Organisation of African Communities in WA  Inc “Let’s Talk Mental Health Night” Q&A  With Nicholah Wasarirevu

During Mental Health Week Perth African Communities came together for an empowering event, thanks to the collaborative efforts of OACWA  and the Mental Health Foundation Australia. This event was a significant step towards shedding light on the vital topic of mental health within these communities.

During this remarkable occasion, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to OACWA for inviting Sisters Healing Space to join the panel. This collaboration allowed for insightful discussions, shared experiences, and a collective commitment to promoting mental health awareness and support within African communities.

Together, we’ve taken a meaningful stride forward in the journey to de-stigmatise mental health and ensure that every individual receives the care and understanding they deserve. While the event generated valuable discussions and insights, we recognize that some questions remained unanswered. We have partnered with OACWA  to addressing these lingering queries to and provide a more comprehensive understanding of this critical topic.

“If decolonising mental health is cultural revitalization, then de-stigmatising mental health is societal transformation.

Reclaiming mental well-being is like breathing life back into our culture, and removing the stigma around mental health is the key to reshaping our society.” – Nicholah Wasarirevu.


Question 1: Is There A Place Where Men Can Talk Man To Man?

Men need a safe space for open conversations about their mental health. Whether it’s through men’s support groups, health organizations, podcasts or trusted gatherings with friends, there are opportunities for men to engage in supportive dialogues.

If you’re up for some real, heartfelt and candid conversations to help overcome life’s challenges and navigate life’s issues including mental health in a safe and chill environment you’ve got to check out the UnMaskKing Podcast. Streaming straight out of Perth, We’re talking about a space where “Kings” get together to dive headfirst into those real-life topics men face with a side of banter, a whole lot of laughter and seriousness. It’s all about keeping it real, encouraging vulnerability, foresting healing and forming a strong brotherhood of kings.

An UnMaskKing Mo-ment event is happening within Perth on 25 November 2023, A safe space for men to engage in open, honest conversations and unmask their thoughts, feelings and connect with fellow men. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to have a man to man conversation and form a support network of brotherhood with men from different walks of life in Western Australia, Click Here for More Information. 

Men’s Sheds WA provide an inclusive and nurturing environment for men to not only converse openly but also work on personal projects and hobbies, fostering a sense of community. It’s a place where well-being is a priority, and friendships flourish.

The Fathering Project is another noteworthy initiative that recognizes the vital role fathers play in children’s lives. They provide resources and support to help fathers positively influence their children’s health, mental well-being, social success, and academic achievements.

Question 2: How does one reset from a toxic relationship?

Resetting from a toxic relationship can be a challenging but essential process. Here are a few tips to guide you:

1. Recognize the Toxicity: Hitting the reset button on a toxic relationship begins with self-reflection and self-awareness. It’s time to turn the spotlight onto the shadows within your connection. Take a moment to ponder the following questions:
• What red flags are glaring you in the face?
• How has this relationship impacted your emotional wellbeing and your connections with others?
• What has changed about you since the relationship began?
And let’s not forget to look at the bigger picture. What familiar patterns and cycles do you see? Is this déjà vu from past relationships? Understanding these patterns is like deciphering the secret code to healthier connections. So, grab your detective hat, and let’s dive in.
2. Seek Support: Talking to a therapist or psychologist can provide valuable guidance and emotional support or Talk to a Sister at Sisters Healing Space. Don’t also hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or professionals.
3. Set Boundaries: It’s essential to understand that setting boundaries is not selfish; it’s an act of self-care. When you set boundaries, you’re protecting yourself from further harm and focusing on your personal growth and healing. Communicate your boundaries with empathy and assertiveness, knowing that they are essential for a healthier, more balanced relationship.
4️ Self-Care: Make self-care your number one priority; it’s as essential as the air you breathe. After all, self-care is like oxygen for your soul. Your life truly depends on it, so treat it with the utmost importance. Focus on both your physical and mental well-being. Exercise, write your feelings and thoughts down in a journal, nourish your body, and remember to be kind to yourself.
5️ Move Forward: It’s time to break away from that toxic relationship. Gradually create distance, and remember to allow time for healing and personal growth. You deserve a brighter, happier future.
And if you’re looking for some professional support, consider talking to a therapist. Sister Healing Space is here for you with counseling services that provide the professional support you need. Remember, healing is not just a possibility; it’s a certainty, and you don’t have to walk this path alone.


Question 4: Do People Completely Heal From Mental Illness After Treatment?

It’s a bit like chasing a rainbow – the concept of “complete healing” can be elusive. Mental health challenges vary from person to person, and the path to wellness is uniquely your own. The reality is healing is never linear.
For many, mental illness can be effectively managed with the right treatment, support, and self-care. But here’s the deal: they might not “completely heal” in the sense of the illness vanishing entirely. Instead, they find ways to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives, even with the lingering presence of their mental health challenges.
The journey is more about achieving a sense of wholeness rather than erasing the experience of mental illness. It’s about empowerment, resilience, and overall well-being. Remember, recovery is a personal journey, and what constitutes “wholeness” varies from one person to another. Seeking professional help and building a strong support system are critical steps on this unique journey.

“However long the night, the dawn will break.”

Question 5: What Mechanism Is In Place That Supports Promoting Mental Illness Issues In African Communities?

Promoting mental health awareness and addressing mental health issues in African communities is a collaborative effort. It involves grassroots organizations, cultural awareness programs, and mental health advocacy groups such as the OAC.
These initiatives are all about breaking down stigma, raising awareness, and providing the support needed to tackle mental health challenges within African communities. And don’t forget Sister’s Healing Space – offer racial trauma therapy sessions, recognizing and addressing the specific mental health challenges associated with racial trauma in African, First Nations and People of Colour communities. They’ve got your back, always.

Question 6: On The Topic Of Racism At School Levels And Employment Discrimination, Are Any Policies In Place To Support These Issues?

Policies vary by region. Many places have anti-discrimination laws, diversity and inclusion programs, and equal opportunity policies in place.
But here’s the twist – their effectiveness can differ, and that’s where advocacy comes in. We need to keep an eye on these policies and push for their continuous improvement.
As a bonus, Sister’s Healing Space is right there in the mix, providing valuable support and consultation services for racial trauma. They’re addressing the emotional impact of racism, a crucial resource for those who’ve experienced racial trauma, both in educational and workplace settings.

Question 7: How Do We Differentiate Everyday Stress From Mental Illness-Related Stress?

Distinguishing between everyday stress and stress related to mental illness can be quite the puzzle. Everyday stress is usually a temporary response to specific situations, and it tends to ease when the stressor is removed. It’s like a rain cloud that passes.
Mental illness-related stress, on the other hand, can be more persistent, intense, and downright disruptive. It’s like a storm that lingers, casting its shadow on your daily life. When stress becomes chronic or severely impacts your mental health, seeking professional help becomes essential. It’s like calling in the experts to weather the storm.

Question 8: My Ex-Girlfriend Committed Suicide, And I Still Feel Guilty For Not Being There To Support Her. What Should I Do?

Losing someone to suicide can cause a range of emotions, but it’s important to remember that you’re not at fault. Seeking professional help, like a therapist or psychologist , can be beneficial in processing emotions, grief and receiving support. Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends and family or join a support group. It’s important to focus on healing, forgiving yourself, and avoid using harmful coping mechanisms like excessive alcohol.

Seeking help, is a sign of strength not weakness.

It’s Okay Not To Be Okay.

Events like “Let’s Talk About Mental Health Night” are essential milestones on our journey toward de-stigmatising mental health understanding, empathy, and support. They provide the opportunities we need to break the silence surrounding mental health and ask those important questions. Remember, it’s never too late to start a conversation about mental health, and seeking help when you need it is a sign of courage, not weakness. For Culturally Safe Mental Health Support or  to talk to a Sister visit Sisters Healing Space today.

Nicholah Wasarirevu CEO/Founder of Sisters Healing Space
Author: Nicholah Wasarirevu CEO/Founder of Sisters Healing Space

Nicholah is a highly experienced Black African Social Worker, Therapist, and Mental Health Clinician who is also currently pursuing a PhD. Her research is focused on decolonising mental health practices and examining the impact of racial trauma. With more than five years of experience in the human services and mental health sector, Nicholah recognised the lack of culturally safe and affirming healing and wellness spaces for First Nations, Black and Women of Colour. In response, she founded Sisters Healing Space in 2020. Sisters Healing Space is a nationwide therapist and wellness directory and mental well service platform dedicated to promoting healing and wellness for Sisters’ of all ages. Its mission is to provide access to culturally safe and affirming services, destigmatise mental health within the community and promote generational healing.