The Westerman Jilya Institute for Indigenous Mental Health Scholarship

15 September 2020

The Westerman Jilya Institute for Indigenous Mental Health Announcement of Inaugural Dr Tracy Westerman Indigenous Psychology Program Recipients.

Below is the media release from The Westerman Jilya Institute for Indigenous Mental Health. Scholarship applications are now closed and Life Without Barriers is honoured to have funded several of the scholarships in South Australia.

Life Without Barriers also funded the development of the new Westerman Jilya Institute for Indigenous Mental Health website with the help of our in-house talented graphic design team who helped with design aspects including style guide, logo, letterhead, brochures and social media tiles.

Working with organisations such as The Westerman Jilya Institute for Indigenous Mental Health aligns with our commitment to decrease the rates of suicide, poor mental health and well-being, and incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. You can read more about this in our Reconciliation statement.

Media Release

Jilya means my child in Nyamal: for this is about our children. It reflects the underlying vision of Jilya – to provide a world in which our most vulnerable Indigenous children can have at the very least, an equal opportunity to thrive.

On World Suicide Prevention Day, 10 September 2020, Dr Tracy Westerman, The Westerman Jilya Institute for Mental Health (the Institute) Board, along with The Honourable Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia and Patron for the Institute, will launch the Westerman Jilya Institute for Indigenous Mental Health in the Government House Ballroom.

The launch will celebrate the establishment of the Institute and focus on raising much-needed funds and awareness around the need for dedicated research and training to address the escalation of suicide, mental health, incarceration, and child removal rates in Indigenous Australian populations. The launch will also announce the first recipients of the Dr Tracy Westerman Indigenous Psychology Scholarship Program under the Institute.

The Dr Tracy Westerman Indigenous Psychology Scholarship Program was developed by Dr Westerman in recognition that the voices of bereaved Indigenous parents and communities, who had for decades been crying out for help, remained unheard in any meaningful way. To date, the program has managed to attract close to $800,000 in total commitments, including Dr Westerman’s $50,000 commitment to commence the scholarship in 2018. The Institute hopes that the stories of the incredible 2020 scholarship recipients will serve to inspire many more Indigenous people to undertake study in the field of psychology.

To date the Institute has received four-year commitments from WA Corrective Services, Wanslea Family Services, Life Without Barriers (SA), Kornar Winmil Yunti (KWY) Aboriginal Corporation, SA; Serco; Restore Hope, along with a whopping $250,000 personal donation from Stephen Grant and his family but we need many more if we have any opportunity of addressing the escalating rates of child suicide, incarceration and child removal that are arguably at the world’s highest in Australia.

Significantly, and due to the support of scholarship donors, it its first year the Institute has been able to support 13 Indigenous Psychology recipients. This followed an extremely competitive assessment process fielding 37 applications of the highest calibre. The number of applicants clearly demonstrates the need for this program and the need for the personal mentoring and support that will be provided by the Institute and Dr Westerman.

Recipients of Dr Tracy Westerman Aboriginal Psychology Scholarship Program and the inaugural 2020 scholarship recipients.

The Scholarships are already having an incredible impact on the individual lives of 13 talented and motivated students. Having seen first-hand the struggles Indigenous people face, the recipients are all highly motivated to use their educational opportunities to effect change. The hope of The Western Jilya Institute is that the students, and the future Dr Tracy Westerman Aboriginal Psychology Scholarship recipients, will be instrumental in addressing the high rates of mental ill health and suicide amongst Indigenous people.

Read up on the 2020 recipients here.

Image: Dr Tracy with one of the recipients.