Psychology student and performing artist Tannielle hopes to run arts workshops to improve mental health in Aboriginal communities.
Tannielle was born in the Ardyaloon community, also known as One Arm Point, north of Broome in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. She admits she never thought she’d study at UWA.
After moving to Perth for high school, Tannielle developed a love of acting and the performing arts as a way to break out of her shell. Now in her second semester of Psychology at UWA, she hopes to combine the two to create her own approach to mental health management in remote communities like the one she grew up in.
Tannielle recognises mental health can be a difficult topic for Indigenous people like herself. “We’re not comfortable talking about it. It’s too sensitive.”
And national research backs Tannielle’s personal experience. At the time of filming, the Australian Government’s 12th Closing the Gap report confirmed the mental health of young Indigenous Australians was one of the most significant concerns the nation faces.
Tannielle believes introducing performing arts into therapy will help break down the barriers stopping young people asking for help, making it a more enjoyable experience to open up.
“It’s why I want to be a psychologist. I want the Indigenous communities, especially little children, to be able to go out there and chase their dreams like I did.Tannielle McHugh
I just want everyone to see it is possible.”