WSLHD’s Gemma Carter recognised for significant contribution to Aboriginal Allied Health services

Gemma Carter, a dedicated Senior Aboriginal Mental Health Clinician in Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD), has been making a profound impact on the community since joining the district in 2016.

Gemma’s journey at WSLHD began as an Aboriginal Mental Health Trainee, where she worked on the Blacktown Acute Mental Health Team while completing her degree.

She was recently recognised for her outstanding work and significant contribution to Allied Health in WSLHD, being awarded Aboriginal Allied Health Professional of the Year.

Gemma’s decision to pursue a career in Allied Health extended from her personal experiences and a strong desire to make a positive change.

Growing up, she witnessed the impact of mental health and alcohol and other drug (AOD) issues in her family and community, leading to the death of a loved one by suicide

Gemma became interested in mental health research, cultivating a passion for helping those struggling emotionally, particularly within the Aboriginal community.

“At 19 years old, I started working alongside a Darug Elder at an NGO in our community,” she said.

“This provided me with further insight into the poor social and emotional wellbeing our Aboriginal community was facing daily.”

I wanted to study and become an Allied Health worker to create change, empower, advocate, educate, and provide opportunities for access to culturally centred and culturally safe mental health support for Aboriginal people .

Gemma Carter, Senior Aboriginal Mental Health Clinician

Gemma’s dedication is evident in her role, where she works with vulnerable families to address mental health and substance abuse challenges, ultimately aiming to enhance parenting capacity and create functional home environments.

As a mother herself, Gemma finds this aspect of her work the most rewarding—empowering families to enact positive change and keeping Aboriginal children safe at home.

“Every day in my job is a project. I continuously work to implement vital changes, Close the Gap, and provide culturally safe healthcare to Aboriginal people within and outside my role – an ongoing project in our communities that I am very passionate about.”

One project Gemma is particularly excited about is her upcoming role as a volunteer facilitator of peri-natal family conferencing.

Collaborating with the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) and the Aboriginal community, she will support pregnant women facing significant risk concerns, aiming to reduce the number of infants taken into care by focusing on strengths and engaging families in care planning.

Gemma emphasises the uniqueness of western Sydney, which is Darug land and boasts one of the largest urban Aboriginal populations in Australia.

Living and working on Country, Gemma brings together Elders and Aboriginal people from different areas, creating a special place to connect culturally and learn.

II come to work every day to show that it is possible as a mum to have a career that you are passionate about.

“I am proud to be a part of WSLHD and thankful for the support from all levels of staff.”

“I am blessed to work alongside a wonderful team of clinicians at Whole Family Team, who support me every day, working in our communities. They are the most culturally respectful and connected staff I’ve come across, making every day easy and enjoyable to come in and do what I do.”

“Every Aboriginal worker in WSLHD comes to work to contribute to paving the way to greatness for our next generations.”

Let’s all continue to work hard to close the gap together.

Gemma Carter’s unwavering commitment to creating positive change in Western Sydney exemplifies the spirit of dedication and cultural awareness that WSLHD values in its staff.