Richmond Fellowship of NSW

The Richmond Fellowship of NSW and our program partner Greater Western Area Health Service have historically invested in cultural awareness training, however, in terms of evidence based improvements to service provision to Aboriginal people with a mental illness, it was not providing robust sustainable changes to organisational culture. This in turn is reflected in poor generic program participation by Aboriginal people and retention rates of Aboriginal people in specialist programs. Organisationally we did not have the capacity to measure the competency benchmarks and provide the training necessary to increase cultural competency. In short, the IPS package was one of the most complete processes we looked at. One of the primary values is that the IPS process affords an opportunity to engage in systemic, proactive and purposeful organisational change in relation to cultural competency and responsiveness. What is provided is a usable and practical set of tools that is able to transcend the identified shortfalls in previous cultural awareness approaches. I would like to thank you and IPS for delivering a suite of competency material that has been so successful in meeting the needs of our organisation.


The Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH) NSW has engaged Indigenous Psychological Services based on their extensive experience in the sector and unique mix of clinical and cultural understanding they bring to the complex areas of Social and Emotional Well Being and Mental Health. The projects undertaken by them is indicative of the broad range of skills IPS possess and their ability to successfully undertake complex initiatives at a strategic, policy level and at the community, service delivery end of the spectrum. The effective blend of clinical, cultural and community understanding IPS that underpins their approach ensures they are extremely well positioned to undertake a range of activities in the areas of Mental Health.

State Forensic Mental Health Services WA

“We had the opportunity to engage IPS in completing a cultural security audit for our organisation. The final report submitted by IPS for this project was comprehensive and is being used as a blueprint for how we should begin to address indigenous issues in our organisation. I highly commend IPS as a leader in provision of mental health services for Indigenous Australians.”

Department of Health and Ageing, WA

In my role as Director of Health Branch (including OATSIH) in the WA Office and working with IPS I was impressed with the professional nature of the service and the high level of expertise and experience in this service. This expertise started at the top of IPS with its managing director – Dr Tracy Westerman. As the leader within the organisation Dr Westerman brings to the field a perfect blend of understanding, passion and commitment with the relevant academic learnings being applied. Her commitment to quality outcomes for the community reflects her understanding of what is important when dealing with community members. IPS set the benchmark for the standards required and has the ability and skills to deliver over and above the program reporting requirements. The work of IPS is excellent, their professional application second to none. Demand for their work is very high, while at the same time the resources allocated by Governments do not reflect this high level of need. Resource development is one of the strengths that IPS provides and with the right resources the opportunities would be significant.

Life Without Barriers, South Australia

At Life Without Barriers we were honoured to have been able to provide to our senior management team in South Australia and our mental health services staff with IPS’ ABORIGINAL MENTAL HEALTH CULTURAL COMPETENCY INTERVENTION PROGRAM. It was an amazing and valuable experience for all involved and has ensured better outcomes for our Aboriginal clients and communities. Our staff described Dr Westerman’s delivery of this program as being invaluable for all Australians, as it provided insight into aspects of Aboriginal culture that are not readily available to white Australia. It also encouraged a sense of community, of respect, and challenged us to be open to different perspectives and understandings of cultural issues and of Aboriginal mental health. Dr Westerman is unique in that she walks in two worlds, in a sense, and sensitively and respectfully assists both Indigenous and non-indigenous cultures to understand each other more effectively, to value culture and the lessons it can teach, and to move towards working together in a partnership that embraces all Australians. Overall, for our organisation the Cultural Competency Intervention Program challenged and inspired our team in all the right ways, and has opened the door for movement from ignorance to a true sense of respect and community. We are better people and better mental health practitioners for having experienced this unique opportunity.

Life Without Barriers

Cindy Turner

Area Operations Manager | Mental Health & Country Services| Life Without Barriers

Workshop Testimonials

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Thank you for the opportunity

I want to thank you so much for the opportunity for me to hear the amazing things your doing for our people. You have definitely inspired me to continue on my journey. For some reason you made me feel to not be so scared and what I think I cant do, I will be able to do it, it just takes time. Being able to come and spend time with yourself would be one of the best opportunities I could ever could ever imagine.

Thank you.

Kristen Ella,
Aboriginal Mental Health Trainee/Worker,
Ryde Community Mental Health Centre, NSW

February 13, 2017

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