C. Tandi Kuwana is a Zimbabwe born Australian who has a passion for promoting mental health in culturally diverse communities.
Tandi is a trained and registered mental health practitioner with 14 years’ experience. She describes herself as a motivated and passionate multicultural mental health consultant.
A Registered Mental Health Nurse, Tandi's experience includes working in inpatient and outpatient settings. She's the Co-chair of the Mental Health Commission Recovery College Expert Panel, and a graduate and committee member of the African Leadership Initiative.
Tandi's Hocking Fellowship
Tandi plans to travel to Africa to learn more about a unique Zimbabwean initiative.
The Friendship Bench project employs elders to sit on a bench, who then listen to the concerns, issues and stressors experienced by people in the community. After listening, the elder refers the person onto an appropriate mental health clinician or service.
Tandi says help seeking behaviours in many Australian migrant communities start and end with community or religious elders. In some situations a community's cultural heritage may limit the understanding or acknowledgement of mental health issues.
Using the Friendship Bench model, Tandi wants to increase mental health literacy within Australian migrant communities, help communities struggling with trauma and other mental health issues, and improve the pathways to mainstream health services.
She says having people share their stories of mental health publicly, in a way similar to the Friendship Bench initiative, is one way of breaking down the stigma that exists, showing that mental illness does not discriminate.