Mental Health (Weirn Mooditj)

DYHSAC offers a confidential and professional counselling service that supports people to work through their challenges.

These challenges may include trauma, anxiety and depression. Many of our clients have experienced trauma through the influence of colonisation. This has an impact on many aspects of people’s lives, further contributing to psychological difficulties, substance use, domestic violence, a sense of low self-worth, challenges with employment and education and sometimes sexual abuse. The effect of the Stolen Generation remains highly prevalent in nearly all presentations of our clients seeking counselling.

The role of the counsellor varies from having a good yarn to providing more specific therapies for each client. These include psychodynamic, cognitive- behavioural and comprehensive EMDR treatment (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy). There is provision of assessment and treatment for mental health difficulties across all ages and life stages from childhood all the way to the last stage of life, with particular focus on complex trauma presentations, domestic violence, alcohol and substance abuse, sexual abuse, attachment and relationship issues in a culturally appropriate context.

Whilst the primary client group is individual adults, we also work with children, adolescents and families and are able to provide couple therapy, developmental assessment, and carer support.

The counsellor works with the doctors and other agencies to deliver the best care and support for clients, and will also advocate to services like the Department of Housing, Child Protection and Family Service, Centrelink, Day Dawn and Aboriginal Legal Service. The counsellor has forged specific liaison relationships with other trauma speciality and Aboriginal services to enhance integrated care for clients; this includes the Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC), Yorgum counselling and Wungening Alcohol and Drug Services.

DYHSAC also provides a visiting Psychologist service and employs a part-time Mental Health Nurse. These professionals work in conjunction with the Counsellor and GPs to provide a continuity of care.

Over the past year the counsellor has delivered training in the Developmental Impact of Trauma in the Aboriginal Context to both the medical team and Aboriginal NGO services. This has been aimed at enhancing inter and intra-service collaboration and increasing mindfulness of the impact of trauma. The training has been well received. Further training has been offered in the area of prevention of sexual abuse and privacy and protective behaviours in the developmental period. The counsellor has also completed advanced training and achieved certification in the assessment and treatment of sleep disorders. This is likely to enhance overall clinical service delivery. Clients can self-refer to the DYHSAC counselling service or be referred by their doctor.

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