Skip to main content Skip to main navigation
Strong Spirit Strong Mind

About Us

Strong Spirit Strong Mind Aboriginal Programs Team

Strong Spirit Strong Mind Aboriginal Programs (SSSMAP) is a team within the Community Support Services Management division of the Mental Health Commission (MHC). SSSMAP is predominantly staffed by Aboriginal people (80%) with a broad range of skills and experience and supports culturally secure program delivery as well as broader consultation, advice and support to the MHC and the community.

Strong Spirit Strong Mind

The words Strong Spirit Strong Mind evolved in consultation with Aboriginal people from across Western Australia.

These words embrace the importance of strengthening our 'inner spirit' and were inspired by the Aboriginal Inner Spirit (Ngarlu) Model by the late Joseph 'Nipper' Roe of the Yawaru and Karajarri people in North Western Australia.

There is a word in many different language groups that describes inner spirit and many Aboriginal people share this belief.


The Mental Health Commission's vision is for a Western Australian community that experiences minimal alcohol and other drug-related harms and optimal mental health. 

The Strong Spirit Strong Mind Aboriginal Programs team works as part of the Commission, promoting the holistic concept of Strong Spirit Strong Mind and the training associated with this program area.

Strong Spirit Strong Mind promotes the uniqueness of Aboriginal culture as a central strength in guiding efforts to manage and reduce mental health and alcohol and other drug related harms in Aboriginal communities.

Inner spirit model

Aboriginal Inner Spirit Model

'Our inner spirit is the centre of our being and emotions.
When our spirit feels strong, our mind feels strong.
Strong inner spirit is what keeps our people healthy and connects them together.
Strong inner spirit keeps the community strong and our country alive.
Strengthening our inner spirit is a step towards a healed future'

Uncle Charlie and Aunty Helen Kickett

Acknowledgement and Thanks

We would like to acknowledge and thank Uncle Charlie and Aunty Helen Kickett for their continued guidance and support to all the staff here at the Mental Health Commission.

For the past five years Uncle Charlie and Aunty Helen have been our Aboriginal Elders in Residence at the Mental Health Commission, providing cultural knowledge and sharing their stories with all the Mental Health Commission staff.

Artist Acknowledgements:


Strong Spirit Strong Mind Aboriginal Programs Team would also like to thank the following artists:

Watermark Artist: Barry McGuire (Mullark), born in Kellerberrin, which is located in the Balladong Noongar Boodja. His artist name is given to him by his family, it was his Grandfather's name and paints to keep the name alive.

The Aboriginal Inner Spirit Model (Ngarlu Assessment Model) was developed by Joseph 'Nipper' Roe, who belonged to the Karajarri and Yawuru people.

Illustrations: Patrick Bayly, Workspace Design