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Serco sponsors Aboriginal Psychology Program for Indigenous Mental Health

Published: 10 Sep 2020

Serco is proud to announce its 4-year sponsorship of the Indigenous Psychology Scholarship Program, delivered by the Westerman Jilya Institute for Indigenous Mental Health. The program supports Aboriginal students with remote and rural connections to study psychology at university and aims to train more Indigenous psychologists to work in high-risk communities.

Dr Tracy Westerman, a proud Nyamal woman, established the Institute this year after spending more than two decades developing specialist, evidence-based psychological practices to address the specific cultural needs and life circumstances of Indigenous people. 

Dr Westerman has trained more than 30,000 clinicians in culturally appropriate psychological approaches and delivered her suicide intervention programs into remote Aboriginal communities throughout Australia. In 2002, she became the first Aboriginal person to complete a combined Master/PhD in Clinical Psychology.

Serco’s scholarship will support one student with $10,000 each year for four years to help with their study, living and transport costs as they undertake their undergraduate degree.

Scholarship recipients were announced on World Suicide Prevention Day, Thursday 10 September, at an event at Government House in Perth. 

Dr Westerman said that she hoped that the stories of the 2020 scholarship recipients would serve to inspire many more Indigenous people to undertake study in the field of psychology.

“Significantly, and due to the support of scholarship donors, in its first year the Institute has been able to support 13 Indigenous Psychology recipients. 

“This followed an extremely competitive assessment process fielding 37 applications of the highest calibre. The number of applicants clearly demonstrates the need for this program and the need for the personal mentoring and support that will be provided by the Institute and myself.”

Serco Australia Chief Executive Officer Peter Welling said that Serco was proud to support the program and specialist education of Indigenous Psychologists. 

“The Westerman Jilya Institute, through this program, will make a real difference to individuals and communities. Ultimately, this is about saving lives and improving the mental health and wellbeing of those most at risk in our community.

“As an organisation that employs more than 100 Psychologists and mental health support staff, it’s wonderful to be able to support a program that will help develop highly skilled practitioners focused on Indigenous mental health.”    

Media contact: Tim Evans, +61 409 389 358
General media enquiries: Serco media line, +61 (0) 2 9409 8700 or [email protected] 

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