Waltja has a new program called “Family Mental Health Support Service.” We work with Titjikala, Santa Teresa and Finke communities. This program helps families who are worried for their children’s and teenagers’ mental health. We all want our children to grow up strong in mind and spirit, sometimes families need a bit of help.
Two of our Community Mental Health Support workers, Jeanette Ungwanaka from Titjikala and Anne-Marie McMillan from Santa Teresa came up with language names for their communities to best describe this program. They are:
Luritja: Titji tjuta waltjangku palya kanyentjaku
“Families holding children in good ways.”
Arrente: Ampe-mape artangentyele arntarnte-aretyeke
“Working together looking after our children.”
The Family Mental Health team supports young people and their families to feel strong and healthy in all areas of their life. We do this together by going out to country, boys and girls camping trips, going hunting, painting, learning from Elders, having community BBQs, playing sport, going to school and organizing family community events. We help families to talk to services and to get the help they need.
We have learnt that it is important for young people and their families to tell their stories. When young people are feeling bad inside, we can help them to talk up about how they feel, and not to feel shame. Together we can talk up about problems young people are having, and together we can learn more about mental health. Waltja workers support others in the community to not feel shame, and to feel happy and strong.
The Waltja team includes two Mental Health Field Workers Erin Turner and Charles Tako, Cultural Mentor Margaret Orr and Community Mental Health workers, Matthew Alice (Santa Teresa), Jeanette Ungwanaka (Titjikala) and Clarissa Young (Finke). Kate Lawrence is the Manager for the program. If you would like to learn more about this program contact any of the Waltja Family Mental Health Team on 8953 4488 or call into Waltja at 3 Ghan Road Alice Springs for a chat.