Aboriginal Mental Health Wellbeing Services
Aboriginal Mental Health Wellbeing Workers and Clinicians work across CAMHS and provide support for Aboriginal children, young people, families, and communities to access a culturally responsive mental health and wellbeing care service.
The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) uses the term Aboriginal to refer to people who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
CAMHS provides free, confidential, and multidisciplinary services for vulnerable children and young people up to 16 years of age (18 in some areas) with severe to acute complex emotional, behavioural, or mental health difficulties. CAMHS recognises that cultural identity and belonging are seen as the most significant factors in making a difference to Aboriginal children, young peoples, and families.
CAMHS community sites are located across Adelaide, and in country, rural and remote South Australia, and it leads the Women’s and Children’s Health Network’s (WCHN) Integrated Model of Care Services for the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankuntjatjarra (APY) Lands. CAMHS also has services based at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, including Mallee Ward and Emergency Mental Health Services. In addition, CAMHS has a Forensic Team that provides mental health and wellbeing care for children and young people in the youth justice system, Kurlana Tapa.
What do Aboriginal Mental Health Wellbeing Workers and Clinicians do?
Aboriginal Mental Health Wellbeing Workers and Clinicians are often the first point of contact for Aboriginal children, young people, families, and communities. They can talk to families about how CAMHS or another service may help you or, your child and family, and what it means to offer a confidential service. Aboriginal Mental Health Wellbeing Workers and Clinicians also assist with cultural, therapeutic and community support:
Cultural wellbeing support
- Cultural connection and identity
- Social connection and wellbeing
- Emotional wellbeing
- Physical wellbeing
- Family relationships and kinship networks
- Spiritual wellbeing and connection to country
- Engaging, connecting, and building relationships with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal key service providers for best care pathways and referrals.
- Cultural context of mental health and wellbeing is part of the assessment process according to a broader holistic concept of Aboriginal mental health wellbeing.
- Co-working with non-Aboriginal clinicians to support Aboriginal children and young people in CAMHS appointments.
- Care planning processes with 'culture’ being central to mental health wellbeing care plans and formulation including use of a cultural assessment tool, the Menzies Stay Strong App.
- Cultural activities including painting, jewellery making, yarning circles, making yidakis.
- Journey to Respect and Journey to Respect Sista Girls 2 programs.
Aboriginal community support
- Occasional one-on-one opportunities to support individuals in a non-therapeutic capacity.
- Engaging, connecting, and building relationships with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal key partners for best client care pathways and referrals
- Encouraging Aboriginal children, young people, and families to share their lived experience to provide cultural mental health wellbeing connection and pride through participation in:
- Aboriginal community groups
- Mums and Bubs groups
- Men’s groups
- Cultural activities and camps
- Journey to Respect and Journey to Respect Sista Girls 2 programs
Speak to an Aboriginal Mental Health Wellbeing Worker and Clinician
- Central Metro Community CAMHS
- Eastern site - 7117 3800
- Western site – 8341 0122
- Northern Metro Community CAMHS – 8252 0133
- Southern Metro Community CAMHS – 8326 1234
- Northern Country CAMHS - 7117 3700
- Southern Country CAMHS - 8351 3922
CAMHS locations can be found here.
Referrals to CAMHS
- Walk-ins to a CAMHS community site
- Contact our CAMHS Aboriginal Mental Health Wellbeing Workers and Clinicians
- CAMHS Connect (CAMHS Centralised Triage system) on 1300 222 647
Referrals via Aboriginal Mental Health and Wellbeing Worker in a CAMHS Community Teams
Referrals to CAMHS are more likely to come through to the Aboriginal Mental Health Wellbeing Worker and Clinician in each community CAMHS team, based on community relationships. This form of direct access is encouraged to reduce cultural and personal barriers for service provision. CAMHS Aboriginal Mental Health Wellbeing Workers and Clinicians will determine the agency most suitable to assist you, whether that is CAMHS or another mental health and wellbeing service provider.
Aboriginal children and young people accepted as CAMHS clients will be offered an Aboriginal Mental Health Wellbeing Worker and Clinician at any stage of care to promote engagement and ensure that the services are delivered in a culturally responsive and respectful way.
Allocation will occur at the community team level by the Clinical Coordinator. Allocation will be to a Mental Health Clinician and an Aboriginal Worker or Clinician (where requested or as appropriate), based on the most appropriate person to support any presenting issues. Consumer requests for Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal workers are also welcome.
Where the allocated clinician is non-Aboriginal and there is not a co-allocated Aboriginal Mental Health Worker and Clinician, a de-identified cultural consultation process can occur out of session to ensure the cultural needs are met when supporting the child or young person’s care.
Direct referrals to CAMHS Connect
Referrals and enquiries can be made to CAMHS Connect on 1300 222 647 during office hours. CAMHS Connect is staffed by Mental Health nurses and Allied Health practitioners. You are encouraged to seek advice from your GP, your child’s GP or current health care provider before contacting CAMHS Connect, as intake criteria applies.
Your healthcare provider is best placed to support you with your concerns in the first instance, and they may contact us for referral in consultation with one of our triage clinicians. Please note that CAMHS Connect is a referral triage service for CAMHS, and we are unable to provide an emergency/crisis response.
In an emergency or if you need urgent assistance, please call Triple Zero (000).
CAMHS welcomes both compliments and complaints when you have not had a positive experience from services offered. CAMHS respects and cares that your voices have been heard. Please complete the WCHN Consumer Feedback Form, WCHN Consumer Experience Survey or email your feedback to HealthWCHNConsumerFeedback@sa.gov.au.
If you would like to participate in a consumer and carer advisory group, please complete the WCHN Consumer Registration form or talk to one of our staff.
Adults Supporting Kids (ASK) acknowledges the strength of cultural parenting practices and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of raising children and young people to be strong, resilient, and happy. Extra support is available to help your family stay safe during the hard times. ASK can help you find support services and people to yarn to or walk alongside you.
The Stay Strong App is an innovative tool that addresses the mental health and wellbeing concerns of First Nations Australians using a cross-cultural approach. The app is based on more than 15 years of research and collaboration within the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Initiative (AIMhi). It is designed to promote wellbeing by reviewing strengths, worries and the goals or changes people would like to make in their lives.
Well Mob provides mental health, social, emotional, and cultural wellbeing online resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.