Taylor-Jai pursues her passion
Aboriginal woman Taylor-Jai McAlister enrolled in a Bachelor of Psychology at Macquarie University hoping to become a clinical psychologist – and to give back to the Indigenous community she grew up in.
In 2016, she received the Australian Rotary Health (ARH) scholarship, which supports the tertiary education of a student who seeks to improve the health of Indigenous people. The grant meant that an all-important financial barrier was broken for Taylor-Jai and she could fully commit to helping those in need.
While her interest is in mental health and wellbeing counselling, she is particularly passionate about working with the Deaf. “In Australia, only a few psychologists can communicate with the hearing-impaired in their first language – Auslan,” she says. “This negates access to the Deaf for mental health services and, as a result, there’s been a worrying increase in suicide among this community. I not only want to help this vulnerable demographic, but also support the wider society.” Along with her degree, Taylor-Jai is studying a certificate in Auslan, and has enrolled in TAFE to study the Wiradjuri language. She says that the scholarship means she can realise her passion for learning and helping others, and help “break the cultural barrier that exists for Indigenous Deaf people who are trying to access mental health services”.
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