NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference: The power of truth

The image in the feature tile is from the Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference.

The NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health News is platform we use to showcase the important work being done in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, focusing on the work of NACCHO, NACCHO members and NACCHO affiliates.

We also share a curated selection of news stories that are of likely interest to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, broadly.

International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference: the power of truth

The Lowitja Institute’s Third International Indigenous and Wellbeing Conference centred around the theme of ‘truth.’ Academics, advocates, and health leaders were among inspiring speakers who reflected on the different meanings of truth, including the power of Indigenous truth, the international perspective on truth, the health power of truth, rights and equity, and taking hold of sovereignty.

Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney touched on “the need to change practice.” Professor Rigney said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people do not get their needs met in colonial systems because the true history of the system is not addressed.

Talking on culturally appropriate care Professor Rigney expanded, “Current practice does not uphold our human rights to access healthcare free from racism or value our sovereignty to have control over out healthcare.”

To learn more about the International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference click here.

International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference. Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney. Source: Twitter.

More support needed for children with parents in prison

Children who have a parent in prison are at a greater risk of experiencing trauma and disadvantage. A study commissioned by Shine for Kids has revealed an urgent need to improve care and support services for these children. The study, carried out by Monash University in conjunction with the Australian National University and Griffith University, sought to improve understanding of the characteristics, needs and experiences of children with a parent in prison, by surveying 94 caregivers about the specific experiences of the oldest child of an incarcerated parent.

The study found that, despite being over-represented in the prison population, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families are not being offered enough targeted support. More broadly, the survey found that children with parents in prison had higher rates of disability, ADHD, anxiety, and depression. The study also reports a “concerning number” of carers surveyed indicated the children in their care have also had contact with police or the youth justice system.

Shine for Kids has made six recommendations to help improve outcomes for children with parents in prison:

  • Specialised, free and accessible support for children and families should be proactively offered at key points including arrest, sentencing and around time of visits in person and via video.
  • Wraparound support such as case management, counselling crisis care and outreach for families with complex needs to reduce the burden of navigating multiple service systems.
  • Targeted support to address the specific needs of Indigenous families including in terms of education and housing.
  • Services and resources to support ongoing family connection during imprisonment. The evidence shows that if supported well, an ongoing relationship can benefit both the child and person in prison.
  • Specific training and support for schools and teachers so they can properly help a child when required.
  • More research, particularly when it comes to hearing from the children themselves about their experiences and how they adapt in the post release period.

To read the full Croakey Health Media article Systems must do better at caring for children in greatest need click here. To read the full study Mapping the needs and experiences of children affected by parental imprisonment: A national survey go here.

Source: Shine for Kids.

Government urged to take immediate action on housing fund

The Coalition of Peaks is among a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations urging the government to take immediate action to resolve delays on the Housing Australia Future Fund Bill, after it failed to pass parliament this week. Coalition of Peaks Deputy Lead Convenor and Chair of the SA Aboriginal Community Controlled Organsation Network, Scott Wilson said, “housing is a key social determinant of health: our people need housing now. It’s time to stop procrastinating.”

“There’s no guarantee that come October the legislation will pass, and even if it does, by the time you even start building houses we’re looking at 2025,” Mr Wilson said.

With disproportionate rates of homelessness and 34% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults renting through social housing, NATSHIA CEO Ivan Simon said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people “continue to be severely disadvantaged by the lack of appropriate responses from governments over many years to the housing circumstances that impact on their daily lives.”

To read the National Indigenous Times article Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations urge immediate action on housing fund click here.

Source: National Indigenous Times

Possum skin cloak to help Elders with safe passage to the Dreamtime

Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative and Wulumbarra (a small grassroots First Nations community group) organised workshops for Indigenous young people from the Goulburn Valley to design and stitch together a possum skin cloak, which was then donated to the Rumbalara Elders Facility. The skin will be offered to residents and families as something they can use for a safe passage into the Dreamtime.

Rumbalara housing and homelessness support worker Jaime Mackay said the family will have the option to have the cloak over the person in their last days, “so they have that little bit of cultural connection and feel comfortable.”

The program was designed to create a safe space for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people impacted by the 2022 Goulburn Valley floods. Ten young people participated in the five-week program, a unique opportunity to connect with culture. Proud Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Waurrung man and co-founder of Wulumbarra, Michael Bourke said the workshops allowed young people to engage with skills and knowledge they often did not get to.

“Keeping this culture alive is building identity for these young kids to grow strong and understand that they are young kings and queens,” Mr Bourke said.

To read the full ABC article Indigenous young people make possum skin cloak to help elders with safe passage to the Dreamtime click here.

The possum skin cloak made for the Rumbalara Elders Facility. Photo: Georgina Carroll, ABC Shepparton.

Guild Symbion Scholarship

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia and Symbion have announced a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pharmacy student scholarship. Program participants will receive education and career support from mentors, alongside a financial entitlement and pharmacy conference support.

Further details can be accessed here.

Source: Canva.

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