Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health graduates now have a national voice

Press Release from Indigenous Allied Health Australia Inc (IAHA).

Indigenous graduates from the Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health) across the country will now have a national voice thanks to the Indigenous Allied Health Australia Inc (IAHA).

Ms Faye Mc Millan the chairperson of Indigenous Allied Health Australia Inc (IAHA) said “the Board of Directors recent decision to extend full membership of IAHA to Mental Health graduates is a significant step in supporting the Indigenous mental health workforce and will benefit the Indigenous allied health workforce and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

“For the first time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Practitioners have a body that will advocate on their behalf, alongside other allied health professionals”

“IAHA will provide a strong advocacy role, at the national level, on behalf of the profession to assist in lobbying vital changes across the sector particularly in establishing a national awards structure recognising the importance of a professional Indigenous mental health workforce that is delivering high quality care and services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. “

“IAHA will work closely with universities and other institutions nationally to increase the number of graduates at the degree level, advocate for inclusive health curricula and establish a national platform for accreditation and recognition for Indigenous Mental Health practitioners” Ms McMillan said.

Mr Tom Brideson, the State-wide coordinator for the NSW Aboriginal Mental Health Workforce Program has welcomed this decision.  “The struggle to formalise these arrangements into a recognised professional association has been long journey going back to the mid 1990’s.   This decision will ensure Aboriginal mental health remains high on the agenda. It will provide an opportunity for collective responses to issues affecting this workforce through active participation, choice and control of educational processes that are empowering to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. But most importantly it validates the belief, hard work and persistence of the many graduates of the Djirruwang Program into a valuable professional association.” Mr Brideson said.

Media Contact:

Craig Dukes, CEO

(02) 6285 1010

25 June 2012

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