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Project Underway to Improve Mental Health Screening for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women

Di Jans websmlApunipima's Maternal and Child Health Social Worker Di Jans is looking forward to her new role as project officer evaluating the Kimberley Mum’s Mood Scale (KMMS) for use in far north Queensland.

This perinatal screening tool was designed to identify early warning signs for depression and anxiety amongst Aboriginal women in the Kimberley region. A recent study of the KMMS demonstrated a clinically acceptable and culturally appropriate screening tool for perinatal depression across the Kimberley region. 

Apunipima expressed interest to Rural Clinical School of Western Australia (RCSWA) to adapt and validate the KMMS across far north Queensland. RCSWA worked with key stakeholders and were successful in receiving funding to adapt and validate the KMMS in far north Queensland, an additional region in Western Australia, and implement and evaluate more broadly across the Kimberly region.

Di shared that she is keen to evaluate the KMMS as perinatal anxiety and depression is a real issue for women, and unfortunately the current screening tool used around the world - the Edinburgh scale - is not culturally appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. It’s estimated that around one quarter of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women living in remote communities experience high levels of anxiety and depression which can impact both mother and child during pregnancy and in the early years of the child’s life

“Apunipima were very interested in the KMMS because it is a shining example of culturally appropriate healthcare.  The tool was developed in consultation with more than 200 local Kimberley women, and with input from Kimberley health professionals and cultural advisors.”

“And that it has been developed to tap into women’s natural strengths and to enhance each mother's ability to be the best she can be,” Di said.


Di will spend time reviewing the model, and seeing what adaptations and systems and processes would be needed to use the KMMS in Cape York.

Last modified onTuesday, 24 October 2017 06:06