Girraway Ganyi Consultancy, funded through Eastern Melbourne PHN, has been offering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid workshops since late last year and will soon embark on a series of workshops: ‘Asking the Identifying Question: Are you of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent?’
The workshops are delivered by Girraway Ganyi Consultancy director AJ Williams-Techen, a qualified nurse, youth worker, and social worker of Wiradjuri and Wotjobulak background. AJ has been delivering Mental Health First Aid and Aboriginal Cultural Appreciation training for the past 15 years, working in remote communities and urban settings nationally. His dynamic cultural training programs combine personal stories and anecdotes with insights into the history of Aboriginal people in Australia.
“In order to help close some of the health gaps, including mental health, it is important that we understand Australia’s history in dealing with Aboriginal issues,” says AJ. “What we often think happened years ago, and ‘have no relevance to me’, actually still impact on contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people today.”
With 20 years’ experience working in Aboriginal health, education, and employment, AJ has a keen interest in how health professionals or people involved in decision-making processes can make changes for the future, including suicide prevention in Aboriginal communities and better health outcomes for Indigenous clients, families, and communities.
The upcoming EMPHN workshops, ‘Asking the Identifying Question’, offered on 29 and 30 June and 8 and 9 July, will be conducted by AJ Williams-Techen to explore the importance of and why it is mandatory to ask: ‘Are you of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent?’