Cairns QLD, Australia
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Fri 8 March 2024 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

International Women’s Day Lunch – Cairns Tropical Writers Festival 2024


This International Women’s Day, Cairns Tropical Writers’ Festival proudly welcomes Dr Tracy Westerman AM as the keynote speaker of our Storytellers’ Lunch.


DR TRACY WESTERMAN AM is a proud Nyamal woman from the Pilbara region of Western Australia and has long been considered a critical thought leader in Aboriginal mental health, suicide prevention and cultural competency. In 2003, she became the first Aboriginal person to complete a combined Masters & PhD in Clinical Psychology. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology, a Masters of Clinical Psychology and a Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology). This is despite coming from a background of disadvantage and one in which she had to undertake most of her tertiary entrance subjects through Distance Education.


Her message is that simple: there is nothing Aboriginal people can’t achieve, if we believe in ourselves.


Having trained over 50,000+ practitioners across Australia, Dr Westerman is arguably the most in-demand trainer of practitioners in Australia. She is a highly regarded leading authority in Indigenous mental health and is regularly called upon as an expert witness when forming government policy. The recipient of multiple awards, including the Australian of the Year (WA) in 2018; inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame and recipient of the Curtin University Lifetime Achievement Award; she has self-funded numerous Australian first assessments and intervention programs.


Dr Westerman founded her business, Indigenous Psychological Services in 1998 from the loungeroom of her house and has since risen to become one of Australia’s leading psychologists. Frustrated at the lack of government response to the unacceptable rates of Indigenous child suicide, she personally funded the Dr Tracy Westerman Indigenous Psychology Scholarship Program to ensure greater skills capacity in our highest-risk, remote communities.


In 2020, she launched her name charity, the Westerman Jilya Institute for Indigenous Mental Health, and went about attracting over $8 MILLION in philanthropic donations, while racking up over 5,000 volunteer hours mentoring students and growing Jilya to expand across Australia. Jilya means ‘my child’ in her Nyamal language – for this is about our children having an equal opportunity to thrive. To date, the scholarship program has supported 55 Indigenous psychology students across the country, making a substantial contribution to the most vulnerable communities in need of mental health services.


It’s fair to say Dr Westerman is leading the way in the prevention of Indigenous mental health and suicide prevention with her efforts capturing the hearts and minds of Australia. Her view is that ‘hope has a habit of taking on a life of its own; especially when many others share it with you”. In August this year, Dr Westerman will launch her memoir: Jilya: How One Indigenous Woman from the Remote Pilbara Transformed Psychology.


VENUE: Flynn’s Italian at Crystalbrook Flynn


COST: $95 per person, includes 2-course meal and welcome drink


Book your tickets through Cairns Tropical Writers Festival.


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Fri 8 March 2024
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Categories:


Cairns Tropical Writers Festival
+61 423 959 648
View Organiser Website


Flynn’s Italian by Crystalbrook
85 Esplanade
Cairns, 4870
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View Venue Website