Mr Len Kanowski

Visiting Fellow

Master of International Mental Health (The University of Melbourne) (2004)
Harvard/University of Melbourne International Mental Health Leadership Fellow (2002)
Rowan Nicks Russell Drysdale Fellow (The University of Sydney) (2006)
MSc (University of Wollongong) (1996)
PhD scholar (The University of Newcastle)
Australian Rotary Health/Kaiyu Enterprises PhD Scholarship recipient (2014)

T +61 2 6125 0826
M 0459 479 617
E leonard.kanowski@anu.edu.au

Introduction

Mr Len Kanowski joined NCIS in November 2012 as a Visiting Fellow. He is the Senior Advisor, Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing with the University of Newcastle Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health. He is also a consultant with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Australia where he is working to further develop the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid Training and Research Program.

Len's current work with MHFA Australia involves working with researchers from MHFA Australia, the University of Melbourne, and a national delphi panel of Aboriginal mental health clinicians to develop mental health first aid guidelines for helping a young Aboriginal person with a mental health problem. This research is being led by Professor Tony Jorm from the University of Melbourne and Kathryn Chalmers from MHFA Australia.

Len's other work includes developing a short film demonstrating mental health first aid assistance to a young Aboriginal person with a mental health problem and in a mental health crisis. Len has previously developed scripts and worked with film-makers, Aboriginal community members and actors to develop short films demonstrating helpful assistance for persons experiencing psychosis and depression.

During his time at NCIS, Len is providing mental health expertise and support to the Australian Research Council funded project 'Reducing incarceration using Justice Reinvestment: an exploratory case study'. He is also undertaking a PhD in the area of Aboriginal mental health and wellbeing workforce support.

Biography

Len completed a Master of Science (Mental Health) at the University of Wollongong in 1996 and a Master of International Mental Health at the University of Melbourne in 2004. During 2002 he was a Harvard/University of Melbourne International Mental Health Leadership Fellow and a Rowan Nicks Russell Drysdale Fellow in 2006.

Len has a strong and distinguished background in mental health and drug and alcohol service provision, education and management spanning 38 years. He has been working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health education and service delivery for the past 22 years.

Len worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations from 1993 until 2000 to develop the Djirruwang Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health) Aboriginal Mental Health Worker program which is now based at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga NSW under Aboriginal Directorship.

During 2005, Len worked at the ANU Centre for Mental Health Research where he commenced development of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Program in conjunction with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander MHFA Working Group, Professor Tony Jorm and Betty Kitchener, founders of the internationally recognised Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program.

He held the post of Deputy Director, MHFA Training and Research Program at the University of Melbourne from 2005 until 2009 until he took on a position with NSW Health as Area Coordinator for Aboriginal Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Services in the western and far west regions of NSW. Len held the position until commencing in his present role with the University of Newcastle Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health in August 2012.

During his period as Deputy Director of MHFA, Len worked in Thailand, Singapore and New Zealand (Maori) to establish the Mental Health First Aid Program in those countries.

Scholarly interests

Len's primary research interests are in mental health literacy, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing, and mental health and drug ∓ alcohol service-provision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. His current doctoral research is investigating enablers for supporting the Aboriginal mental health and wellbeing workforce.

Publications

  • Brideson T, Kanowski L (2004) The struggle for systematic 'adulthood' for Aboriginal Mental Health in the mainstream: The Djirruwang Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Program. Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health (AeJAMH), Volume 3, Issue 3, 2004.
  • Brideson T, Havelka J, McMillan F, Kanowski, L (2014) 'The Djirruwang Program: cultural affirmation for effective mental health' in: Dudgeon P, Milory H, Walker R (Eds) Working Together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Wellbeing Principles and Practice. Department of Health and Ageing, Canberra.
  • Hart LM, Bourchier SJ, Jorm AF, Kanowski LG, Kingston AH, Stanley D, Lubman DI (2010) Development of mental health first aid guidelines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing problems with substance use: a Delphi study, BMC Psychiatry 2010, 10:78.
  • Hart LM, Jorm AF, Kanowski LG, Kelly CM and Langlands RL (2009) Mental Health First Aid for Indigenous Australians: using Delphi consensus studies to develop guidelines for culturally appropriate responses to mental health problems, BMC Psychiatry 2009, 9:47.
  • Hart LM, Kitchener BA, Jorm AF, and Kanowski LG, editors (2010) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid Manual. 2nd edition, Orygen Youth Health Research Centre; Melbourne.
  • Jorm AF, Kitchener BA, Kanowski LG & Kelly CM (2007) Mental health first aid training for members of the public. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 7, 141-151.
  • Kanowski LG, Jorm AF and Hart LM (2009) A Mental Health First Aid Training Program for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: description and initial evaluation, International Journal of Mental Health Systems 2009 3:10.
  • Kanowski LG, Kitchener BA (2008) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Heath First Aid Workbook, ORYGEN Research Centre, University of Melbourne.
  • Kanowski LG (2008) National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid (AMHFA) Program. Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal. Volume 32, Issue 2, Mar/Apr 2008, 18-19.
  • Kanowski L, Williams AJ, Kitchener B (2013) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid Workbook (2nd edition), Mental Health First Aid Australia, Melbourne.
  • Kanowski LG (2004) Introducing change in a complex organisation: A comparative analysis of the Southern Area First Episode (SAFE) Early Psychosis Program. Major project, Masters of International Mental Health, University of Melbourne.
  • Kanowski LG (2002) Report on Review of Aboriginal Mental Health Education and Training Program, Far West Area Health Service NSW.
  • Kitchener BA, Jorm AF, Kanowski LG, Petric T, Vlaicevic B, Goodwin M, Ubertini,M (2005) Ovaj Prirucnick objavljen je i na engleskome jeziku. Canberra, The Australian National University.
  • Kanowski LG, Kitchener BA, Jorm AF (Eds) (2007) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid Manual, ORYGEN Research Centre, University of Melbourne.
  • Kitchener, B.A., Jorm, A.F., Kanowski, L.G., Bonazzi, M., Crusca, S., & Aloisi, B., (2005) Manuale di Primo Soccorso della Sanitá Mentale per le Comunitá Italiane in Australia. Canberra, The Australian National University.
  • Kitchener, BA, Jorm AF, Kanowski LG, Bui V, Dinh T, Nguyen L (2005) Sách chí dán thúc hanh cáp cúu y té tám than. Canberra, The Australian National University.
  • O'Kearney R, Garland G, Welch M, Kanowski L, Fitzgerald S. (2004) Factors predicting program fidelity and delivery of an early intervention program for first episode psychosis in rural Australia. Aust eJ Adv Mental Health 2004, 3:1–9.

Updated:  1 May 2015/ Responsible Officer:  NCIS Project Coordinator/ Page Contact:  NCIS Administrative Officer