NACCHO Aboriginal Prisoner Health #ClosingThe Gap #HaveYourSayCTG : What are the barriers preventing community-controlled health organisations providing care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prison ?

“Findings showed that while most participant ACCHOs had delivered services to people in the community upon release from prison, opportunities to deliver primary health care services to individuals in prisons were very limited.

Two key barriers to implementing holistic and culturally appropriate health care in prisons were lack of access to prisoners due to security protocols and prison staff attitudes, and lack of a sustainable funding model.

A reliable funding model underpinned by consistent access to prisoners and access to certain Medicare items could resolve this conundrum, as has been previously proposed.23

To this end, we encourage the Commonwealth of Australia to engage in appropriate discussions to resolve this matter.

Additionally, custodial and prison health providers need to engage in meaningful discussions with ACCHOs to address prisoner access issues. “

Download the Research Paper Here or READ Online

Barriers prevent ACCHOs from getting care to prisoners

Read all the Aboriginal health and Just Justice articles by NACCHO

How likely are you to go to jail? As an Aboriginal adult you are 16 times more likely to be incarcerated. Juveniles in Western Australia are 52 times more likely to be imprisoned than their white peers [15

Closing the Gap / Have your say about the prison system see Part 3 below

Deadline extended to Friday, 8 November 2019.

Part 1 PHAA Press Release

New research has revealed that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) face barriers to deliver to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners what they do best – holistic primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Researchers interviewed nineteen staff from four ACCHOs close to prisons across three Australian jurisdictions.

They found that while most ACCHOs deliver post release programs, their capacity to deliver health care to prisoners is limited by security protocols that restrict access to prisoners and funding constraints.

The study results are published today in the Public Health Association of Australia’s journal, the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

ACCHOs are universally acknowledged as organisations that are run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, delivering holistic primary health care that’s local and community owned.

The authors make several recommendations including reliable funding for ACCHOs and better and consistent access to prisoners.

State governments are encouraged to address prison access issues while the Federal Government is urged to consider changing the rules that prevent ACCHOs from using Medicare to fund work undertaken in the prison setting.

The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is poorer than that of other Australians. They are over-represented in Australian jails. Due to the unique cultural, social and historical factors, specific solutions to address health issues are required.

Part 2 Selected extracts

The offender population is one of the most stigmatised and socially excluded groups in society. Epidemiological studies of prisoners consistently find high levels of physical ill health, psychiatric illness and communicable diseases, and engagement in health risk behaviours such as smoking, alcohol consumption, illicit drug use and violence.12

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (hereon ‘Indigenous’) offenders, disadvantage is further compounded by poor social determinants of health.

Since colonisation more than 230 years ago, Indigenous Australians have lower levels of political representation, educational attainment and income when compared to the general Australian population, as well as higher rates of social exclusion, unemployment, trauma and ill‐health, and shorter life expectancy.3 Indigenous Australians frequently experience racism and low levels of access in mainstream health services and the legal system.45 These issues underscore the importance of community controlled primary health care for Indigenous offenders that is contextually relevant, holistic and culturally safe.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) provide culturally appropriate, autonomous primary health care services that are initiated, planned and governed by local Aboriginal Australian communities through an elected board of directors.6

ACCHOs are represented nationally by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (NACCHO), which engages directly with policy makers and funding bodies, links ACCHOs to facilitate health service delivery and research, advises on research, and provides leadership on service delivery principles such as community control.

Community control is vital for culturally appropriate and acceptable health care services in Indigenous communities and enacts articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ensuring self‐reliance, self‐determination, appropriate and acceptable health care.6

Since the establishment of the first ACCHO in inner Sydney in 1971, the network of ACCHOs has grown to 143 across Australia, providing more than three million episodes of care each year for approximately 350,000 people.7

Primary health care services provided by ACCHOs embody the Aboriginal definition of health, which is not just about an individual’s physical wellbeing but also the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the community, and takes a whole‐of‐life perspective that incorporates a cyclical concept of life–death–life.8

ACCHOs provide comprehensive primary health care that includes health education, health promotion, social and emotional wellbeing support and a range of other community development initiatives.9

Limited access to primary health care services for Indigenous peoples is a major barrier to addressing the overall aim of the Australian Government’s ‘Closing the Gap’ framework.10 Data show that, compared to mainstream services, ACCHOs are frequently accessed by Indigenous people.11

A 9% growth in Indigenous community members accessing their local ACCHO was observed between 2012–13 and 2014–15, with a 23% increase in the total number of episodes of care during this time.7 In a study comparing outcomes and indicators between ACCHOs and mainstream services, ACCHOs performed better in terms of best practice care, monitoring clinical performance, increasing engagement of Indigenous community members, and better leadership in training non‐Indigenous staff in Indigenous health matters.12

Barriers to accessing mainstream services extend also to Indigenous Australians in the criminal justice system. In Australia, Indigenous people comprise 28% of the prisoner population, but only 2% of the general population.13 Australian state and territory legislation states that prisoners must be able to access health care when they require it, and that they have the right to the same level of care as in the wider community14 – a right referred to in the international context as the ‘equivalence of care’ principle.15

Incarceration causes a person to be separated from their community.17 A recommendation (168) by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) requires that a person be incarcerated as close to their home community as possible.16 Incarceration can also disrupt continuity of holistic health care provided by an ACCHO,17 if that ACCHO has no means of accessing the prisoner.

Other custodial health and safety recommendations made by the RCIADIC state that Corrective Services departments should review the provision of health services to Indigenous prisoners including the level of involvement of ACCHOs (Recommendation 152c) and the exchange of relevant health information between prison medical staff and ACCHOs (Recommendation 152e).16

Australia’s National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC) asserts that improvements in health services for Indigenous prisoners and juvenile detainees may assist in reducing the overall prisoner numbers.18 Areas noted for improvement included health screening on reception, increasing uptake of recommended treatments, and enhancing prisoner throughcare by facilitating access of Indigenous health and other services to Indigenous prisoners.18

NIDAC highlighted that “the provision of a ‘one health service fits all’ model, as in the case for many corrections systems, creates a disjointed and unsuitable approach” for addressing health needs of Indigenous prisoners.18

In response, NIDAC recommended several strategies for involving ACCHOs to improve the health care of prisoners and their ongoing care post‐release.18 However, there is a dearth of literature on external health care provision to Australia’s prisoners from which to plan coordinated actions and resource allocation. Only a small number of reports are available on health care provided by community‐based organisations in prisons.1920

Health care varies greatly in Australia’s state‐ and territory‐based prisons, with government Departments of Health providing health care services to some through agencies such as the Justice and Forensic Mental Health Network in New South Wales (NSW), and Departments of Justice or contracted private companies providing services to others.21

There is no nationally coordinated approach or body whose role it is to monitor prisoners’ health care needs, and no national strategy for assessing or meeting the specific health needs of Indigenous prisoners.22 Australia’s publicly funded universal health care system – the Medicare Benefits Scheme and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, collectively known as Medicare – is suspended for prisoners during incarceration.

This is because other state‐ and territory‐level government departments become responsible for providing health care to prisoners.23 However, this arrangement has been identified as problematic, with concerns that it reduces resources or opportunities for providing comprehensive health care to prisoners that is equivalent to that available in the community.23

This project was designed by a team of Aboriginal and non‐Aboriginal researchers working at the nexus of the justice and health systems, and with specialisations in Indigenous health research, epidemiology, qualitative research and health services research and evaluation. Three of the team members identified as Indigenous Australians.

The primary aim of the research was to explore prisoner health services and programs provided by a selection of ACCHOs, including the challenges and enablers of delivering these, and implications for further research.

Part 3 Closing the Gap / Have your say about the prison system

Deadline extended to Friday, 8 November 2019.

 

The engagements are now in full swing across Australia and this is generating more interest than we had anticipated in our survey on Closing the Gap.

The Coalition of Peaks has had requests from a number of organisations across Australia seeking, some Coalition of Peak members and some governments for more time to promote and complete the survey.

We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to have their say on what should be included in a new agreement on Closing the Gap so it is agreed to extend the deadline for the survey to Friday, 8 November 2019.

This will help build further understanding and support for the new agreement and will not impact our timeframes for negotiating with government as we were advised at the most recent Partnership Working Group meeting that COAG will not meet until early 2020.

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

https://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/coalition-of-peaks/have-your-say/

NACCHO Aboriginal Men’s #MentalHealth : ‘ Whatever you grow will save a bro’ says @DeadlyChoices Nathan Appo selected to be one of the faces for the 2019 International #Movember campaign. Please support Donate

A few months ago I was asked to travel to London to be one of the faces of the 2019 International Movember campaign.

Of course I said yes and I’m honoured and blessed to be apart of such an important cause.

If you know me you’d know I’m very passionate about mental health and educating our mob around the importance of staying mentally healthy.

Too many of my brothers are passing away from suicide, don’t be shame my brothers. We need to be there for each other & educate our people around mental health & depression

This is just another way in supporting friends and family going through depression and anxiety as we can always educate someone around us.

This year Movember is reminding us that not everyone can grow the world’s best moustache but that shouldn’t stop you because ‘Whatever you grow will save a bro’.

 No matter if it’s patchy, lopsided or just kind of…furry, like mine! Every Mo has the power to save 

Your donation will help Movember fund groundbreaking work in prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.

To donate please click on Nathan’s link 

Nathan Appo from Innisfail / Mamu / Goreng Goreng / Bundjalung /Living in Brisbane and working with Deadly Choices

Men’s health charity, Movember, has launched its 2019 campaign for its annual month of moustache-growing.

This year, the campaign’s tagline is ‘Whatever you grow will save a bro’, acknowledging the variety of shapes and styles of moustache that are grown during Movember.

UK-based creative agency, MATTA, was behind the campaign. The ad was voiced by comedian Dave Lawson, and features testicular cancer survivor Harvee Pene, prostate cancer survivor Charlie Jia and mental health advocate Nathan Appo.

” Training isn’t always about physical health and strength. ‪I exercise to stay mentally healthy, mentally fit.‬
#MovemberMotivation‪What’s your Deadly Choice?‬ Says Nathan 

To donate please click on Nathan’s link 

“It’s amazing to see so many different faces from all over the world featured in the Movember campaign this year,” Jia said.

“As well as being a lot of fun to shoot and highlighting that anyone can grow a Mo, ‘Whatever you grow will save a bro’ has put Indigenous men’s health front and centre. It also shows that background, colour and beliefs don’t matter, because prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health issues won’t discriminate.”

A second video released shows Pene recount his story with testicular cancer to his barber.

Movember’s chief marketing officer, Juliette Smith, said: “‘Whatever you grow will save a bro’ arose from the insight that some men want to support the charity, but feel embarrassed by their facial hair, or its perceived inadequacy.

It also nods to the fact that the landscape of male grooming has changed, where the ask for many is no longer ‘grow a moustache’ but increasingly more often ‘shave your beard’, adding another layer of vulnerability for the grower.

 ” No matter if it’s patchy, lopsided or just kind of…furry, like mine! Every Mo has the power to save lives. My father Neily Apps is the reason why I participate in Movember, it’s a chance to educate and support our fellow men ” Says Nathan Appo 

To donate please click on Nathan’s link 

“The campaign aims to dispel these anxieties, demonstrating the ultimate importance of Movember; that the wider awareness of our charity and its causes; prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health, can change lives for better.”

MATTA’s design and production director, Tom Allwood, said: “Movember is so important in raising often un-talked about issues among men. We found a way of bringing people together from all backgrounds, showing that we’re all unique, but focusing throughout on the integral message of the movement.”

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth Download @NMHC National Report 2019 Released today : The Australian Government encourages PHNs to position Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services as preferred providers for mental health and suicide prevention services for our mob

” Working to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a priority area for PHNs.

The PHN Advisory Panel Report recommended that PHN funds for mental health and suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be provided directly to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) as a priority, unless a better arrangement can be demonstrated.

The Senate Inquiry into the accessibility and quality of mental health services in rural and remote Australia also made a similar recommendation.

PHNs should continue to work on formalising partnerships with ACCHS.

The NMHC supports the recommendations made by both these reports and recommends that the Australian Government encourages PHNs to position ACCHS as preferred providers for mental health and suicide prevention services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people “

Extract from Page 14 

Recommendation 16: The Australian Government encourages PHNs to position Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services as preferred providers for mental health and suicide prevention services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The National Mental Health Commission today released its National Report 2019 on Australia’s mental health and suicide prevention system, including recommendations to improve outcomes.

Download the full 97 Page Report HERE 

National_Report_2019

or 9 Page Summary HERE 

National Report 2019 Summary – Accessible PDF

The Commission continues to recommend a whole-of-government approach to mental health and suicide prevention.

This broad approach ensures factors which impact individuals’ mental health and wellbeing such as housing, employment, education and social justice are addressed alongside the delivery of mental health care.

National Mental Health Commission Advisory Board Chair, Lucy Brogden, said we are living in a time when we’re seeing unprecedented investment and interest in making substantial improvements to our mental health system.

“Current national reforms are key, but complex, interrelated and broad in scope, and will take time before their implementation leads to tangible change for consumers and carers,” Mrs Brogden said.

“The National Report indicates while there are significant reforms underway at national, state and local levels, it’s crucial that we maintain momentum and implement these recommendations to ensure sustained change for consumers and carers.”

National Mental Health Commission CEO Christine Morgan said the National Report findings align with what Australians are sharing as part of the Connections Project, which has provided opportunities for the Commission to hear directly from consumers, carers and families, as well as service providers, about their experience of the current mental health system.

“What’s clear is we must remain focused on long term health objectives. Implementation of these targeted recommendations will support this focus,” Ms Morgan said.

The NMHC recommendations require collaboration across the sector.  As part of its ongoing monitoring and report role, the NMHC will work with stakeholders to identify how progress of the recommendations can be measured.

For your nearest ACCHO contact for HELP 

NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sexual Health : #SH19 #HIVAUS19: We call on all delegates and organisations to support the Noongar Boodja Statement on #closingthegap on #STIs & #BBVs among Indigenous peoples of Australasia

” The signatories to this statement gather for the Australasian HIV & AIDS and Sexual Health Conference 2019 in Perth – traditional lands of the Noongar Whadjuk peoples, and the 41st New Zealand Sexual Health Conference 2019 in Wellington – traditional lands of the peoples of Ngāti Toa and Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika a Maui.

Australasian signatories – peoples of Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, the South Pacific, and Oceania including Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia – come together to share, collaborate and discuss the successes and challenges that lay ahead for the Australasian region in addressing STIs, viral hepatitis and HIV.” 

Click on the link to sign The NOONGAR BOODJA statement on CLOSING THE GAP on STIs & BBVs among Indigenous peoples of Australasia

Read over 50 Aboriginal Sexual Health Articles HERE published by NACCHO 

A strong theme of these conferences are the persistent inequities in sexual health outcomes for the Indigenous Peoples of the Australasian nations.

Despite recent investments in this area to address syphilis, much work remains to be done by all to address endemic rates of STIs in regional and remote Australia (chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomonas) and BBVs nationally (HIV and viral hepatitis).

This is unacceptable, because high rates of STIs particularly impact young women and their reproductive health (PID, premature birth, stillbirth and infertility) and the occurrence of BBVs should be decreasing at rates similar to the non-Indigenous population.

We confirm that these inequities are in contravention of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which all Australasian countries have endorsed.

Specifically, we commit to and call upon national and jurisdictional governments to appropriately fund and work with Indigenous communities, their community-based organisations and leaders to:

  • Action the right of Indigenous peoples to co-design culturally responsive policies and strategies that match their sexual health priorities, knowledges and practices;
  • Support Indigenous communities to provide health promotion and harm reduction services, particularly to young Indigenous peoples;
  • Provide high quality testing and care, in primary health care programs for Indigenous peoples;
  • Sustain a culturally responsive and expert STI, HIV and blood-borne virus (BBV) health workforce in Indigenous communities;
  • Build our knowledge to improve sexual health outcomes and reduce inequities.

For organisational sign up please send an endorsement email including your logo to Karen.Seager@ashm.org.au

NACCHO Aboriginal Mental Health #RUOKDay @ruokday ? Download #RUOKSTRONGERTOGETHER resources a targeted #MentalHealth #SuicidePrevention campaign to encourage conversation within our communities. Contributions inc Dr Vanessa Lee @joewilliams_tew @ShannanJDodson

Regardless of where we live, or who our mob is, we can all go through tough times, times when we don’t feel great about our lives or ourselves. That’s why it’s important to always be looking out for each other.

If someone you know – a family member, someone from your community, a friend, neighbour or workmate – is doing it tough, they won’t always tell you.
Sometimes it’s up to us to trust our gut instinct and ask someone who may be struggling with life “Are you OK?”.

By asking and listening, we can help those we care about feel more supported and connected, which can help stop them from feeling worse over time.

That’s why this campaign has a simple message: Let’s talk. We are stronger together

“Nationally, Indigenous people die from suicide at twice the rate of non-Indigenous people. This campaign comes at a critical time.

As a community we are Stronger Together. Knowledge is culture, and emotional wellbeing can be learned from family members such as mothers and grandmothers.

These new resources from R U OK? will empower family members, and the wider community, with the tools to look out for each other as well as providing guidance on what to do if someone answers “No, I’m not OK”.”

Dr Vanessa Lee BTD, MPH, PhD Chair R U OK’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group whose counsel has been integral in the development of the campaign

Read over 130 + NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Suicide Prevention articles

Click here to access the STRONGER TOGETHER resources on the RUOK? website

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP)

https://www.atsispep.sis.uwa.edu.au/

 I have struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. I’m 32 years old and only this year did I have the first psychologist ever ask me about my family history and acknowledge the intergenerational trauma that runs through Indigenous families.

Like many others, I have thought about taking my own life. There were a myriad of factors that led to that point, and a myriad of factors that led to me not following through. But one of the factors was the immense weight of intergenerational trauma that I believe is embedded into my heart, mind and soul and at times feels too heavy a burden to carry.

We can break this cycle of trauma. We need culturally safe Indigenous-designed suicide prevention programs and to destigmatise conversations around mental health. My hope is that, by sharing my own experiences of dealing with this complex subject, other people will be able to see that intergenerational trauma affects all of our mob.

The more we identify and acknowledge it, we’ll be stronger together “

Shannan Dodson is a Yawuru woman and on the RUOK? Indigenous Advisory committee that has launched the Stronger Together campaign targeted at help-givers – those in our communities who can offer help to those who are struggling ;

See full story Part 2 Below or HERE

R U OK? has launched STRONGER TOGETHER, a targeted suicide prevention campaign to encourage conversation within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Developed with the guidance and oversight of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group and 33 Creative, an Aboriginal owned and managed agency, the campaign encourages individuals to engage and offer support to their family and friends who are struggling with life. Positive and culturally appropriate resources have been developed to help individuals feel more confident in starting conversations by asking R U OK?

The STRONGER TOGETHER campaign message comes at a time when reducing rates of  suicide looms as one of the biggest and most important challenges of our generation.

Suicide is one of the most common causes of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander people. A 2016 report noted that on average, over 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people end their lives through suicide each year, with the rate of suicide twice as high as that recorded for other Australians [1]. These are not just numbers. They represent lives and loved ones; relatives, friends, elders and extended community members affected by such tragic deaths.

STRONGER TOGETHER includes the release of four community announcement video

The video series showcases real conversations in action between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advocates and role models.

The focus is on individuals talking about their experiences and the positive impact that sharing them had while they were going through a tough time.

“That weekend, I had the most deep and meaningful and beautiful conversations with my Dad that I never had.

My Dad was always a staunch dude and I was always trying to put up a front to, I guess, make my Dad proud. But we sat there, and we cried to each other.

I started to find myself and that’s when I came to the point of realising that, you know, I’m lucky to be alive and I had a second chance to help other people.”

When we talk, we are sharing, and our people have always shared, for thousands of years we’ve shared experiences, shared love. The only way we get out of those tough times is by sharing and talking and I hope this series helps to spread that message.”

Former NRL player and welterweight boxer Joe Williams has lent his voice to the series.

Born in Cowra, Joe is a proud Wiradjuri man. Although forging a successful professional sporting career, Joe has battled with suicidal ideation and bipolar disorder. After a suicide attempt in 2012, a phone call to a friend and then his family’s support encouraged him to seek professional psychiatric help.

Australian sports pioneer Marcia Ella-Duncan OAM has also lent her voice to the series. Marcia Ella-Duncan is an Aboriginal woman from La Perouse, Sydney, with traditional connection to the Walbunga people on the NSW Far South Coast, and kinship connection to the Bidigal, the traditional owners of the Botany Bay area.

“Sometimes, all we can do is listen, all we can do is be there with you. And sometimes that might be all you need. Or sometimes it’s just the first step towards a much longer journey,” said Marcia.

Click here to access the STRONGER TOGETHER resources on the RUOK? website.

If you or someone you know needs support, go to:  ruok.org.au/findhelp

Part 2

Shannan Dodson is a Yawuru woman and on the RUOK? Indigenous Advisory committee that has launched the Stronger Together campaign targeted at help-givers – those in our communities who can offer help to those who are struggling ;

Originally Published the Guardian and IndigenousX

It is unacceptable and a national disgrace that there have been at least 35 suicides of Indigenous people this year – in just 12 weeks – and three were children only 12 years old.

The Kimberley region – where my mob are from – has the highest rate of suicide in the country. If the Kimberley was a country it would have the worst suicide rate in the world.

A recent inquest investigated 13 deaths which occurred in the Kimberley region in less than four years, including five children aged between 10 and 13.

Western Australia’s coroner said the deaths had been shaped by “the crushing effects of intergenerational trauma”.

When we’re talking about Indigenous suicide, we have to talk about intergenerational trauma; the transfer of the impacts of historical trauma and grief to successive generations.

These multiple layers of trauma can have a “cumulative effect and increase the risk of destructive behaviours including suicide”. Many of our communities are, in essence, “not just going about the day, but operating in crisis mode on a daily basis.”

I have struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. I’m 32 years old and only this year did I have the first psychologist ever ask me about my family history and acknowledge the intergenerational trauma that runs through Indigenous families.

Like many others, I have thought about taking my own life. There were a myriad of factors that led to that point, and a myriad of factors that led to me not following through. But one of the factors was the immense weight of intergenerational trauma that I believe is embedded into my heart, mind and soul and at times feels too heavy a burden to carry.

Indigenous suicide is different. Suicide is a complex issue, there is not one cause, reason, trigger or risk – it can be a web of many indicators. But with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people intergenerational trauma and the flow-on effects of colonisation, dispossession, genocide, cultural destruction and the stolen generations are paramount to understanding high Indigenous suicide rates.

When you think about the fact that most Indigenous families have been affected, in one or more generations, by the forcible removal of one or more children, that speaks volumes. The institutionalisation of our mob has had dire consequences on our sense of being, mental health, connection to family and culture.

Just think about that for a moment. If every Indigenous family has been affected by this, of course trauma is transmitted down through generations and manifests into impacts on children resulting from weakened attachment relationships with caregivers, challenged parenting skills and family functioning, parental physical and mental illness, and disconnection and alienation from the extended family, culture and society.

The high rates of poor physical health, mental health problems, addiction, incarceration, domestic violence, self-harm and suicide in Indigenous communities are directly linked to experiences of trauma. These issues are both results of historical trauma and causes of new instances of trauma which together can lead to a vicious cycle in Indigenous communities.

Our families have been stripped of the coping mechanisms that all people need to thrive and survive. And while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are resilient, we are also human.

Our history does shape us. Let’s start from colonisation. My mob the Yawuru people from Rubibi (Broome) were often brutally dislocated from our lands, and stripped of our livelihood. Our culture was desecrated and we were used for slave labour.

My great-grandmother was taken from her father when she was very young and placed in a mission in Western Australia. My grandmother and aunties then all finished up in the same mission. And two of those aunties spent a considerable time in an orphanage in Broome, although they were not orphans.

In 1907, a telegram from Broome station was sent to Henry Prinsep, the “Chief Protector of Aborigines for Western Australia” in Perth. It reads: “Send cask arsenic exterminate aborigines letter will follow.” This gives a glimpse of the thinking of the time and that of course played out in traumatic and dehumanising ways.

In the late 1940s a magistrate in the court of Broome refused my great-grandmother’s application for a certificate of citizenship under the Native Citizen Rights Act of Western Australia. Part of his reasons for refusing her application was that she had not adopted the manner and habits of civilised life.

My anglo grandfather was imprisoned for breaching the Native Administration Act of Western Australia, in that he was cohabiting with my grandmother. He was jailed for loving my jamuny (grandmother/father’s mother).

My dad lost his parents when he was 10 years old. My grandfather died in tragic circumstances – and then my grandmother, again in tragic circumstances, soon after.

My dad was collected by family in Katherine and taken to Darwin. There was a fear that he would be taken away – Indigenous families knew well the ways of the Native Welfare authorities, and I suspect they were protecting my dad from that fate. Unlike many Indigenous families, he was permitted to stay with them and became a state child in the care of our family.

My family has suffered from ongoing systematic racism and research has shown that racism impacts Aboriginal people in the same way as a traumatic event.

My family and community have suffered premature deaths from suicide, preventable health issues, grief and inextricable trauma.

We can break this cycle of trauma. We need culturally safe Indigenous-designed suicide prevention programs and to destigmatise conversations around mental health. My hope is that, by sharing my own experiences of dealing with this complex subject, other people will be able to see that intergenerational trauma affects all of our mob. The more we identify and acknowledge it, we’ll be stronger together.

NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health #OCHREDay Press Release : Over 200 delegates inspired to take home new skills and knowledge to face the challenges in improving the health of men in their communities.

“We all know about the statistics in regards to Indigenous men’s health, we got some pretty numbers, better than some cricket scores.

We can close the gap about men’s health a lot better than a lot of the attempts that were made from Canberra.”

Ernie Dingo spoke at Ochre Day about their successful men’s health remote community program – Camping on Countrywhere culture is an integral part of health

NACCHO Ochre Day is an important event that reflects on the social and emotional issues our men face and are less likely to seek help for themselves. It is a great platform to hear stories of hope and empowerment and to learn what is working in our communities – of strategies that are successful for our men to take better care of their health and wellbeing.

This year’s conference saw great participation from all 200 delegates who embraced the three focus areas of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men being in control, innovative and influential.

 Problems were met with solutions, with many delegates taking home new skills and knowledge to face the challenges in improving the health of men in their communities.”

NACCHO’s commitment is to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males to live longer, healthier lives and reduce the rate of preventable hospitalisations, which is almost three times higher than for other Australian men.”

Mr John Paterson, CEO of Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) and spokesperson for NACCHO said in his opening address at the seventh annual Ochre Day Men’s Health Conference over August 29-30 at Pullman On the Park, Melbourne : Hosted by VACCHO

Read in full John Paterson’s opening speech

Read and or Download this NACCHO Press Release HERE

NACCHO Ochre Day Media Release 30 August 2019

Please note all photography James Henry : Contact Here

The NACCHO Ochre Day Conference celebrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male health and wellbeing.

It upholds traditional values of respect for the law, elders, culture and traditions, responsibility as leaders and men, holders of lore, providers, warriors and protectors of families.

The enduring theme for the conference is – Men’s Health, Our Way. Let’s Own It!

The comprehensive program had an eminent line-up of speakers cover diverse topics, such as behavioural change and using data to tell stories about health.

“True empowering moments are the connections and friendships that lead the change for ourself’s, family and communities.

Strong men, Strong families and strong communities”.

Patrick Johnson at OCHRE day 

In photo above from left to right : Preston Campbell Dally M Award winner, Olympian Karl Vander-Kuyp ,Lomas Amini Bush TV, Ben Mitchell OChre Day MC Coolamon Adisors and Patrick Johnson Olympian and Deadly Choices Ambassador

Read or Download a full list of speakers HERE

Please note a full Ochre Day report on all speakers will be published next month 

Lomas Amini and Ernie Dingo spoke about their successful men’s health remote community program – Camping on Country, where culture is an integral part of health.

While Delroy Bergsma and Robert Binismar of Youth Focus shared their success stories in using art and music to help young people in rural areas deal with mental health.

Former NRL star and community leader Preston Campbell moved delegates, speaking about what it means to be a leader and an Elder.

He drove home the message that “Leaders aren’t the ones proclaiming to be leaders. Leaders put their hand up and take accountability”. Preston shared how his NRL career taught him the value of self-reflection and honesty in articulating a vision for his community.

Every year, during the Ochre Day conference, NACCHO hosts a memorial dinner in honour of Jaydon Adams, a young leader whose contribution to youth participation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health lives on.

The winner of the 2019 Jaydon Adams Memorial Award was Nathan Taylor from Dandenong and District Aborigines Co-operative Ltd. Pictured here on right with Mark and Lizzie Adams

Nathan was recognised for his exemplary work as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth worker

Nathan Taylor is employed as a Youth Worker at DDACL. In his role he comes into contact with many Aboriginal young people and is always caring about what they are doing and their health and their current situation. He shows exemplary care and concern for his fellow Koori (male or female) and advocates on their behalf with various providers, especially within our organisation.

Nathan Taylor is always concerned about better health for Aboriginal young people. He has been integrally involved in a good health program for young people early in the morning before school. He arranges to pick them up, gets them to a basketball facility and puts them through their paces, then they get ready and changed and have breakfast. He then drops them off at school.

It has changed these young peoples perceptions of themselves and improved their outlook on life and lifting their self-esteem and has encouraged them to do better at school and be more mindful of their health and that of their family and friends.

Nathan Taylor understands that young people need to be active and that will help them to stay fit through out their life, prevent take up of smoking and enable them to be better parents for the next generation and good roll models for our community at large. He knows that this will help reduce incidents of chronic disease like hypertension and diabetes, and reduce the risks of stroke and other lifestyle illnesses.

Nathan Taylor has a soft voice and a personal way of engaging with Aboriginal young people. He is able to build a quick rapport and to find out about a person (who they are and where they’re from) so that he can provide advice or a point of referral.

In 2018 Nathan Taylor earned a Diploma in Youth and received the Koori Student of the Year Award for 2018 and the CEO Award from Chisholm Institute TAFE Dandenong i

Our thanks to the sponsors Aboriginal Health Television

See AHTV website

Aboriginal Health Television (AHTV) has potential to reach over 1 million patients, family members and carers every month in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations & Aboriginal Medical Services across the country.

Our digital TV network delivers targeted, culturally relevant, health & wellbeing messages to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities resulting in better health decisions & outcomes

Jake Thomson pictured below

NACCHO Aboriginal Men’s Health : John Paterson launches Men’s Health Our Way – Let’s Own it #Ochre Day program in Melbourne around three main themes, – In Control, Influence and Innovation : Read full speech HERE

Ochre Day is an important event for reflecting on these issues, and for hearing stories of hope and empowerment, and learning what is working in our communities – of strategies that are successful in engaging our men to take better care of their health and wellbeing.

It is good to see that other presentations will also be illustrating the connections between culture, sense of place and wellbeing, and the importance of supporting Aboriginal men to become leaders, role models and mentors within their communities. ”

Opening address by John Paterson, AMSANT CEO August 29

Download or view the full 2 Day Program

Good Morning everyone and welcome to the NACCHO Ochre Day Men’s Health Conference.

My name is John Paterson, I am a Ngalakan man from the Roper River Region of the NT. I am the CEO of AMSANT, the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health peak body in the Northern Territory, and I have been invited to speak to you today on behalf of NACCHO.

I would like to acknowledge that the land we meet on today is the traditional lands for the Boon Wurrung and Woiwurrung (Wurnundjeri) peoples of the Kulin Nation. Their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Boon Wurrung and Woiwurrung (Wurnundjeri) people today.

This is also true for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that are here this morning. We draw on the strength of our lands, our Elders past and on the lived experience of our community members.

I would also like to acknowledge and thank our hosts, the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

And finally, I would like to acknowledge and welcome our Mr Phillip Matsamato of Broome who has been our patron since 2013

Ochre Day was first held in 2013.

It is an important initiative that seeks to bring a positive approach to male health and wellbeing that celebrates Aboriginal masculinities, and uphold our traditional values of respect for our laws, respect for Elders, culture and traditions, responsibility as leaders and men, teachers of young males, holders of lore, providers, warriors and protectors of our families, women, old people, and children.

Finally, NACCHO’s commitment is to support Aboriginal males to live longer, healthier lives as males for themselves.

The goals of Ochre Day are to:

  • Provide an opportunity to ‘showcase’ examples of best practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male health service delivery;
  • Raise awareness of issues that have an impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male health and social, emotional wellbeing; and
  • Enable the exchange of information among delegates on initiatives that are focused on improving male health and wellbeing.

This year’s Ochre Day program has been developed around three main themes, – In Control, Influence and Innovation. They focus on strategies that:

  • Enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men to take control of their health;
  • Influence new health behaviours; and
  • Highlight new innovations in Aboriginal men’s health.

The three main themes sit comfortably with the Ochre Day logo – Men’s Health Our Way – Let’s Own it.

This year marks the seventh Ochre Day. The concept of Ochre Day was developed in 2013 by Mark Saunders and Colin Cowell to launch the NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health 10-Point Blueprint Plan 2013 -2030.

Deputy NACCHO chair Matthew Cooke, Chair Justin Mohamed and board member John Singer launching Blueprint 2013

The 2013 one day event was held in a marque in front of Parliament House Canberra to highlight the positive work of Aboriginal males in our sector and communities

We do not need another top down Federal Government strategy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Men’s health when we already have the foundations with this Blue Print.

See 2013 BluePrint Plan HERE

Yes ,we need to review and edit our plan but

As we say its Men’s Health Our Way – Let’s Own it.

Speaking of the history of Ochre Day I  would also like to acknowledge the great work of Mark Saunders who managed on very tight budgets the first four Ochre Days held in Canberra , Brisbane , Perth and Adelaide.

See OCHRE DAY history HERE

So why is it important to hold an annual conference specifically focusing on men’s health?

When NACCHO first conceived the idea of an Ochre Day, it was in response to what we were hearing in the Aboriginal Community Controlled health sector, backed up by evidence-based research that suggested our men have the worst health outcomes of any group in Australia.[i]

Our men have an unacceptable higher rate of fatal and non-fatal burden for almost every health condition, and we also have a higher prevalence of risk factors and risk-taking behaviours. We are overrepresented in mental health statistics and are three times more likely to die prematurely than other Australian men.[ii]

Help seeking behaviour is important for addressing health issues. Sadly, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men are much less likely than our women to seek help from health professionals.[iii] It is not surprising, then, to learn that our rate of preventable hospitalisations is almost three times higher than for other Australian men.

These statistics paint a disturbing picture of the state of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.

Ochre Day is an important event for reflecting on these issues, and for hearing stories of hope and empowerment, and learning what is working in our communities – of strategies that are successful in engaging our men to take better care of their health and wellbeing.

We are looking forward to hearing from Lomas Amini and Ernie Dingo on how Camping on Country, which has been designed around the principle that culture is an integral part of health, is achieving great outcomes in communities.

It is good to see that other presentations will also be illustrating the connections between culture, sense of place and wellbeing, and the importance of supporting Aboriginal men to become leaders, role models and mentors within their communities.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men make up one of the nine priority population groups of the National Men’s Health Strategy. We will have an opportunity to learn more about the goals of this important strategy later in the program, including how we can become involved in key activities.

We all know the devastating effects of social and emotional wellbeing issues in our communities, and the Ochre Day program includes several presentations on culturally appropriate interventions for engaging with young people and identifying persons with depression and possibly at risk of self-harm.

Sadly, nearly half of our men continue to smoke. This is in comparison with about 17% of non-Indigenous men. As you are aware, smoking is one of the biggest causes of death. It will be good to learn about how a Smoking in Prisons project is being rolled out in SA.

Culturally appropriate health promotion interventions are vital for engaging our men and changing health behaviours. I am looking forward to discovering more about what is working and what doesn’t work. It will also be good to learn more about Aboriginal Health Television, which plays important messages in the reception areas of our Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

Making sure that we have the information we need to help us improve our health outcomes is also important, and it will be good to hear about a national longitudinal study of culture, health and wellbeing that has been designed by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people.

I am sure that you agree that an excellent program has been put together again. I am confident that the presentations will interest and inform; and I am looking forward to our discussions over the next two days.

I sincerely hope that the knowledge gained from Ochre Day will energise you to continue your ongoing and important contributions to men’s health in your communities.

I HEREBY DECLARE THE SEVENTH ANNUAL NACCHO NATIONAL OCHRE DAY CONFERENCE OPEN

[i] Commonwealth Department of Health. 2019. National Men’s Health Strategy 2020-2030. Canberra.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. 2017. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework. Canberra.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #ChronicDisease #Prevention News : @ACDPAlliance Health groups welcome action on added sugars labelling and further consider 10 recommendations to improve the Health Star Rating system

 

“Industry spends vast amounts of money advertising unhealthy foods, so it is essential that nutrition information is readily available to help people understand what they are eating and drinking.

Two in three Australian adults are overweight or obese and unhealthy foods, including those high in added sugars, contribute greatly to excess energy intake and unhealthy weight gain”

Chair of the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance Sharon McGowan said food labelling is an important part of understanding more about the products we consume every day

Read previous 70 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Nutrition Healthy foods articles

The five year review of the HSR system (the Review) has now been completed. See Part 2 Below

Five Year Review of the Health Star Rating System – PDF 3211 KB

The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance welcomes the recent decisions to improve food labelling and provide clear and simple health information on food and drinks.

The Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation announced yesterday it would progress added sugars labelling and further consider 10 recommendations to improve the Health Star Rating system.

Decisions were also made to provide a nationally consistent approach to energy labelling on fast food menu boards and consider the contribution of alcohol to daily energy intake.

Current Health Star Rating system.

Ms McGowan said overweight and obesity is a key risk factor for many chronic diseases.

“We welcome improvements to existing labelling systems to increase consumer understanding and provide an incentive for industry to create healthier products.”

The Ministerial Forum also released the independent review of the Health Star Rating system with 10 recommendations for strengthening the system, including changes to how the ratings are calculated, and setting targets and timeframes for industry uptake.

The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance has been advocating to improve the Health Star Rating system for years. While the Alliance supports stronger changes to the ratings calculator, Ms McGowan said it was promising to see recommendations enhancing consistency of labels and proposing a mandatory response if voluntary targets are not met.

“Under the current voluntary system, only around 30 percent of eligible products display the health star rating on the label and some manufacturers are applying ratings to the highest scoring products only,” Ms McGowan said.

SMH Editorial The epidemic of childhood obesity and chronic health conditions linked to bad diet has turned supermarket aisles into the front line of one of the hardest debates in politics.

“To truly achieve its purpose and help people compare products, the rating needs to be visible and consistently applied to all foods and drinks.”

The recommendations to improve the Health Star Rating system will be considered by Ministers later this year.

Ms McGowan added “We know that unhealthy food and drinks are a major contributor to overweight and obesity, and that food labelling should be part of an overall approach to creating healthier food environments.”

Read the Health Star Rating report here and the Ministerial Forum communique here.

The five year review of the HSR system (the Review) has now been completed.

Five Year Review of the Health Star Rating System – PDF 3211 KB
Five Year Review of the Health Star Rating System – Word 16257 KB

The five year review of the HSR system considered if and how well the objectives of the system have been met and has identified several options for improvements to the system, including communication, monitoring, governance and system/calculator enhancements.

The Review found that the HSR system has been performing well. Whilst there is a broad range of stakeholders with diverse opinions, there is also strong support for the system to continue.

The recommendations contained in the Review Report are designed to address some of the key criticisms of the current system. The key recommendations from the report are that:

  • the HSR system continue as a voluntary system with the addition of some specific industry uptake targets and that the Australian, state and territory and New Zealand governments support the system with funding for a further four years;
  • that changes are made to the way the HSR is calculated to better align with Dietary Guidelines, and including fruit and vegetables into the system; and
  • that some minor changes are made to the governance of the system, including transfer of the HSR calculator to Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

The next steps will be for members of the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation to respond to the Review Report, and the recommendations contained within. It is anticipated that Forum will respond before the end of 2019.
Five Year Review – Draft Report

A draft of the review report was made available for public comment on the Australian Department of Health’s Consultation Hub from Monday 25 February 2019 until midnight Monday 25 March 2019. Following consideration of comments received, the report will be finalised and provided to the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (through the HSRAC and the Food Regulation Standing Committee) in mid-2019. mpconsulting sought targeted feedback on the draft recommendations – in particular, any comments on inaccuracies, factual errors and additional considerations or evidence that hadn’t previously been identified.

Draft Five Year Review Report – PDF 2928 KB
Draft Five Year Review Report – Word 21107 KB

A list of submissions for which confidentiality was not requested is below; submissions are available on request from the Front-of-Pack Labelling Secretariat via frontofpack@health.gov.au.

List of submissions: draft five year review report – PDF 110 KB
List of submissions: draft five year review report – Excel 13 KB
Five Year Review – Consultation

Detail on previous opportunities to provide feedback during and on the review are available on the Stakeholder Consultation page.

public submission process for the five year review was conducted between June and August 2017. mpconsulting prepared a report on these submissions and proposed a future consultation strategy. A list of submissions made is also available.

Submissions to the five year review of the HSR system – PDF 446 KB
Submissions to the five year review of the HSR system – Excel 23 KB

Report on Submissions to the Five Year Review of the Health Star Rating System – PDF 736 KB
Report on Submissions to the Five Year Review of the Health Star Rating System – Word 217 KB

5 Year Review of the Health Star Rating system – Future Consultation Opportunities – PDF 477 KB
5 Year Review of the Health Star Rating system – Future Consultation Opportunities – Word 28 KB

mpconsulting also prepared a Navigation Paper to guide Stage 2 (Wider Consultations Feb-Apr 2018) of their consultation strategy.

Navigation Paper – PDF 355 KB
Navigation Paper – Word 252 KB

Drawing on the early submissions and public workshops conducted across Australia and New Zealand in February- April 2018, mpconsulting identified 10 key issues relating to the products on which the HSR appears and the way that stars are calculated. A range of options for addressing identified issues were identified and, where possible, mpconsulting specified its preferred option. These issues are described in the Five Year Review of the Health Star Rating System – Consultation Paper: Options for System Enhancement.

Five Year Review of the Health Star Rating System – Consultation Paper: Options for System Enhancement – PDF 944 KB
Five Year Review of the Health Star Rating System – Consultation Paper: Options for System Enhancement – Word 430 KB

This Consultation Paper is informed by the TAG’s in-depth review of the technical components of the system. The TAG developed a range of technical papers on various issues identified by stakeholders, available on the mpconsulting website.

From October to December 2018, mpconsulting sought stakeholder views on the issues and the options, input on the impacts of the various options, and any suggestions for alternative options to address the identified issues. Written submissions could be made via the Australian Department of Health’s Consultation Hub.

mpconsulting held three further stakeholder workshops in Melbourne, Auckland and Sydney in November 2018 to enable stakeholders to continue to provide input on key issues for the review, including on options for system enhancements.
Five Year Review – Process

In April 2016, the Health Star Rating (HSR) Advisory Committee (HSRAC) commenced planning for the five year review of the HSR system.

Terms of Reference for the five year review follow:
Terms of Reference for the five year review of the Health Star Rating system – PDF 23 KB
Terms of Reference for the five year review of the Health Star Rating system – Word 29 KB

In September 2016, the HSRAC established a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to analyse the performance of the HSR Calculator and respond to technical issues and related matters referred to it by the HSRAC.

HSRAC Members agreed that, in order to achieve a degree of independence, consultant(s) should be engaged to complete the review. In July 2017, following an Approach to Market process, Matthews Pegg Consulting (mpconsulting) was engaged as the independent reviewer.

The timeline for the five year review.
Five year review timeline – PDF 371 KB
Five year review timeline – Excel 14 KB

NACCHO Aboriginal Men’s Health #OCHREDay Aug 29-30 : Registrations still open : Ernie Dingo @BushTV keynote #Closing  the gap in remote men’s health by empowering them to improve their physical, emotional, and social wellbeing.

“We’re going back on country with the men to strengthen their mentality towards their culture, their law, their language, but more so for medical benefits.

We have a team of medical officers who come out, male of course, who do checks on them so they can talk freely about their health, sitting around campfires.

We talk about needs in their community and just talk about things as a men’s group that we won’t be able to talk about in town or around family and stuff.”

Lomas Amini and Ernie Dingo will present Camping on Country at OCHRE Day Summit in Melbourne 29 -30 August

OCHRE DAY Web Page for all program info etc 

This year’s NACCHO Ochre Day men’s health conference is only a week away so be sure to register now

Register HERE

TV personality Ernie Dingo is hoping to close the gap in remote men’s health by empowering them to improve their physical, emotional, and social wellbeing.

Originally Published ABC NEWS 

Key points:

  • Ernie Dingo is working with BushTV to run camps for Indigenous men around Australia
  • The men have yarning circles, cultural activities and health checks
  • The program aims to empower men to improve their own health by strengthening culture, law and language

The Yamatji man from Western Australia is the chairman of Indigenous media organisation BushTV, which is running a program called Camping On Country.

“We’re going back on country with the men to strengthen their mentality towards their culture, their law, their language, but more so for medical benefits,” Dingo said.

“We have a team of medical officers who come out, male of course, who do checks on them so they can talk freely about their health, sitting around campfires.

“We talk about needs in their community and just talk about things as a men’s group that we won’t be able to talk about in town or around family and stuff.”

Men sitting around a camp fire in the outback.

The program has received $1 million from the Federal Government to run 20 camps over two years.

They have so far been held across northern Australia in places including Kununurra, Borroloola, Tennant Creek, and Kowanyama.

Strategies to close the gap had so far not worked well, Dingo said.

“The elders don’t want non-Indigenous people telling them what to,” he said.

“So this is Aboriginal men talking to Aboriginal men, rather than government coming out and they have to put up with the dry heat.

“We video interviews with [the men] about what they need and use that as a message stick to take to the minister for Aboriginal affairs.”

BushTV has also partnered with Sydney-based medical research organisation The George Institute, which will conduct longitudinal research using data collected from the camps.

‘Something special will happen’

Dingo said it was a privilege to take a young man with disabilities to a recent camp near Kowanyama.

“He’s a Kowanyama boy who was taken away at the age of two because of his disabilities; he needs care 24/7 and he’s in Cairns,” he said.

“He has never been to his country [since], and to be blessed on his tribal ground, that was very special to see.

“People moved heaven and earth to get him there.

“He was feeling the earth around him, a bit of a paddle in the creek and it was a real blessing to see.

“We have great moments like that at every camp — something special will happen.”

Ernie Dingo laughs while posing for a photo with another Indigenous man in front of BushTV truck

‘Don’t leave it too long’

Dingo, 63, has also struggled with depression and said it had been good for him to share his experiences with other men.

“You just suffer, and when you knock-off work and go home, that’s when it hurts the most,” he said.

If you or someone you know needs help contact your ACCHO , call:

“So I get to talk about a lot of stuff like that with a lot of people in similar situations and it’s making me stronger.

“It’s a good thing for me as well to be able to listen to people going through the same stuff that I’m going through and realise, not so much just zip it up and keep working, but actually spending time talking to people and making yourself feel better.”

He urged men struggling with problems to seek help.

“Don’t leave it too long, you can’t let things fester — it’s better to carry the scar than carry the the wound ”

 

NACCHO #OCHREDay 2019 Men’s Health Conference Speakers: Building stronger families and safer communities is the Dardi Munwurro vision.

“It’s important to understand the importance of healing in our work. While mainstream focus on behaviour, which is understandable, we’re trying to address both healing and behaviour.

It’s a different space. Aboriginal people carry a big weight, issues like racism, colonisation and the stolen generation. We’re trying to address all those issues as well as change the cycle of violence.

 It’s only once we address this trauma that we can move onto accountability and responsibility,”

said Alan Thorpe, Director of Dardi Munwurro 

Before men can stop being violent Alan Thorpe, Director of Dardi Munwurro and Lionel Dukakis Programs Manager of  Ngarra Jarranounith Place believe men must heal the trauma in their life.

Picture above (L-R) Lionel Dukakis, John Byrne and Alan Thorpe

They will be one of the many presenters at this year’s OCHRE DAY, Men’s Health Conference in Melbourne who will touch upon one of our key focus areas for this year – Innovative: identifying gaps in service delivery, considering new ideas and testing new approaches towards continuous quality improvement.

More Information Register HERE

Background Dardi Munwurro: Bringing out the best in Aboriginal men, for stronger communities article from No To Violence Website

Established in the year 2000, Dardi Munwurro provides group leadership training programs in Family Violence, specifically tailored to Aboriginal men and youth.Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women lead and support their families, communities and fellow Australians every week of every year.

It’s because of these women and their children, that organisations like Dardi Munwurro, who work directly with men to stop their use of violence, now exist. ‘Building stronger families and safer communities’ is indeed the Dardi Munwurro vision.

A vision best achieved by connecting with the heart and mind of an Aboriginal man who uses violence.

For Alan Thorpe, Director of Dardi Munwurro and Board Member of ‘No to Violence’, tackling a problem head on is an approach he’s used well both on and off the sporting field, having played in the AFL in the early 1980s for both Sydney and Footscray.

Not long after football, Alan sought after a deeper meaning, for both himself and the men in his community. With not much else but a mobile phone and a car, Alan began visiting Aboriginal men that had lost their way in life, men disconnected with their identity and angry with the world and those around them. The approach, which has naturally been refined over the years, was simple: Heal the man, stop the violence.

Over countless kilometres and conversations, Alan and John have little by little accumulated the support and trust of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working to break the cycle of violence in communities.

Most of the team are men’s healing and behaviour change facilitators who work regularly with Indigenous and non-indigenous psychologists, family violence advisory councils and legal services.

Lionel Dukakis, a Gunditjmara man from southwestern Victoria, is Programs Manager of  Ngarra Jarranounith Place – a residential healing program for Aboriginal men using violence – a world first.

Supported by the Victorian Government and the Collingwood Football Club, the 12-16 week program uses therapeutic family violence and personal development programs to engage men, while supporting women and children to safely restore their own lives.

“Mainstream services aren’t yet equipped to address cultural losses in a safe environment” says Alan. “I know of a situation where a discussion in a men’s behaviour change program that ran during Australia Day week, caused conflict between Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants. Because of that conflict, four Aboriginal men left the group and never came back. That right there is the difference” says Alan.

‘No to Violence’ is working with Aboriginal experts in men’s family violence in the development of the new practice manual for Men’s Behaviour Change Program (MBCP) facilitators and will be developing new training courses in the coming months to support the culturally safe delivery of MBCPs.

Dardi Munwurro sees the rebuilding of cultural identity and the identification of emotional strength among its participants as central to its programs. Men in these Healing and Behaviour Change Programs attend camps where they participate in therapeutic healing circles, work with Elders and learn the skills to plan for a future with healthy, respectful relationships.

To read the full article open LINK HERE

For more information on Dardi Munwurro and its programs, please visit their website dardimunwurro.com.au or call 1800 435 799.