Graphic: Flying Doctor is helping to heal mental health

Flying Doctor is helping to heal mental health

Date published

07 Jul 2021

The RFDS Far North Mental Health and Wellbeing Service is proud to provide free Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid training to several communities across Cape York each year.

“My work is about giving back to community to help people understand the impact of poor mental health. I love empowering people to make better choices for their health and wellbeing.”

Teresa Gibson, a Cairns-based Community Support Worker for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS), is passionate about helping people better understand the impacts of mental health.

This week, Ms Gibson delivered her 20th Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid training session.

She said it was fitting that her personal milestone coincided with NAIDOC Week, an opportunity to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“This year’s theme, ‘Heal Country’, is especially relevant to the work that I do in helping people to make informed decisions for their health and wellbeing,” she said.

“A person’s social and emotional wellbeing directly impacts their physical health and Indigenous people, in particular, are vulnerable when it comes to chronic disease.”

Ms Gibson, who began work with the RFDS in 2013, said it was important that Indigenous people nurture their social and emotional wellbeing, as well as their physical health.

“Mental Health First Aid is a course which teaches participants how to assist people who are developing a mental health problem or experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health problem,” she said.

“Participants also learn what to do in a mental health crisis until appropriate professional help is received, or the crisis resolves.”

RFDS (Queensland Section) Chief Executive Officer Meredith Staib said the RFDS Far North Mental Health and Wellbeing Service was proud to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid training free-of-charge to several communities across Cape York each year.

“As we celebrate NAIDOC Week, the RFDS wishes to reinforce our commitment to acknowledging and honouring the First Nations people,” Ms Staib said.

“We are proud to highlight outcomes from our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which aims to drive and embed reconciliation initiatives into our business.

“Ultimately, through our RAP, we hope to improve health outcomes and build unity, equity and respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.”