Research projects

Maambart Maam. My father.

(Formerly “Development and pilot of culturally inclusive family-based support interventions for Aboriginal expectant fathers in Western Australia”)


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Proudly supported by The Movember Foundation.


Principal researchers

Associate Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker1
Dr Janette Brooks2
Professor Rhonda Marriott3
Ms Vickie Hovane4

Institution

1 Koya Aboriginal Corporation
2 Western Australian Perinatal Mental Health Unit, WA Department of Health
3 Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre, Murdoch University
4 Pindi Pindi National Research Centre for Aboriginal Children, Families and Community

Funding

$399,010 (total $474,010) – This project is funded through a donation from the Movember Foundation

Co-funded with

Midland Women’s Health Care Place – $75,000

Award type

National Priority Driven Research Program

Project completion year

2015

Executive summary 

The Maambart Maam For Maali Moort (Swan Families) Wellbeing pilot program is a family based support intervention for Aboriginal expectant and new fathers and male carers in Perth, Western Australia.

Using a community participatory research action framework this project explored the mental health of Aboriginal male carers during the perinatal period, through an Aboriginal male worldview.  The aim of the project was to develop and evaluate a program that was culturally respectful and responsive to the identified needs of male carers to enable the development of necessary skills, characteristics and attributes needed to raise their families.

The Maambart Maam program was Aboriginal led, collaborative, and culturally secure. It’s activities were designed in response to research findings and focus group and interview data which showed that in order to effect a positive change to the perinatal mental health of Aboriginal families, it was critical to support the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal males.

The program firstly addressed participants’ issues associated with trauma, grief and high levels of toxic stress. In it’s second half, the program took a strength based and empowering approach to generate a sense of hope, a positive future orientation and confidence across the participants. The 15 key activities of the pilot program were undertaken over an intensive period, and were aligned with key guiding principles and content requirements articulated by participants.

Findings emerging from the pilot program represent significant learnings for a range of stakeholders, including that support programs should be inclusive of different generations and partners, and be held in culturally appropriate venues, often on country, or in outdoor venues. Programs seeking to work with Aboriginal fathers, parents and families and during the perinatal period need to focus on recovery and healing from stress and trauma; empower men and  reconnect them to each other and their families;  be Aboriginal-led, family focused, and responsive to local contexts; take a holistic approach; and be flexible with delivery.

The processes underpinning the design, delivery, evaluation of, and outcomes achieved from the Maambart Maam For Maali Moort Wellbeing pilot program confirm that Aboriginal families, and Aboriginal fathers in particular, can greatly benefit from tailored, targeted and culturally safe support programs and services. Recognition of Aboriginal men’s needs and mental health issues and stresses, as well as their strength, resilience and centrality to Aboriginal families, were critical aspects to the program. The program reveals the core building blocks to successfully relieving men’s stress and fostering their wellbeing are:

  • providing support services that address men’s need for communication and experience-sharing with other men
  • getting men outdoors and on country, reconnecting with culture
  • facilitating re-engagement with partners and family.

Download the Maambart Maam For Maali Moort Wellbeing Pilot Program final report

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