DCS is proud to be funding the next generation of Aboriginal psychologists for the next three years under a prestigious scholarship.

The Dr Tracy Westerman Indigenous Psychology Scholarship provides financial assistance to eligible psychology students to help with study, living and transport costs while they undertake their qualification.

Dr Westerman set up the scholarship using personal funds in 2019. Since then, she has worked with private and government sectors to build and grow the scholarship program.

The scholarship program aims to increase the number of Aboriginal people studying and practicing psychology, to be skilled in Aboriginal-specific mental health, suicide prevention and intervention programs.

DCS, in partnership with the Department of Human Services and the Department for Child Protection, will fund three Aboriginal psychology students through the Westerman Jilya Institute for Indigenous Mental Health.

The departments will each fund a scholarship recipient over three years. The funding is for candidates based in SA who intend to work in SA after completing their psychology qualification.

One recipient will undertake a placement with DCS for the duration of their studies, with the scholarship recipient expected to start later this year.

Scharlene Lamont, Executive Director, Aboriginal Services, says the scholarship aligns with DCS’ commitment to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal people in prisons.

“We are proud to fund the Dr Tracy Westerman Indigenous Psychology Scholarship. Investment in Aboriginal psychology students will increase our ability to assess Aboriginal mental health with a cultural lens and provide opportunity to increase Aboriginal professionals employed across DCS,” Ms Lamont says.

Dr Westerman hopes to bridge the significant gap between the needs of Aboriginal communities and their access to clinically and culturally skilled psychologists.