The 2019 Robin Winkler Lecture by Helen Milroy, Professor of Psychiatry at The University of Western Australia.
Indigenous mental health is an area of major concern in Australia. In this talk, Professor Milroy will consider the historical, cultural, and contemporary issues facing Indigenous peoples in regard to mental health and wellbeing and what may be required for a healing approach to be effective. The talk will provide a framework for understanding the components of healthy communities through a healing and community life development approach. Her presentation will explore major themes relating to the trauma that has occurred as a consequence of colonisation over many generations and continues to be experienced in the present, including the themes of powerlessness, disconnection, and helplessness. In turn, the talk will highlight pathways to recovery that are centred on self-determination and community governance, reconnection and community life, as well as restoration and community resilience. Professor Milroy will argue that acknowledgement of Aboriginal worldviews, developing a comprehensive, holistic approach that focuses on individual, family, and community strengths, whilst at the same time addressing the needs of the community, provides both a more culturally acceptable and effective approach to addressing these issues.
Helen Milroy is a descendant of the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia but was born and educated in Perth. Currently she is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Professor at The University of Western Australia and Commissioner with the National Mental Health Commission. Helen has been on state and national mental health and research advisory committees and boards with a particular focus on Indigenous mental health as well as the wellbeing of children. From 2013-2017 Helen was a Commissioner for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. In 2019, she was appointed as a Commissioner with the Australian Football League.
The Robin Winkler Lecture
This annual public lecture commemorates the work of Robin Winkler, a highly influential teacher and researcher at the UWA School of Psychological Science, whose work was guided by humanitarian values and a relentless questioning of accepted orthodoxies. He was a community psychologist and passionate advocate of the importance of equal access to psychological services, and of recognition of the social context in which treatment and research is being undertaken. He died at the age of 43 while heading the UWA Clinical Master’s program at the Psychology Clinic, which he established and which now bears his name. In the Oxford Handbook of the History of Psychology he is described as “a singular, crusading figure” in Australian psychology.