Health Service

25 Third St

PO Box 896
Katherine NT 0851

Phone: (08) 8972 9100

Phone: (08) 8972 9123

AGPAL / ISO accredited

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Katherine StrongBala Men's Health Program

Wurli-Wurlinjang Health Service and StrongBala Elders gratefully acknowledge the strong support we have received from elected representatives at all levels of government. In particular we extend our appreciation to:

Warren Snowdon MP, Member for Lingiari and Minister for Indigenous, Rural and Regional Health
Gerry Wood, Independent member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
Willem Westra Van Holthe, MLA, Member for Katherine
Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Attorney General’s Department

StrongBala provides culturally appropriate support for Indigenous males—including the homeless—by providing a males-only facility which delivers a broad range of facility-based services, including clinical services, and health education and promotion activities.

StronbalaStrongBala means Strong Man. The StrongBala Program empowers Aboriginal men to step up and make meaningful contributions to their family, their community, and their culture.

Indigenous males are the primary beneficiaries of StrongBala. From a client base of over 2000 men, we see as many as 340 individuals each month, a major achievement in the short period of time StrongBala has been operating. A number of these people are young school leavers and those transitioning between school and work, as well as young males referred by the NT Department of Justice.

At the Katherine StrongBala Male Health Program facility, men help themselves by accessing health services and participating in activities that promote healthy lifestyle, hygiene, proper nutrition, cultural security, money management, CDEP, work skills training, and employment programs.

Role models visit often, including Elders, Indigenous achievers and other mentors. An Alcohol and other Drugs counsellor delivers an AOD program and talks to men about healthy lifestyle choices. Traditional skills and art are among the many subjects taught at StrongBala. There are no free lunches—men do chores and project work to earn a hot, nutritious meal.

StrongbalaA male Senior Aboriginal Health Worker delivers daily health care services, a male Doctor visits once a week and more regularly as required, a male mental health counsellor delivers counselling on site and a sexually transmitted disease specialist Aboriginal Male Health Worker is based at StrongBala. All provide psychological support and health promotional advice in addition to the services delivered by their various disciplines.

StrongBala provides options for all Indigenous men experiencing difficulty in life, a way back to culture, community and family. Here there is an opportunity to find support, assistance, access a broad range of health services delivered by men, and training and employment opportunities. At StrongBala there is sharing, pride, respect, support, and celebration of culture. At StrongBala, men help themselves.

StrongBala's service model is based on Indigenous tradition. The StrongBala facility consists of several buildings on several hectares of land on the outskirts of Katherine. It is situated adjacent to an old ceremony ground which ceased to function when the Jawoyn people were removed from the area. "We have this place back now," an Elder said. "This is the right place for a men's place, we got to look after it."

StrongbalaImportantly, Indigenous males have ownership of the program and it is a place where they gather together to provide support to each other, to discuss issues, share knowledge, plan, participate in cultural activities, and experience a sense of belonging—away from humbug. In an Indigenous way, it is similar to the Australian Men's Shed movement, and plays a significant and practical role in addressing problems with men's health, isolation, loneliness, depression and other male issues.

StrongBala is an integral part of a successful approach to improve Indigenous men's health and wellbeing by maintaining a place for men to meet where they can access physical, mental, social and spiritual activities. The safe environment StrongBala offers is conducive to learning and sharing information, a place to re-establish the connection with culture. It's also a place for restoring individual and community self-esteem and respect, and where men learn to access health services.

StrongbalaProjects building healthy relationships include mental health counselling and support, domestic violence education advice and counselling, and confidential sexual health treatment and advice.

Life-skills projects that foster resilience include training in money management and budgeting, nutritional food preparation, handyman skills, vehicle maintenance, welding, small engine maintenance, painting, carpentry, concreting, horticulture, and more.

Leadership and mentoring programs with a focus on prevention of destructive behaviour include AOD counselling, visits by Elders, training in traditional hunting and bush tucker, bush medicine, stone oven cooking, and traditional and contemporary arts and crafts.