Abstract: The untimely death of an Aboriginal young person in 2016 highlighted community concern for stronger engagement with youth, demonstrated by the high rate of youth antisocial behaviour occurring in the community. These concerns resulted in the Kalgoorlie Youth Project (now named Guthoo, meaning we are one) which aims to describe the perceptions, experiences and aspirations of Aboriginal youth. It is the intent of Guthoo to contribute to a better understanding of the key drivers of youth disengagement in Kalgoorlie Boulder. Guthoo will benefit the community by providing knowledge that will contribute to a reduction in antisocial behaviour and align with the Government objectives of Safer Communities. This will flow onto longer term sustainable outcomes by building community-organisational capacity. A mixed methods research design using community participatory action research methods was used for the Guthoo Project and consisted of 3 stages: Stage 1– Instrument Development Stage 2– a) Pilot study of instrument b) Full scale study Stage 3– Dissemination with Youth Summit In April 2017, the Kalgoorlie Youth Project commenced using an art therapy workshop to understand and describe the lived experiences, perceptions and attitudes of Aboriginal young people’s current situation, future, barriers to services, aspirations and opportunities. The outcome was the development of a world first tool called Guthoo-meaning we are one. This tool was co-designed with Aboriginal youth and consists of a 170-item written survey measuring both the current experiences and the current needs of the young person across each of 12 key themes of individual and community well-being. Items were scored using a five-point Likert scale. An open-ended section was added to enable youth to describe: a) current life in Kalgoorlie-Boulder and, b) aspirations for the future. Guthoo was administered to the target population aged 11-17 years by trained Aboriginal Kinship Champions. In stage 2a, it was piloted, resulting in 66 completed surveys. Analysis and refinements were made for the full-scale study in stage 2b which resulted in 126 completed surveys. In sum, 192young people (11-17yrs) were surveyed, accounting for 71% of the estimated total population of Aboriginal young people 11-17 years2old in Kalgoorlie- Boulder. Refinements and consultation in the pilot resulted in the addition of the adapted Kessler 5 for use in the full-scale study (stage 2b). The Kessler 5 is a written survey using 5 items to determine current distress experiences. The Kessler scale is a widely used measure of mental health and wellbeing that allows comparison with other populations. Open-ended Guthoo survey responses were examined using thematic analysis as outlined by Colaizzi’s (1976) analysis principles. Quantitative data from demographics, Guthoo survey and Kessler 5 were analysed using simple descriptive statistics. KEY FINDINGS: 1. The Aboriginal young people of Kalgoorlie-Boulder recognise and value their identity as Aboriginal people; 2. The majority of Aboriginal young people have positive attitudes and aspirational goals for their future; 3. Aboriginal young people in Kalgoorlie-Boulder experience high levels of psychological distress; 4. Young people are concerned about anti-social behaviour in Kalgoorlie-Boulder; 5. Some Aboriginal young people are reluctant to use services in the region when they need them; 6. Aboriginal young people perceive a lack of interesting activities in Kalgoorlie-Boulder; 7. Aboriginal young people want to be treated with respect.
Kickett-Tucker, C.S., , Tucker, J., , Leslie, R., , McHugh, T., , Redman, M., , Cunneen, R., , Lawrence, D., , Lynch, D., , Cooper, G., , Abdullah, L., , Leslie, M., , Meredith, M., , Tucker, P., , Trainer, P., 2018, Guthoo (We are One): Stage 2-Kalgoorlie Survey Final Report, Report, viewed 30 November 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=12937.