Nanko-walun Porlar Nomawi wins Excellence in Mental Health award

EXPERIENCE: Nanko-walun Porlar Nomawi workers Harley Hall and Leslie Saunders with their recent accolade for supporting Indigenous youth.

EXPERIENCE: Nanko-walun Porlar Nomawi workers Harley Hall and Leslie Saunders with their recent accolade for supporting Indigenous youth.

The Murraylands is now host to another award winning mental health service.

Nanko-walun Porlar Nomawi (NPN), aimed at improving the wellbeing of local indigenous youth, has been named winner of the Mental Health Excellence and Innovation award.

The workers assist Aboriginal youth across the district to reconnect with their culture and reduce the risk of involvement with child protection or youth justice.

Regional Manager of Hills Murraylands Child Adolescent Mental Health Service Robyn Duckworth said the award was a “real affirmation of working in culturally acceptable ways”.

“It’s very exciting that different approaches to mental health are being acknowledged,” she said.

The team accepted their award at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday, October 11.

Team coordinator Lesley Saunders said her role was extremely rewarding and the award gave them gratification that their unique approach was working.

“We have these great jobs where we enjoy coming to work every day to support young people and their families,” she said.

“Its all about keeping families together and keeping them strong, and its great to see applying our cultural knowledge and experience is working.”

She said the team worked to reconnect youth with aspects of their culture that had been lost.

“We’ve had culture embedded in us from when we were young but it isn’t as strong as it used to be among youth,” she said.

For Harley Hall, the strongest affirmation came from watching his “young fellas” improve.

“It’s great to get acknowledged by mainstream services but for me it’s more about seeing the kids develop,” he said.

“I used to be in court every Tuesday with some of my boys but now they are returning to school, utilising the Independent Learning Centre or getting work.”

Harley Hall said the service was taking children “back to their roots”.

“We relate to the work of our ancestors and their culture to connect with the children,” he said.

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