The Aboriginal Benefits Foundation received a request signed by 80 members of the Yirrkala community in north east Arnhem Land and subsequently granted $20,000 for a detailed feasibility study on a Healing Centre to be built at Yirrkala.

The Healing Centre’s aim is to combine mainstream medicine and Yolngu indigenous healing knowledge to begin to deal with the epidemic of substance abuse and youth suicide in the region.

With the support of the ABF, the Centre opened in 2009 and is now operating. For news of the centre's activities, read the Healing Centre Newsletter by Gareth Wise.

The program provides a range of counseling and mental health services as well as to involve youth workers and referrals to further treatment programs, or to job and training programs. The scope of the centre currently falls outside of the services provided by the local hospital and clinic.

It helps the carers, the immediate families and those who are currently carrying the unbearable weight of depression and despair that this serial problem inflicts upon a tight knit close Indigenous community.

Just 15 years ago this problem was simply unheard of. The Aboriginal Benefits Foundation believes it is vital that those who sympathise with Aboriginal people and their aspirations for the future to help immediately. One way to help the centre to be built is to take part in the Foundations fundraising events.

Banyan tree at healing centre