- To engage with managers, service providers, Aboriginal Mental Health Workers and communities to explore mental health in remote communities and to find new ways to deliver services.
The five year action research project was the largest mental health research project to date in the Northern Territory (NT). It established base line measures, explored understandings of mental health from the community perspective, developed service based strategies for improved cross cultural assessment, conducted the first Indigenous mental health clinical trial of a new brief psychotherapy, and developed a range of resources for service providers and the community linked with a training program.
A summary of the projects conducted as part of AIMhi NT are:
- AIMhi Baseline measures in Indigenous mental health, 2003: explored hospitalisation data in the Top End and conducted a service provider survey of community mental health issues
- AIMhi mental health story teller mob: developed stories and multi media resources in Indigenous mental health
- Indigenous mental health relapse prevention trial: a clinical trial in Indigenous remote communities which tested effectiveness of ‘motivational care planning’
- Audits and Best Practice in Chronic Disease projects: developed a mental health and youth health audit tool for remote services
- ‘Yarning about mental health’: Developed remote service provider training in cross cultural approaches to mental health
- AIMhi – Cowdy project: a current randomised controlled trial exploring the effectiveness of ‘motivational care planning’ as a discharge intervention in the acute in patient setting.
Implications for policy and practice:
- Plain English resources for use in assessment and treatment are valued by service providers.
- Brief motivational care planning interventions are acceptable to service providers and Indigenous clients in a range of services including mental health, alcohol and other drugs, and chronic disease settings.
- The pilot randomised controlled trial of 'Motivational Care Planning' showed improved outcomes in wellbeing and substance use.
- Evaluation of ‘Yarning about Mental Health’ training showed improved trainee confidence and perceived knowledge in communication with Indigenous people with mental health concerns.
- Training in screening and brief mental health treatments requires workplace support to lead to sustained changes in practitioner behaviour.
The project commenced in 2003 and was completed in 2009.