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Meet Jahdai Vigona, our new Menzies trainee

Bridging the Gap raised funds for creating new Menzies traineeship positions in June.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Jahdai has been offered a full-time traineeship with Menzies’ Drug & Alcohol team and HealthLAB.

19-year-old Jahdai Vigona has developed a passion for dedicating his research back to his community and wishes to further his studies in public health through Charles Darwin University and Menzies School of Health Research.

Jahdai is of Tiwi Island heritage but grew up in Darwin where he is completing a Certificate III in Community Services with the Drug & Alcohol team. Jahdai finds it rewarding that he gets to go back to country and dedicate his research to his people on the Tiwi Islands.

Jahdai started his employment with Menzies as a casual Indigenous Research Officer working around Wellbeing and Preventable Chronic Diseases.

Whilst at Menzies, Jahdai has worked on a range of projects relating to gambling and social and emotional wellbeing; he also leads the secretariat role for the Menzies Social and Emotional Wellbeing Aboriginal Advisory Committee (SEWBACC).

Jahdai’s research has spanned among a broad range of projects. These include:

  • Tiwi Mental Health Literacy Project (2019)
  • Aboriginal Islander Mental Health initiative (AIMHI) App Development (2019)
  • NT Gambling Problems in High-Risk Communities Survey (2019)
  • Delivering a Positive Mental Health Message and Suicide Prevention Strategy / Social Media Campaign (2020)
  • Beyond Blue Be You Pilbara Kimberley Evaluation (2020)
  • Aboriginal Islander Mental Health Initiative for Youth (AIMHI-Y) App Co-Design & Pilot Study (2020)

As a result of his work with these units, he was approached to apply for the Menzies traineeship position.

“I just always had a desire for helping people, even as a young kid, and through my experience, I have learned how to apply and develop my skills so I can give back to my community and impact the health and wellbeing of my people, “says Jahdai.

Having already been offered a full-time role as a Project Officer on completion of his traineeship, Jahdai is looking forward to a future where he creates change for disadvantage and equal opportunity in his community and considers furthering his studies to complete a Graduate Diploma in the public health sector.