team leaders around the state to learn more about their experiences of the Tribunal.  Let us know how we can support the great work you are doing.