NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Putting a ‘Hand Up’ for mental health

The image in the feature tile is from The Wimmera Mail-Times.

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.

Putting a ‘Hand Up’ for mental health

Hand Up is a mental health awareness campaign initiated by Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Cooperative. This year’s event, held on Friday 22 September, attracted more than 200 people who walked from the Botanic Gardens to the Horsham Sound Shell to participate in dance, football coaching and other activities alongside the Wimmera River. The event aimed to de-stigmatise the shame of seeking support for mental health, as well as empower the community to take the steps needed to seek support.

The goal of Hand Up is to:

  • Enhance Community connection
  • Create better engagement with Mental Health Service
  • De-stigmatise the ‘shame job’ of seeking support for mental health.

Read more here.

If you need health or wellbeing support for yourself, a friend or family member, please contact an Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) near you. To find an ACCHO in your area click here.

If you are feeling stressed, not sleeping well, or have increased anxiety and depression you can seek immediate help, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from:

Image source: The Wimmera Mail-Times.

What a ‘yes’ vote would mean for Indigenous eye health

Many organisations and associations in the eyecare sector have publicly shared their support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart and its call for a Voice to Parliament. Professor Hugh Taylor says his five decades working on eye health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities shows the need for a permanent Voice to Parliament. Professor Taylor worked closely with communities and leaders on the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision in 2012, establishing 64 regional groups nationwide to coordinate and provide eyecare; two thirds of those Indigenous-led.

“The gap for blindness has been halved and the rates of eye exams or cataract surgery increased three-fold.

“…This showed the importance of putting Indigenous eye health into Indigenous hands,” Professor Taylor said.

He says this success would have been impossible without strong Indigenous community advice, support, and leadership – and the value of this was again demonstrated during NACCHOs handling of COVID.

“We have to listen to and support Indigenous communities and leadership. That is why the Voice is so important. It is clear that decisions for First Nations people need to be made with them, not for them.”

Read more here.

Prof Hugh Taylor examining young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patient. Image source: University of Melbourne.

New approach keeping Aboriginal children out of child protection

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are over-represented in child protection. Aboriginal organisations and communities have long argued that this over-representation can be significantly reduced by drawing on the strengths of community and culture. VIC ACCHOs partnered with the University of Melbourne to undertake and trial new approaches to Aboriginal child protection, grounded in the principle of Aboriginal self-management. The trials were aimed at testing the hypothesis that having an Aboriginal organisation step in where there are worries about children’s safety and wellbeing will divert matters from child protection investigation and court proceedings.

One trial was implemented by Njernda Aboriginal Corporation and the Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Cooperative. This trial focused on holding Aboriginal family-led decision-making meetings where Aboriginal children had been repotted or were under investigation. These meetings bring together the child’s family, Elders, and other significant people in the child’s life to make culturally based decisions and plans that support the best interests of an Aboriginal child.

These trials were complex and were modified during implementation, with results more successful after referrals from child protection intake began to be accepted. However, results from the Njernda Aboriginal Corporation and the Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Cooperative trials, and others in the state, found that Aboriginal agencies are best placed to engage and empower Aboriginal families and connect them to the services and support they need to keep their children safe.

Read the full article here.

Image source: Shutterstock.

Have your say on the revised Australian Standard for community pharmacy practice

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia is an accredited Standards Development Organisation under Standards Australia, and the custodian of Australian Standard (AS) 85000 which sets out the requirements for a quality management system for Australian community pharmacies. Over the past 18 months, the Guild has led a revision of the Standard using an open process of consultation and consensus, in which all stakeholders were invited to participate.

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia says, “The review has provided an opportunity to ensure the Standard reflect current practice and can continue to support further advancements in practice into the future.”

As part of the review process, the Guild are seeking feedback on the draft of the revised Standard that has been developed.

Find out more here.

If you wish to provide feedback on the draft complete the feedback form here. You have until November 26 to provide feedback.

Expression of interest AMC Member Council

The Australian Medical Council (AMC) is seeking expressions of interest for the position of a Member of Council who is an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person with experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health issues.

Members need to commit to at least three full days per year to prepare for and attend the General Meeting (May/June) and Annual General Meeting (November). Members have the opportunity to collaborate with Council Members drawn from the medical profession, medical and health standards bodies, medical education and training, health consumers and community members.

To nominate for the position, complete and return the Expression of Interest Form along with your CV by Monday 2 October 2023.

Image source: AMC website.

Welcome Baby to Bourke

With no operating birthing unit in Bourke, expectant mothers need to travel to Dubbo to deliver their babies. An initiative to welcome babies born away from Country back into the region, the Welcome Baby to Bourke Community Baby Ceremony Day has been named as a finalist in the NSW Health Awards. Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) Manager Aboriginal Partnership in the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Directive, Pat Canty said the ceremony is incredibly important in impacting cultural ties to the land.

“Introducing our babies to community is a traditional practice that has been implemented through generations and it dates back thousands of years. The ceremony is a significant event for our babies to connect to our community, Country, and our Aboriginal Elders,” Ms Canty said.

The NSW Health Award winners will be announced later this year.

Read more here.

Image source: Western Plains App.

Sector Jobs

Sector Jobs – you can see sector job listings on the NACCHO website here.

Advertising Jobs – to advertise a job vacancy click here to go to the NACCHO website current job listings webpage. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find a Post A Job form. You can complete this form with your job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

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