Dr Tracy Westerman AM is a proud Nyamal woman from the Pilbara in Western Australia. She has long been considered a leader in Aboriginal mental health, suicide prevention and cultural competency. In 2003, she became the first Aboriginal person to complete a combined Masters & PhD in Clinical Psychology. Dr Westerman is a widely soughtafter keynote speaker delivering to over 80 national conferences and internationally in Canada (2003); the USA (2004), Auckland (2006, 2007) and Wellington (2009). More than 50,000 individuals have attended her workshops making her the one of the most in demand trainers in Australia. She has funded the development of multiple unique psychometric tests enabling the identification of Aboriginal people at suicide and mental health risk and which ensure measured cultural competency improvements. Regularly sought out by all forms of media for her opinions on many complex mental health issues, Dr Westerman’s opinion pieces have attracted national attention regularly obtaining hundreds of thousands of engagements. Her social media platforms have more than 500,000 engagements each week.
In 2018 she funded the Dr Tracy Westerman Indigenous Psychology Scholarship Program to address the unacceptable rates of Indigenous child suicide by increasing the number of Indigenous Psychologists in our highest risk Indigenous communities. She then launched the charity, The Westerman Jilya Institute for Indigenous Mental Health in 2020 to drive Indigenous mental health, suicide prevention best practice. Jilya now supports 41 Indigenous psychology students via private donations, fundraising, and government commitments. Dr Westerman has personally raised over $8 million dollars in funding and donor commitments and works for no salary in Jilya personally mentoring all students, as a board director and volunteer in day to day operations.
She has recently signed with UQP to publish her memoir in 2023 which will document her significant, great breaking work. Her most notable awards include:
- Australian Psychological Society Almetrics Award for the published paper with the highest global reach for the paper ‘Culture-Bound Syndromes in Aboriginal People’, 2022
- Order of Australia (AM), 2021
- Telstra Women’s Business Award, Small Business Category Winner 2020
- Australian of the Year (WA) 2018
- Curtin University Lifetime Achievement Award 2018
- Inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame 2018
- 40 under 40 Business Leaders Strategic Alliance Award
- Suicide Prevention Australia Award for Emerging Researcher 2006
- Mark Liveris Award, Curtin University, Health Sciences for best Oral Presentation of PhD 2002