More than 165 entries were received from across WA, covering a range of individual and organisation categories in the award’s 20th year.
East Victoria Park resident Nicole Slater (27) is one of four finalists in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year category in recognition of her study toward a Diploma of Community Services (Mental Health).
She is a student at Marr Mooditj Training Inc in Waterford which is one of three finalists in the Small Training Provider of the Year category.
Miss Slater, who has completed a Certificate IV in Mental Health and hopes to go on to study psychology at university, said her younger brother inspired her study choices.
‘He was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a 15-year-old and is now 25 and going through the recovery process,’ she said. ‘Family and friends are an important support network for people with mental health conditions and many do not understand them,’ she said.
‘Many think people with schizophrenia are dangerous but they are really only a danger to themselves. It’s the fear of the unknown. I like to be able to help people can understand those with a mental health condition better.
‘We are getting better at it, the stigma is lessening but I think it was always be there to some extent.’
Miss Slater’s dedication to her training led to a job offer with The Richmond Fellowship of WA, which she aimed for when she began training.
As a not-for-profit organisation, Marr Mooditj has been at the forefront of delivering education and training to the Aboriginal health workforce in WA for the past 30 years.
Training is aimed at those who want to develop or upgrade their skills in the health and/or community services fields, leading to employment as enrolled nurses, Aboriginal health workers, mental health workers or Aboriginal liaison officers.
Marr Mooditj trains WA Aboriginal people who, after returning home, help strengthen the health and wellbeing of residents in their communities.