Research Recognition | Mental Health Month 2016


"Our team, my supervisors and myself believe that this study is the first step needed to improve help-seeking and reduce inequalities in  such a vulnerable group."


PhD Candidate Gabriela Uribe, supervised by Senior Lecturer Dr Shameran Slewa-Younan and Professor Anthony Jorm from University of Melbourne, has received a Certificate of Commendation from WayAhead - Mental Health Association NSW 2016 for her research project entitled 'Important considerations when providing mental health first aid (MHFA) to Iraqi refugees: development and pilot evaluation of a tailored program to community-based workers in Australia'.

WayAhead – Mental Health Association NSW plays a vital role in the development of mental health initiatives which increase community awareness and knowledge of mental health issues. Gabriela's PhD project seeks to educate the Australian public and people working with refugees, by using the highly successful and adapted MHFA training model, on how to provide initial help to someone from an Iraqi background experiencing mental health problems, and in turn, encourage appropriate help-seeking in this vulnerable group.

Gabriela's paper 'Important considerations when providing mental health first aid to Iraqi refugees in Australia: a Delphi study' (opens in a new window) has also been featured as a relevant and highly accessed paper by Biomedical Central as part of World Mental Health Day 2016. (opens in a new window)

This paper sought to explore what experts in refugee mental health thought would be culturally-appropriate mental health first aid strategies for assisting Iraqi refugees in mental health crises or developing mental health problems. Experts were able to reach consensus on the importance of a set of culturally-specific guidelines on how to provide mental health first aid to Iraqi refugees with high levels of distress.