The Dr Tracy Westerman INDIGENOUS Psychology Scholarship PROGRAM
Developing the Next Generation of Indigenous Psychologists
“I want to #BuildAnArmy of Indigenous Psychologists to address the needs of our most vulnerable Indigenous communities across this country” –
Dr Tracy Westerman, NITV, September 2019
Dr Westerman launched the Dr Tracy Westerman Indigenous Psychology Scholarship Program in October 2018 by donating $50,000. The scholarship provides eligible Indigenous psychology students with $10,000 per year (full time) to assist with study, living and transport costs, affording vital financial assistance at any stage of their undergraduate or postgraduate degree.
In the inaugural year the scholarship became so generously supported via mostly corporate and public donations that FIVE recipients were announced at a ceremony at Government House. The scholarship preferences Indigenous psychology students with remote and rural connections and/or who wish to work in remote and rural locations upon graduation.
Since this time, Dr Westerman has managed to raise funding of over $700,000 in commitments for corporate, government, non-profit and Aboriginal community controlled commitments which meant that the scholarship expanded beyond its initial focus of Western Australia.
Enter the incorporation of the non-profit charity, the Westerman Jilya Institute for Indigenous Mental Health which was launched on WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY, September 10th at Government House in Perth. We were very proud to announce THIRTEEN inaugral recipients under the Jilya Institute.
The Jilya Institute has enabled not only the scholarship to expand nationally but to also ensure that we are addressing the significant gaps in Aboriginal suicide, mental health, justice, child protection, trauma, attachment and educational outcomes.
Across Australia, Indigenous suicides occur at more than double the rate of non-Indigenous suicides with our highest risk regions, consistently and generationally being our most remote ones. Alarmingly, 30% of child deaths in Indigenous communities are by suicide. Dr Westerman believes that support for Aboriginal people suffering from mental health related illness that can lead to suicide needs to be guided by practitioners who have both clinical and cultural expertise and who are mentored around evidence based best practice.
By eliminating the very real financial barrier for Indigenous students to study, her scholarship program aims to increase the number of Indigenous psychologists, which she will also personally mentor to ensure that they are skilled in Indigenous-specific mental health, suicide prevention and intervention programs, ultimately taking their experience back to the most disadvantaged, high- risk communities to facilitate real change.
The aim of the scholarship is:
• To foster the development of the next generation of clinicians committed to researching and delivering evidence based best practice into our high-risk communities
• Will focus on students with remote and rural connections who are eager to continue to work in these Communities post study
I invite you to join with me by contributing to this Program – we are seeking private, corporate, government and other funds to contribute to the future generations of our communities.
HOW TO DONATE:
Donations are fully tax deductible under Jilya’s Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status.
For more information contact Indigenous Psychological Services on (08) 9362 2036