Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Stayin’ on Track: the feasibility of developing Internet and mobile phone-based resources to support young Aboriginal fathers

Richard Fletcher A F , Craig Hammond A , Darren Faulkner B , Nicole Turner C , Lisa Shipley D , Donna Read C and Josephine Gwynn E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.

B Hunter New England Local Health District, Tara Lodge, 72 Watt Street, Newcastle, NSW 2300, Australia.

C Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, University of Newcastle, Orange, NSW 2800, Australia.

D School of Rural Medicine, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.

E Faculty of Health Sciences, Charles Perkins Centre, Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

F Corresponding author. Email: richard.fletcher@newcastle.edu.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 23(4) 329-334 https://doi.org/10.1071/PY16151
Submitted: 22 November 2016  Accepted: 19 January 2017   Published: 28 April 2017

Abstract

Young Aboriginal fathers face social and emotional challenges in the transition to fatherhood, yet culturally appropriate support mechanisms are lacking. Peer mentoring to develop online- and mobile phone-based resources and support may be a viable approach to successfully engage these young men. This feasibility study engaged two trusted Aboriginal mentors and researchers to partner with one regional and two rural Aboriginal communities in New South Wales, Australia. Early in the research process, 20 young Aboriginal fathers were recruited as co-investigators. These fathers were integral in the development of web-based resources and testing of mobile phone-based text messaging and mood-tracking programs tailored to provide fathering and mental health support. Overwhelmingly positive feedback from evaluations reinforced community pride in and ownership of the outcomes. The young men’s involvement was instrumental in not only developing culturally appropriate support, but also in building their capacity as role models for other fathers in the community. The positive results from this feasibility study support the adoption of participatory approaches in the development of resources for Aboriginal communities.


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