Issue 2
Monday, 06 April 2020
Charles Darwin University
E-news
Ngawurramangajirri (we care for each other) aims to encourage conversations around wellbeing and mental health in the community
Ngawurramangajirri (we care for each other) aims to encourage conversations around wellbeing and mental health in the community

Promoting mental health and wellbeing in Tiwi

By Paul Dale

Mental health and wellbeing are not concepts often discussed in Tiwi culture, but a group of elders, researchers and school children hope to change that with a new reference guide.

Ngawurramangajirri (we care for each other) is a phrasebook featuring Tiwi to English translations and illustrations to encourage conversations around wellbeing and mental health in the community.

Cathy Pumuralimawu Stassi, a Tiwi elder and one of the book’s authors, said the book was an important tool to help people start conversations about mental health and wellbeing and how to talk about it.

“We are helping our people to keep our culture strong, respect each other and look after ourselves and others, our land and our creators, Purrukupali and his mother, Murntankala,” Cathy said.

“We would like people to know we feel this is just the beginning. Others might like to make their own story. We included many people’s views and interpretations. We hope this book encourages Tiwi people to talk about how they feel and what could help them.”

Menzies School of Health Research project manager Josie Povey said she hoped the book would encourage people to talk to others who might be going through a tough time.

“This is a resource that can be used to provide people with the words that they need to talk with other people about how they are feeling; this may be family members talking to family members, service providers and/or health professionals,” she said.

“This project grew out of the identified need for young people to develop stronger Tiwi language skills, and more specifically be able to express their feelings and needs using Tiwi.”

The book is a collaboration between Tiwi elders, Menzies School of Heath Research, Tiwi College students, R U OK Australia and the Northern Territory Government.

Ngawurramangajirri (we care for each other) is available in hard copy as well as on the Menzies website at: menzies.edu.au/tiwiphrasebook