NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Honouring survivor-led healing

feature tile text 'respect & gratitude for stolen generation survivors, their families & communities leading healing nationally' & photo of grieving mother statute, Colebrook Reconciliation Park

Image in feature: The Grieving Mother Statute, Colebrook Reconciliation Park. SBS NITV website.

Honouring survivor-led healing

Today The Healing Foundation pays deep respect and gratitude for Stolen Generations survivors, their families and communities for leading healing nationally. A year ago, Stolen Generations survivors and descendants met with PM The Hon. Scott Morrison MP and Minister for Indigenous Australians, The Hon. Ken Wyatt MP, in a powerful example of what can be achieved when the voices of survivors, their families, and communities, are elevated and prioritised at a national level.

The Healing Foundation Board, Stolen Generations Reference Group and Youth Reference Group were each represented to share important stories of lived experience and hopes for tangible action to address urgent and unmet needs, including reparations, aged care, and intergenerational healing. Following these discussions, the Federal Government in August 2021 announced $378.6 million in reparations and wellbeing support for Stolen Generations survivors in Commonwealth territories – the NT, the ACT, and Jervis Bay.

The announcement was monumental and together with the Coalition of Peaks and in the context of a new way of doing business alongside Peaks, The Healing Foundation ensured that survivors in the Territories were seen and heard. Though the advocacy and leadership of Stolen Generations survivors over many decades led to this long sought-after acknowledgement designed to provide practical support for survivors to address a burden still carried now.

The Healing Foundation will continue to work alongside Stolen Generations survivors on a range of issues, including aged care, access to services, records management and preservation, acknowledgments and memorials, education, cultural competency of the public sector and service organisations, cultural and language renewal, and redress for survivors and their families in Queensland and Western Australia. This survivor-led work will be undertaken in partnership with Stolen Generations organisations and governments to address the ongoing and unmet needs as outlined by survivors and their families.

To view the Healing Foundation’s media release in full here. You can watch Stolen Generation survivor Uncle Robert Paul as he emotionally recalls what happened to him in the video below.

Earlier today Link-Up (Qld) are hosted a morning tea today to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations, where Dr (Aunty) Ruth Hegarty, who grew up in the dormitories at Cherbourg, and Aboriginal activist Patricia Turner AM, CEO NACCHO and Lead Convener of the Coalition of Peaks delivered keynote speeches.

After 14 years, the Apology still holds considerable meaning for Aunty Ruth. “The Apology in 2008 brought up emotions and memories of a lifetime of unresolved hurt and opportunities lost. For my mother and me it was too late,” she said. “The continuing acknowledgement of this day, whilst significantly political, hopefully will move the nation forward in achieving the recognition that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders seek in consolidating our status as the First Nations people,” Aunty Ruth said.

Through this annual event, Link-Up (Qld) acknowledges the resilience and strength of the Stolen Generations and their families, recognises the multiple ways that intergenerational trauma can manifest, and draws attention to pathways to justice for First Nations Australians. “You would be hard pressed to find one of our families that have not been impacted by the forceful removal of our children and the ongoing disruption to our family structures, our cultures and way of life. Not only will this take dedicated effort, healing and time to repair, we also need to address the current rates of our children’s removal from our families,” said Patricia Turner AM.

As Convenor of the Coalition of Peaks, Ms Turner is behind the historic Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in 2019. “The National Agreement on Closing the Gap provides a way forward through commitments by governments to shared decision making between our peoples and governments on matters that impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and support for our community-controlled organisations to provide our families and children with the services they need, delivered in a safe way,” she said. To view Pat Turner’s speech from this morning click here.

Anniversary of Stolen Generations apology

Today marks 14 years since the national apology to the Stolen Generations and their families for the harm and suffering caused by the policies of previous governments. NSW Minister for Aboriginal Aboriginal Affairs, Ben Franklin has issued a media release saying he would like to pay his deepest respect to the Stolen Generation Survivors – those that were able to find their way home, those that are still on their journey and those that never made it.

Minister Franklin said the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children led to widespread and systemic trauma. The enforced breakup and removal of families still profoundly impacts Aboriginal people and communities today. Today is a day to acknowledge the mistakes of past governments and interrogate their legacies in our current structures and beliefs. It is a reminder to think critically about existing government policies and to listen to Aboriginal peoples’ lived experiences and perspectives for tangible, systemic change.

To view Minister Franklin’s media release in full click here. You can view a a TEDxPerth presentation My stolen childhood, and a life to rebuild by Sheila Humphries below.

Top 3 COVID-19 vax questions

In the video below Dr Lucas De Toca, COVID-19 Primary Care Response First Assistant Secretary, answers the Top 3 COVID-19 vaccine questions, including what to avoid before a RAT, testing for kids, and variants picked up by tests.

AMSANT CEO bed-bound with COVID-19

The NT’s top Aboriginal health boss says countrymen will be suffering after he experienced COVID-19 first-hand. AMSANT chief executive John Paterson has been bed-bound since last Thursday when a “slight scratchy throat” alerted him to the possibility of having COVID-19.

“It started with a sore throat and then I went downhill pretty quick…the aches and pains have made me really fatigued,” he said. “But I feel sorry for our mob who aren’t triple vaxxed and trying to isolate in overcrowded, hot homes sometimes without any more than a mattress on the floor.”

Uncle Patto, as he is known in many communities, said having the comfort of an airconditioned home and “proper bed” to recover has made the crisis out bush all the more real for him. “On day one I had really high fevers and bad body spasms but having airconditioning helped me rest more comfortably,” he said. “It has been a real struggle.” Uncle Patto is a month post his third COVID-19 vaccination but said the impacts of COVID-19 have left him feeling “miserable.”

To view the Herald Sun news article in full click here.

AMSANT CEO John Paterson getting booster

Local Indigenous Leader John Paterson getting his booster shot from Aboriginal Health Practitioner Brenda Martin-Jard at the Danila Dilba facility in Palmerston. Photo: Glenn Campbell. Image source: ABC News.

$5m to support mob to stay COVID safe

The NSW Government has announced nearly $5 million in grant funding to support Aboriginal families and communities to stay safe and connected to critical services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ben Franklin said directly investing in Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) is making a real difference to communities, many of them in remote and regional locations.

We know that COVID has had a significant impact on our Aboriginal communities across the state, Mr Franklin said. Providing funding to Aboriginal communities and ACCOs is vital to ensuring everyone across the State has access to essential services to keep them physically and socially well, while also remaining connected to the places and people most important to them.

To view the Minister Franklin’s media release in full click here.

Image source: QAIHC Wear A Mask poster.

Victorian Indigenous suicide rates worsen

Dja Dja Wurrung man Stan Dryden knows the lasting impact of suicide on Aboriginal families and communities all too well. He has lost several family members, including his wife, Soufia, who died by suicide in December 1999. “She took her life at the age of 33, and a lot of that goes back to my choices earlier for drinking alcohol,” Mr Dryden said. “I was clean and sober for six years, and then she made a decision to take her life. That absolutely ruined us as a family.” He said her death has had a lifelong impact, and their children bore the brunt of the trauma that comes from losing a loved one to suicide.

The latest statistics from the Victorian Coroner show that since results of the Mental Health Royal Commission were published in 2021, there has been a 75% increase in Indigenous suicides, with young people, men, and those in regional communities most at risk. Gerry Georgatos has spent more than a decade coordinating the National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project, and he said poverty was overwhelmingly the root cause of suicide for Indigenous people. “What takes your life above the poverty line is 20, 30, 40 times more likely to take your life below the poverty line, and that number is even higher for First Nations people,” he said. “In the end, poverty alleviation is the major driver, in fact, that will reduce suicides, and we can dramatically reduce them with significant poverty alleviation.”

To view the ABC News article in full click here.

Gerry Georgatos with vase of flowers, lillies

Gerry Georgatos says poverty is an overwhelming factor in suicides across the country. Photo: Rebecca Trigger, ABC News.

WellMob videos launched

The WellMob team from e-Mental Health in Practice are excited to officially launch a series of short videos that now feature on the webiste landing page here.  WellMob provides culturally relevant and safe online social & emotional wellbeing resources for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We invite you to share these videos through your social media channels, e-newsletters and networks.

The videos aim to improve awareness about how the WellMob website can keep our diverse mob feeling strong & deadly in 3 ways:

  1. Using Wellmob as a holistic health & wellbeing promotion tool
  2. How to navigate the website to find resources in just 3 clicks
  3. Tips for health & wellbeing workers to use the website in practice

Pls find the vidoes at the below links:

WellMob: An introduction – this short video describes the WellMob website, a digital library of wellbeing resources made by and for our mob including over 250 apps, podcasts, websites, videos, social media and printable wellbeing materials.

WellMob: Website tour – this short video shows you how to use the WellMob website. Starting on the landing page, it shows the six main topics and steps through how to find digital wellbeing resources

WellMob: Tips for workers – a short video has tips for health workers on how to use digital wellbeing resources found on WellMob.

For further information about the WellMob website and video launch click here.

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

National Condom Day

Double protection – top & bottom!

National Condom Day is also Valentine’s Day. Please be safe and wear a mask in public, and if you do get cosy with your Valentine, please use protection down below as well. It’s very effective at preventing pregnancy and the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Have a safe and happy Valentine’s Day!

tile text 'double protection - top & bottom national Condom day 2022 - cartoon of condom with love heart mask & thumbs up sign

International Childhood Cancer Day

International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) is a global collaborative campaign to raise awareness about childhood cancer, and to express support for children and adolescents with cancer, the survivors and their families. ICCD spotlights the need for more equitable access to treatment and care for all children with cancer, everywhere. Together, on ICCD, we raise our voices and envision the day all children and adolescent with cancer benefit from the best possible treatment, care and support regardless of where they live in the world.

Every year, more than 400,000 children and adolescents below 20, are diagnosed with cancer. The rate of survival depends on the region, with 80% survival in most High Income Countries but as low as 20% only in Low and MIddle Income Countries.

The Target Goal of the WHO Global Childhood Cancer Initiative is to eliminate all pain and suffering of children fighting cancer and achieve at least 60% survival for all children diagnosed with cancer around the world by 2030.

This represents an approximate doubling of the current cure rate and will save an additional one million children’s lives over the next decade.

For information about ICCD click here.

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