NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: ACCHO-led outreach services as VIC decriminalises public drunkenness

The image in the feature tile is from Wathaurong Aboriginal cooperative.

The NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health News is a 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.

ACCHO-led outreach services as VIC decriminalises public drunkenness

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians will have access to dedicated services throughout the state as Victoria decriminalises public drunkenness. There will be eight dedicated regional services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians which will provide help and support for intoxicated people, along with one First Nations sobering centre in St Kilda.

The eight regional areas are:

  • Geelong – Wathaurong Aboriginal cooperative
  • Ballarat – Ballarat and District Aboriginal cooperative
  • Bendigo – Bendigo and District Aboriginal cooperative
  • Shepparton – Rumbalara Aboriginal cooperative
  • Mildura – Ngwala Willumbong Aboriginal corporation, supported by Mildura Base hospital
  • Swan Hill – Ngwala Willumbong Aboriginal corporation
  • Latrobe – Ngwala Willumbong Aboriginal corporation
  • East Gippsland – Ngwala Willumbong Aboriginal corporation

Ngwala Willumbong Aboriginal Corporation will run four of the regional services along with their pre-existing facility in St Kilda, which will become a six-bed sobering centre from today, Tuesday 7 November.

Ngwala CEO De-Joel Upkett said the programs they’ve previously operated would benefit now that clinical responses are included in services they can deliver.

“We always have met with community, but to be able to deliver a clinical response with a holistic approach; you know it’s an opportunity to bring community back into our services,” he said.

Read the full National Indigenous Times article here.

Cohealth’s outreach van. Image source: National Indigenous Times.

ADHD inquiry calls for national prescribing rules

An inquiry into attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has called for a national consistency in diagnosis and treatment to improve the lives of those with the condition. The Senate inquiry found cost, location, cultural and gendered barriers to access along with different prescribing rules in every state and territory are seeing some wait years for help. Senators heard these barriers to access have significant flow on effects seeing those with ADHD facing shorter life expectancy and higher rates of incarceration, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, and suicide.

Director of policy at NACCHO, Nadine Blair told senators the issue particularly affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“One of the things that we know is that there are a lot of barriers for people, particularly for those living in border communities,” she said.

“If you are receiving your script from a doctor in one jurisdiction but you’re trying to fill it in another jurisdiction, that is problematic, you can’t always fill a script from another jurisdiction.”

Read the full ABC News article 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: ABC News.

“It’s got to be Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands, every day” – Danila Dilba on Prison Health care.

Danila Dilba Health Service provides a program to support young people detained at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre. A team of Aboriginal youth workers provides therapeutic group work and one-on-one support, as well as a weekly program that includes after-hours and some weekend activities such as sport and recreation.

At the 2023 NACCHO Members’ Conference session Prison Health Care, Tiana McCoy, Executive Manager, Clinical Services at Danila Dilba Health Service spoke about the successes and opportunities for improvements in providing wrap around support for youth detainees, following the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

Speaking about the Prison Health Care program, Ms McCoy stated, “Nobody else in the country had done this, so we were the first to step up and say, ‘we will be the leaders for making this the norm’ – because we are the only ones, it’s got to be Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands, every day.”

Having doctors and nurses providing these services in the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre makes it accessible to young people who may not ordinarily seek out health and medical support. The question Ms McCoy is asking is, ‘How do we give them the tools to be able to walk into any of our clinics and know that they can see a staff member?” and get support.

She explained that many young people at the youth detention centre come from remote communities, and the health service loses sight of them once they return to Community.

Since the Royal Commission in 2017, there have been improvements in the youth detention space including, increased engagement with the health system, medication compliance, and vaccination rates. Ms McCoy said that this all indicates ‘that we’ve actually made a change and it’s been a positive change, and does that measure success? Yes. Definitely.”

Other opportunities for improvement outlined in the session include:

  • Medicare billing.
  • The current Don Dale facility is not fit for purpose.
  • Raising the age of criminal responsibility.
  • Increased funding for therapeutic care/diversional therapy.
  • Staffing levels.

Learn more here.

Elder Care Support Training in Whyalla

NACCHO attended the South Australian West Coast ACCHO Network’s (SAWCAN) Elder Care Support Training in Whyalla. The Elder Care Support program is designed to deliver Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aged Care support, connection, and coordination. SAWCAN staff, Shellander and Rianna attended NACCHO’s ‘train the trainer’ Elder Care Support session earlier this year and rolled the training out to their members last week.

Stakeholders in the Aged Care space attended the three-day training which allowed for ACCHOs to speak directly with key stakeholders on issues affecting our Elders. It was a great opportunity to bring the SAWCAN Elder Care Support staff together to discuss the future of the program and how to best support our Elders.

Learn more about Elder Care Support here.

Elder Care Support Training in Whyalla.

SWAMS Djin Djin Mart providing social and support services.

South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS) has opened the doors to a new home for those wanting a yarn or needing support. Djin Djin Mart, or good group support in Noongar, was officially opened last month as the new home of the organisation’s social men’s and women’s groups, and a disability peer support group.

SWAMS chief executive Lesley Nelson said it was exciting to see the building come to fruition,” I believe the staff that are involved in this space out here, they’re certainly going to ensure it is a safe space, it is a cultural space and it’s a space that will welcome everyone that wants to come in.”

Djin Djin Mart will also offer expanded mental health, alcohol and other drug support through the Mental Health Commission-sponsored Moorditj Mia program, which will include weekly relaxion, arts and crafts and music sessions.

Mental health, alcohol and other drug manager Justin Brown said it was fantastic to see the facility opened,” it is about bringing people and community together so we can come and enjoy each other’s company.”

Read more here.

Justin Brown, Tessa Grimshaw, Lesley Nelson and Ernie Hill. Image source: The West Australian.

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.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *