Jasmine’s Journey | Cape York Leaders Program

Jasmine King was born in Perth, 3,440 kilometers southwest of her extended family in Cairns and Yarrabah.

Separated by distance but bound by ancestral roots, Jasmine spent her childhood away from most of her family. In her late teenage years, Jasmine’s mum bridged the distance between them and moved across the country to Far North Queensland.

“My family are like my rock,” Jasmin says.

Jasmine’s family – and her nanna in particular – have always been a source of strength and inspiration.

A protagonist for social justice, Jasmine’s nanna played an integral role in opening a family domestic violence home for women in Cairns during date. Her nanna was passionate about helping women and children escape domestic violence and provided them with safe and secure accommodation when they were in need.

“My nan was never afraid to stand up for what she believed in. She was a compassionate person who did things with an open heart,” Jasmine says.

Inspired by her nanna’s passion for social justice and steadfast strength, Jasmine knew that she wanted to uplift others in her career, just as her nanna did.

“My goal is to be there for people when they’re going through hardship. Even if someone’s only struggling with the small things, it all adds up. I want people going through hardship to know they’re not alone, and I want them to feel supported,” she says.

Motivated by her desire to help others, Jasmine made the difficult decision to move back to Perth to pursue a Bachelor of Psychology with the University of Western Australia (UWA). Committed to supporting and uplifting Indigenous Australians, she began her journey to become a Clinical Psychologist.

    There are only around 200 Indigenous psychologists in the whole of Australia. There’s a real need for us, for Indigenous psychologists. I want to open doors for other people.

“It was a big move to go from Cairns to Perth to pursue my goal in lifting up mob through mental health,” she says.

When she began her studies, Jasmine was struck by the stark differences between mainstream Australian academic culture and her Aboriginal heritage. The cultural differences between Jasmine’s university life and personal life were palpable, and she struggled to navigate the walk between two worlds. In her time of need, Jasmine turned to her community for support and mutual understanding.

She stayed connected with the Indigenous Student Services at UWA, other Indigenous students and Cape York Leaders Program (CYLP), which provided wrap-around support and mentoring with Student Support Officers in regular contact to guide and mentor students through the tertiary journey. CYLP also supports Jasmine financially, easing the costs of living so she can concentrate on her studies.

“I don’t think I would be here at university in Perth if it wasn’t for CYLP because living independently is so expensive. The support I get from CYLP means that when I need to see family it’s always an option. There have been times when I get so depleted. My family has always been my biggest support. It’s where I get my strength.”

Now in her fourth year of study, Jasmine draws on her passion for helping others as a source of inspiration and motivation.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience a higher rate of mental health issues than non-Indigenous Australians with deaths from suicide almost twice as high as for non-Indigenous Australians. Jasmine is determined to make a difference by providing culturally appropriate therapeutic services to First Nations People, offering support and understanding through the lens of lived experience.

“We make up around only 3% of the Australian population, and we have even less representation in the field of psychology. There are only around 200 Indigenous psychologists in the whole of Australia. There’s a real need for us, for Indigenous psychologists. I want to open doors for other people,” she says.

When Jasmine graduates, she plans on pursuing a Masters in Clinical Psychology after working and researching organisations in her field, but wants to keep her doors open to other avenues of psychology and make her family proud.

“I want to honour nanna’s memory by continuing the stories. By telling my generation about our family, our resilience and our strength,” she says.


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