Emerging Leader 2015 - 2016
AJ Williams-Tchen is a Wiradjuri / Wotjobulak man whose family are from Wellington / Dubboin in New South Wales and Dimboola / Horsham in Victoria. He is a mental health accredited social worker who for the past 12 years has been working at providing awareness of mental illness within the Aboriginal community and increasing mental health literacy among all Australians both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.
As a private social worker, he works with young Aboriginal clients who have been either engaging in self injury or have had thoughts of suicide. His vision is that the community should not be afraid of recognising mental illness for what it is – common and with the appropriate skills, knowledge and support they will not be scared to help their loved one, family member or friend. He also envisions that Victorian Aboriginal people with mental illness won’t be scared to seek or ask for help for they will know that others understand their signs and symptoms, and are willing, able and competent in assisting.
AJ’s experience and involvement includes:
- Completion of a number of academic courses such as Nursing, Social Work, Youth Work, Career Education, Child Protection, Community Development, Community Services Coordination and Indigenous leadership.
- Delivery of over 350 cultural appreciation workshops to over 100 Victorian community, health and hospital settings, training non-Indigenous people about culture and working with individuals, families and communities.
- Delivery of 310 Mental Health First Aid workshops to both non-Indigenous and Indigenous participants.
- Development of Museum Victoria’s 1st Indigenous Employment & Career Development Strategy.
- Development and implementation of the ‘To-gip Gabaareng: Indigenous Employment and Career Development’ framework at RMIT University.
- 5 years management experience as the National Coordinator of the Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid program at Newcastle University, Orygen Youth Health and Mental Health First Aid Australia. This role involved training and supporting all Victorian AMHFA Instructors.
- 3 years experience as Senior Educator at VACCHO, training Aboriginal Health Workers in Certificate III & Certificate IV in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care.
- 2 years experience as an Aboriginal Health Worker at the Western Suburbs Indigenous Gathering Place.
- For the past 8 years provided career counselling to Aboriginal youth: he is a qualified Careers Counsellor.
- For the past 3 years an accredited mental health social worker, working with young Aboriginal clients.
- Delivery of professionally endorsed aboriginal cultural programs across Victoria.
- Assisting a number of mainstream organisations to develop Aboriginal employment strategies and cultural audit tools.