Aboriginal Health and #Respectourelders @KenWyattMP Launching education for aged care facilities cultural considerations caring for elders

 

Caring for Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People is an important program which will help address the fundamental need for culturally appropriate care for Aboriginal people, some who may need to use aged care services at an earlier stage of their lives

Programs like this are a vital part of ensuring the care of senior Indigenous people is as culturally continuous as possible”

Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt has welcomed the new course, which coincides with his announcement of a new North West Ageing and Aged Care Strategy which aims to create age-friendly communities across the Pilbara and the Kimberley, while encouraging more seniors support services and greater local employment in aged care.

Photos above Ken Wyatt meeting with the elders from the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation in Roebourne WA\.

The launch of Caring for Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People will be streamed live via the Aged Care Channel at 10.45am AEDT on 22 November with Aboriginal Elder Mr Elliot taking part in answering live questions from members.

Developed by the Aged Care Channel (ACC) in partnership with the Department of Health, the Caring for Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People course aims to help inform aged care facilities across Australia of the cultural considerations of caring for Indigenous Australians.

ACC Group Manager Content and Production, Steve Iliffe says the program took six months to put together with the help of research, lots of resources, government input and guidance of Indigenous people as well as visits to different aged care facilities in Pilbara and northern Adelaide.

“We thought it was an important program to do because Indigenous Australians do have a series of complex needs different to the rest of the population due to their history and access to health in areas,” he explains.

“They have a connection to the land, a connection to their family and want to still have access to bush tucker and do things that they traditionally do.

“We went out to a number of different aged care facilities to talk to the people there about what they do to provide tailored care.”

ACC Learning and Development Manager Nicola Burton says providing culturally-appropriate care is a crucial part of the person-centred approach.

“The goal of this program is to recognise how to respond to the cultural needs of Indigenous Australians receiving care,” she says.

“There are significant regional differences between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, each with complex and diverse ways of life.

“Language, music and art vary in each area, but a connection with culture, community and the land seems to be common to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

While working of the course and program, the ACC team spoke to and sought the advice of subject matter expert Ngarrindjeri elder and Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ageing Advisory Group Mark Elliott.

“It was important for us to work with an indigenous leader – he guided us through the process and the research,” Mr Iliffe says.

“With this new course, we hope that we can increase understanding between cultures because at the end of the day, it’s about creating a home for people in aged care and providing them with a life they are still living.”

The new Strategy announced by the Minister includes short, medium and long-term goals, from the engagement and inclusion of seniors in local communities, through to tailored home and residential care support.

“[Caring for Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People] is an important program which will help address the fundamental need for culturally appropriate care for Aboriginal people, some who may need to use aged care services at an earlier stage of their lives,” Minister Wyatt says.

“Programs like this are a vital part of ensuring the care of senior Indigenous people is as culturally continuous as possible.

“It will contribute to this goal by helping staff understand the impact of historical events and past government policies, along with broadening their appreciation of Indigenous culture and the health challenges faced by some people.

“Giving staff these insights can contribute to better care, and I encourage everyone involved in indigenous aged care to take the course.”

He adds that the aim of the North West Ageing and Aged Care Strategy is to foster quality and culturally relevant residential aged care facilities that allow people to stay connected to community and age safely with dignity.

“Hopefully the new course will contribute to achieving this outcome,” he says.

“The program showcases the Pilbara’s Yaandina residential aged care facility, whose staff are experienced in providing residents with culturally sensitive care.”

Mr Iliffe says the result of the research and creation of the program is close to the hearts of all involved.

“The people involved had the most amazing time and it is something they will cherish forever,” he says.

“These experiences help us more closer to closing the gap.”

The launch of Caring for Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People will be streamed live via the Aged Care Channel at 10.45am AEDT on 22 November with Aboriginal Elder Mr Elliot taking part in answering live questions from members.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Sugartax News : @Apunipima Dr Mark Wenitong launches #SugaryDrinksProperNoGood

 

 ” This campaign is straightforward – sugary drinks are no good for our health.It’s calling on people to drink water instead of sugary drinks.’

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Cape York experience a disproportionate burden of chronic disease compared to other Australians.’

‘Regular consumption of sugary drinks is associated with increased energy intake and in turn, weight gain and obesity. It is well established that obesity is a leading risk factor for diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease and some cancers. Consumption of sugary drinks is also associated with poor dental health.

Water is the best drink for everyone – it doesn’t have any sugar and keeps our bodies healthy.’

Apunipima Public Health Advisor Dr Mark Wenitong

Read over 30 NACCHO articles Health and Nutrition HERE

https://nacchocommunique.com/category/nutrition-healthy-foods/

Read over 15 NACCHO articles Sugar Tax HERE  

https://nacchocommunique.com/category/sugar-tax/

Apunipima Cape York Health Council  launched its Sugary Drinks Proper No Good – Drink More Water Youfla social marketing campaign on Thursday 2 November.

The campaign was developed with, and for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Cape York, and is supported by the national Rethink Sugary Drink Alliance – a group of organisations, including Apunipima, Diabetes Australia and the Cancer Council, concerned about the health impacts of sugary drinks.

The launch will see the campaign webpage (part of the Rethink Sugary Drink website) go live, and the release of three videos featuring NRL legend Scotty Prince inviting people to Drink More Water Youfla.

Channel 7 News Coverage

#SugaryDrinksProperNoGood and #DrinkMoreWaterYoufla.

VIEW HERE

Media was invited to Apunipima’s Cairns office where the three clips were distributed, a sugary drinks display set up, and Apunipima Public Health Medical Advisor Dr Mark Wenitong was for interview and photos opportunities.

‘This campaign is straightforward – sugary drinks are no good for our health. It’s calling on people to drink water instead of sugary drinks like soft drinks, sports drinks and fruit drinks,’ Dr Wenitong said.

Head of Prevention at Cancer Council Victoria and spokesperson for Rethink Sugary Drink Alliance Craig Sinclair said Apunipima’s campaign was prevention – focused and could save lives.

‘This is a vitally important campaign that has the capacity to not only improve lives but save them.’

‘It may sound simple, but cutting out sugary drinks can have a big impact on your health. Sugary drinks are key contributor to being overweight or obese which puts you at risk of cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and kidney disease. Apunipima Cape York Health Council is to be congratulated for taking this innovative prevention-led approach.’

The campaign was funded by the Australian government via the Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN).

‘We’re pleased to be supporting Apunipima in this comprehensive health promotion initiative to address consumption of sugary drinks, which are one of the key contributors to overweight and obesity,’ said NQPHN CEO Mr Robin Moore.

‘Apunipima have a strong track record of developing and undertaking effective health promotion initiatives for our local communities, and are a key agency improving the skills and knowledge of the health promotion workforce across the region.’

‘NQPHN is committed to helping to close the gap and we are confident this initiative will make a significant contribution to that goal.’

Prominent Far Northern doctor calls for Australian sugar tax

A PROMINENT doctor has reignited calls for a sugar tax, in order to prevent the Far North’s chronic disease rate from climbing even higher.

Apunipima Cape York Health Council has launched a federally-funded social media campaign, to discourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from consuming sugary drinks.

The “Sugary Drinks Proper No Good — Drink More Water Youfla” campaign, featuring videos by NRL legend Scotty Prince.

It calls on people to drink water instead of sugary drinks, like soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks.

The campaign has been launched to tackle the high rate of chronic diseases in the Far North such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Apunipima public health medical advisor Dr Mark Wenitong said a sugar tax placed on junk food and beverages would go a long way to helping reduce this rate.

“We’ve seen this happen in a few South American countries, in Mexico,” he said.

“If those countries can introduce (a sugar tax) as a health benefit to their population, then I don’t see why we can’t.

“I know the beverage industry will often say ‘this will affect the most disadvantaged people, because they’ll have to pay’, our answer to that is, it’s killing most disadvantaged people already, because they’ve got higher risk factors.

“It affects their chronic disease status more than other people in Australia.”

Cairns Hospital, earlier this year, became one of the first hospitals in Queensland to implement strategies to restrict patient and staff access to soft drinks.

Vending machines and the two cafes at the hospital only sell sugar-free soft drinks.

Dr Wenitong said the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service should go an extra step by restricting other junk food being sold at its facilities, like chocolate bars and chips.

“At some stage, I think they’ll have to think about the accessibility of those things, particularly for younger people,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s a bad idea, by at least making them less visible and less accessible, so kids just don’t see them and want them.”

CHHHS executive director Tina Chinery said they had received no complaints from patients, staff or visitors when their healthier drink strategy was rolled out earlier this year.

“Healthcare facilities play an important role in promoting the health and wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors,” she said.

“Cairns Hospital is leading by example and creating environments that support patients, staff and visitors to make healthy choices easy.”

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Alcohol : #NT set to lead the nation on alcohol policy reform says @AMSANTaus

 ” This report has the potential to be a game-changer in responding to the alcohol-related harms that are far too prevalent here in the Northern Territory.

“It is really heartening to see how much the review has listened to the long-standing policy solutions that AMSANT has been advocating for more than a decade.

Implementing this report will reduce premature death, hospitalisations, domestic violence and child neglect. It will help significantly to close the health gap in the NT. ”

Mr John Paterson CEO  Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT) today welcomed the final report of the NT Review of Alcohol Legislation and Policy released last Thursday.

Download the Final Report HERE

NT Alcohol Policies and Legislation Review

“It is really heartening to see how much the review has listened to the long-standing policy solutions that AMSANT has been advocating for more than a decade”, he said.

“For a very long time we have been concerned about the harms being caused by cheap grog, too many outlets and take-away licenses, too much alcohol promotion and lack of adequate data, amongst other issues.

“This report addresses all of these issues and goes further, providing a comprehensive response to alcohol problems in the NT. Previous attempts at reform, such as the “Enough is Enough” program, not been far-reaching enough to have a major impact, but we are confident that this report provides the policy options to effectively deal with the NT’s alcohol problems.

“AMSANT thanks the Gunner Government for their immediate and emphatic response to the report in supporting all but one of the 220 recommendations.

The leadership shown by our Chief Minister on this key public health issue is commendable.

“The Territory is on the cusp of finally coming to terms with alcohol and the harm it causes. Instead of being the jurisdiction famous for its “bloody good drinkers”, we now have an opportunity to lead the nation in action to address alcohol.

“Implementing this report will reduce premature death, hospitalisations, domestic violence and child neglect. It will help significantly to close the health gap in the NT.

Research shows that in any population, the most disadvantaged people are most impacted by alcohol and have the most to gain from an effective public health response”, he concluded.

Riley review: Floor price on alcohol, 400sqm rule to be scrapped in wake of NT alcohol policy paper

Photo: Michael Gunner (centre) says he agrees with nearly all the recommendations of Trevor Riley (left). (ABC News: Felicity James)

Published HERE

The review by former chief justice Trevor Riley could usher in some of the biggest-ever changes to the Northern Territory’s alcohol policies.

Already the Gunner Government has said it will accept in principle nearly all of the 220 recommendations from the review, including a floor price or volumetric tax on alcohol products and a policy shift away from floor-size restrictions.

Major recommendations of the Riley Review:

  • The NT Liquor Act be rewritten
  • Immediate moratorium on takeaway liquor licences
  • Reduce grocery stores selling alcohol by phasing out store licences
  • Floor price/volumetric tax on alcohol products designed to reduce availability of cheap alcohol
  • Shift away from floor size restrictions for liquor outlets and repeal 400-square-metre restrictions
  • Reinstating an independent Liquor Commission
  • Legislating to make it an offence for someone to operate a boat or other vessel while over the limit
  • Establish an alcohol research body in the NT
  • Trial a safe spaces program where people can manage their consumption and seek intervention

“I got that one wrong going into the election and it has been good to see that Trevor [Riley] has come forward with this report with a much more considered, better way of dealing with density and sales of take-away outlets,” Mr Gunner said following the release of the report.

The Government has also said it will enact today a “complete moratorium” on all new take-away alcohol licences, including at greenfield sites.Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said the Northern Territory had the highest rate of alcohol consumption of anywhere in the world.

But the AHA’s opposition to Dan Murphy’s in the NT continues.

“We see that there are some recommendations in there in relation to additional licencing fees… to put an additional impost on businesses above the GST… we would see would be unfair,” he said.

“If the spirit of the review is followed in the Liquor Act, then the end result will be a reduction in alcohol in the volume of alcohol in the community.”

The national branch of the Australian Hotels Association does not support a floor price but the Northern Territory branch is in favour of it and has widely accepted the Riley review.

The figure would be indexed against ordinary wages and evaluated after three years.

“Floor space doesn’t impact on the amount of alcohol out there… it’s the price that makes the alcohol obtainable… if we’ve got people selling bottles of wine for $3, that’s cheaper than water, it seems to me you’ve clearly got a problem,” he said.

It said the relationship between the size of these premises and any increased harm is less clear, dismissing the claim that floor space was a contributing factor to alcohol related harm.

Floor price a more powerful way to reduce harm

He also acknowledged the Territory’s problem with alcohol-related harm and promised to sell liquor responsibly, if the licence was to be granted.

In a statement he said the company planned to move ahead with their application for a liquor licence in the Northern Territory.

Dan Murphy’s will try to operate in the NT

Other reforms include introducing licensing inspectors to help police at bottle shops, a move the NT Police Association has been pushing for.

Once the review is in place, one of the first priorities would be to reinstate an independent Liquor Commission, followed by a complete rewrite of the Liquor Act, which is expected to take 12 months.

“It is time that the Northern Territory gets rid of the tag of being an alcohol-fuelled community,” Ms Fyles said

He said details of how the floor price on alcohol will operate are yet to be determined, and any such price would be abolished if the Federal Government were to introduce its own volumetric tax.

Another recommendation that the Government has said it will back is a law to make it an offence for a person to operate or navigate a vessel on the water with a blood-alcohol content above 0.05 per cent.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner conceded that he made an error in pushing for the 400-square-metre rule, which had been dubbed a “Dan Ban” because it was seen as preventing Dan Murphy’s from opening a large store in Darwin.

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealthDay : Australia’s new digital #mentalhealth gateway now live

 ” Today we are launching our new digital mental health gateway – Head to Health.

Head to Health is an essential tool for the one in five working age Australians who will experience a mental illness each year.

The website helps people take control of their mental health in a way they are most comfortable with and can complement face-to-face therapies.

Evidence shows that for many people, digital interventions can be as effective as face-to-face services.

Head to Health provides a one-stop shop for services and resources delivered by some of Australia’s most trusted mental health service providers.

They include free or low-cost apps, online support communities, online courses and phone services.

Head to Health provides a place where people can access support and information before they reach crisis.

The Hon. Greg Hunt MP Minister for Health launching www.headtohealth.gov.au

See full press release from Minister Part 3 below

 ” For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the strength of personal identity is often connected to culture, country and family.

Like all of us, however, you can have problems with everyday things like money, jobs and housing that can impact your social and emotional wellbeing. On top of that, you might have to deal with racism, discrimination, bullying, gender-phobia, and social inequality ”

READ MORE ON THIS TOPIC HERE

 ” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing combines mental, physical, cultural, and spiritual health of not only the individual, but the whole community. For this reason, the term “social and emotional wellbeing” is generally preferred and better understood than terms like “mental health” and “mental illness”.

Addressing social and emotional wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples requires the recognition of human rights, the strength of family, and the recognition of cultural diversity – including language, kinship, traditional lifestyles, and geographical locations (urban, rural, and remote).”

READ MORE ON THIS TOPIC HERE  

Part 1 NACCHO BACKGROUND

Read over 160 NACCHO Aboriginal Mental Health Articles published over 5 yrs

Read over 115 NACCHO Suicide Prevention Articles published over 5 yrs Including

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : #ATSISPEP report and the hope of a new era in Indigenous suicide prevention

Our NACCHO CEO Pat Turner as a contributor to the report attended the launch pictured here with Senator Patrick Dodson and co-author Prof. Pat Dudgeon

After almost two years of work, ATSISPEP released a final report in Canberra on the 10th of November 2016.

Download the final #ATSISPEP report here

atispep-report-final-web-pdf-nov-10

Part 2 Mental Health Australia campaign

We need to see tackling stigma around mental health as a way to improve the health of the nation, improve our productivity, improve our community engagement, and improve our quality of life.”

“Yes we’ve come a long way to challenge and change perceptions, and paved the way for many to tell their story, but there is still great stigma associated with mental illness.”

“This year, my #mentalhealthpromise is to challenge Australia to look at mental health through a different light. Let’s look at the positives we can achieve as a community by reducing stigma and changing our approach to improving someone’s health.”

Mental Health Australia CEO Mr Frank Quinlan

Today World Mental Health Day – Tuesday 10 October – and Mental Health Australia is calling on the nation to further reduce stigma and promise to see mental health in a positive light.

‘Do you see what I see?’ challenges perceptions on mental illness aiming to reduce stigma.

‘Do you see what I see?’ promotes a positive approach to tackling an issue that affects one in five Australians.

‘Do you see what I see?’ aims to put a new light on the conversation… from dark to bright. Incorporating the successful #MentalHealthPromise initiative, which last year saw both the

Prime Minister and Opposition Leader make a mental health promise to the nation, ‘Do you see what I see?’ will also feature a series of photos from across Australia, shedding light and colour on an issue which is still cloaked in darkness.

“We’ve all seen it before… The stock black and white photo of someone sitting with their head in their hands signifying mental illness. That’s stigma… and stigma is still the number one barrier to people seeking help. Help that can prevent and treat,” said Mental Health Australia CEO Mr Frank Quinlan.

“We have to see things differently, and see the positive outcomes of tackling this issue if we are to see real benefits and reductions in the rate of mental illness affecting the nation.”

“We need to see mental health, and mental wealth through our own eyes, through the eyes of a family member or close friend and through the eyes of those in our community who don’t have that support around them.”

‘What will your #MentalHealthPromise be?

Making and sharing a mental health promise is easy and takes just a few minutes at www.1010.org.au

Part 3 The Hon. Greg Hunt MP Minister for Health press release Continued

Australia’s new digital mental health gateway now live

As part of our over $4 billion annual investment in mental health, the Turnbull Government is today launching our new digital mental health gateway – Head to Health.

Head to Health provides a place where people can access support and information before they reach crisis.

And it will continue to grow with additional services, a telephone support service to support website users, and further support for health professionals to meet the needs of their patients.

I encourage not only people seeking help and support, but anyone wanting to learn more on how to maintain good mental health wellbeing, to visit the website at: www.headtohealth.gov.au.

The Turnbull Government supports the need for a long term shift in mental health care towards early intervention, and the Head to Health gateway will help with this.

We have recently announced $43 million in funding for national suicide prevention leadership and support activity to organisations across Australia such as R U OK?, Suicide Prevention Australia and Mindframe.

This year we are investing $92.6 million in the headspace program to improve access for young people aged 12–25 years who have, or are at risk of, mental illness.

In addition, we have provided $52.6 million to beyondblue, which will partner with headspace and Early Childhood Australia to provide tools for teachers to support kids with mental health concerns and provide resources to help students deal with challenges.

Digital mental health services are an important part of national mental health reform and have been identified in the recently endorsed Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

Building a digital mental health gateway was a key part of the Government’s response to the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Mental Health Programs and Services.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #OchreDay2017 @AIHW New Report ” Health of Australia’s Males “

Australia’s Indigenous males?

In 2017, around 373,000 Australian males (3.1%) identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander [1, 2]. Indigenous males tend to be younger than non-Indigenous males (34% aged less than 15, compared with 19% of non-Indigenous males), they are culturally diverse (17% speak an Indigenous language and 61% identify with a clan, tribal or language group) and they are outnumbered by females in later life (85 males for every 100 females aged 65 or over) [2, 3].

Read over 325 NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health articles published over past 5 years

NACCHO has long recognised the importance of an Aboriginal male health policy and program to close the gap by 2030 on the alarming Aboriginal male mortality rates across Australia.

Aboriginal males have arguably the worst health outcomes of any population group in Australia.

To address the real social and emotional needs of males in our communities, NACCHO proposes a positive approach to Aboriginal male health and wellbeing

NACCHO, its affiliates and members are committed to building upon past innovations and we require targeted actions and investments to implement a wide range of Aboriginal male health and wellbeing programs and strategies.

We call on State, Territory and Federal governments to commit to a specific, substantial and sustainable funding allocation for the NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health 10 point Blueprint 2013-2030

Who are Australia’s males?

As at June 30 2016, there were nearly 12 million males living in Australia (49.7% of the total population), which means there were 98.8 males for every 100 females [1]. Most males (68%) were younger than 50 and 14% were 65 or over. Their median age was 36.5 years, which is lower than the median age for females of 38.3 years.

Males are a diverse population, with differing health behaviours, conditions and health service use across a range of characteristics. The characteristics of five particular population groups are described below.

Remoteness

From the 2011 ABS census, 69% of the Australian male population live in Major cities, 19% live in Inner regional areas, 9.3% live in Outer regional areas, and 2.5 per cent live in Remote and Very remote areas [4]. Males living in Remote and Very remote areas outnumber females (116 males for every 100 females) and are community-minded (19% volunteer for a group or organisation, compared with 14% of males living in Major cities)[4].

Socioeconomic disadvantage

Some Australian males are more disadvantaged than others. Thirteen per cent of males are experiencing poverty and around 59,000 are homeless [5, 6]. There are nearly 36,000 Australian male prisoners in adult corrective services custody [7]. Two out of three (66%) males aged 15 and over are employed and 60% of 15–74 year old males have a non-school qualification [8, 9].

Region of birth

More than a quarter (27%) of the Australian male population were born overseas. Of those born overseas, the majority were born in the United Kingdom (followed by New Zealand and China), and overseas-born males are outnumbered by overseas-born females (98 males for every 100 females) [10].

Age group

In 2016, 23% of the total male population were aged under 18, 62% were aged 18–64, and 14% were aged 65 or over [1]. The number of men aged 65 and over is increasing (by the year 2026 they are predicted to account for 17 to 18% of the total male population), they are outnumbered by females (88 males for every 100 females), 11% are widowed, 17% live alone, and 16% need assistance with one or more of the core everyday activities of self-care, mobility and communication [11].

Lifestyle and risk factors of Australia’s males

The lifestyles males lead can influence how healthy they are in the short and long term. A lifestyle including exercise, a well-balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy body weight, may reduce the risk of poor health. Risk factors such as smoking tobacco, misusing alcohol and illicit substance use, or exposure to violence, may increase the likelihood of poor health.

Physical activity

Regular physical activity helps maintain a healthy body weight and reduce the risk of many chronic conditions and injuries. Sport and other forms of physical activity can also improve mental wellbeing and may foster social networks which provide support and opportunities for development.

Sufficient physical activity for 18–64 year olds is defined in Australia’s Physical Activity & Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines as accumulating at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week, and being active on most, preferably all, days. The guidelines also recommend adults complete at least two strength-based training sessions each week. The guidelines provide separate recommendations for children (ages 0–5 and 5–12), young people (ages 13–17), and older Australians (ages 65+).

In this section, we refer to ‘sufficient activity’ for 18–64 year olds as completing at least 150 minutes of physical activity across 5 or more sessions each week. For males aged 65 and over, ‘sufficient activity’ is completing at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days each week (reported here as 5 or more days).

1 in 2  Australian men aged 18–64 get enough exercise

In 2014–15, 49% of men aged 18–64 exercised sufficiently [1]. Exercise rates were highest among men aged 25–34 (56%) and lowest among men aged 45–54 (43%).

1 in 4 (27%) men aged 65 and over were sufficiently active.

Figure 1: Sufficient physical activity, men aged 18–64, by age-group, 2014-15

This is a vertical bar chart comparing the percentage of males who were sufficiently active at different age groups in 2014–15. The chart shows that men aged 25–34 were the most sufficiently active at 56%25, closely followed by those aged 18–24 at 55%25. Males aged 45–54 were the least sufficiently active, at 43%25.

Note: “Sufficiently active” here refers to having completed at least 150 minutes of physical activity over 5 or more sessions in the previous week.

Source: ABS 2015 [1] (Table S1).

Overweight and obesity

Excess body weight, known as overweight and obesity, is a risk factor for many conditions, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnoea and osteoarthritis. Excess body weight can be measured using the body mass index (BMI).

7 in 10 Australian men are overweight or obese

In 2014–15, 7 in 10 adult males in Australia (71%) were overweight or obese: 42% were overweight, and 28% were obese [1]. The proportion of males who are overweight or obese differs by population group [1, 2, 3]:

  • 44% of young men (aged 18–24) are overweight or obese, compared with 82% of men aged 55–64
  • the rate of overweight and obesity in men does not vary substantially across areas of socioeconomic disadvantage, ranging from 69% to 73%
  • 75% of men living in Inner regional areas are overweight or obese, compared with 69% of men living in Major cities
  • 38% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men were obese in 2012–13, compared to 27% of non-Indigenous men, after adjusting for differences in age-structure. However, the overall rate of overweight and obesity was the same (70% for both).

The proportion who are overweight or obese differs between boys and men, 7 in 10 (71%) men aged 18 years and over are overweight or obese, compared with 3 in 10 (28%) boys aged 5–17.

Figure 2: BMI, boys aged 5–17 and men aged 18 and over, 2014–15

This figure is comprised of two pie charts. The first shows that, for boys aged 5–17 years, 6%25 are underweight, 66%25 are normal weight was, 22%25 are overweight, and 6%25 are obese, based on their BMI measurement. The second pie chart shows, for men aged 18 and over, 11%25 are underweight, 28%25 are normal weight, 42%25 are overweight, and 29%25 are obese, based on their BMI measurement.

Notes:

  1. Boys and men have different cut-offs for BMI.
  2. Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding.

Source: ABS 2015 [1] (Table S2).

While excess weight is commonly managed using dietary intervention and exercise, for those who are morbidly obese or who are obese and have other conditions related to their excess weight, weight loss surgery may be appropriate.

Weight loss surgery (bariatric surgery) is surgery that aims to help obese patients lose weight and lower the risk of medical problems associated with obesity. It restricts the amount of food a recipient can eat or alters the process of food digestion so that fewer calories are absorbed.

In 2014–15, males accounted for 21% of hospital separations for weight loss surgery (4,800 separations) compared to 79% for females (18,000 separations) [4].

For more information see Weight loss surgery in Australia 2014–15.

Tobacco smoking, alcohol and illicit drugs

Tobacco

Tobacco smoking is the single most preventable cause of poor health and death in Australia [5]. The main data sources reporting on tobacco smoking in Australia are the ABS National Health Survey’s (NHS), the National Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, and the AIHW National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS).

These surveys showed that:

  • based on the ABS NHS, in 2014–15, 16.9% of men aged 18 or over and 3.9% of boys aged 15–17 years smoked daily [1]
  • based on the AIHW NDSHS, in 2016, 14.6% of men aged 18 or over and 2.7% of males aged 14–19 smoked daily [6].

The proportion of males who smoke tobacco differs by age and between population groups [1, 3, 7]:

  • 19.4% of younger men (aged 18–44) smoked daily, compared with 14.6% of older men (aged 45 or over)
  • 24.6% of men living in the lowest socioeconomic areas smoked daily, compared with 8.7% of men living in the highest socioeconomic areas
  • 25.0% of men living in Outer regional and remote areas smoked daily, compared with 15.5% of men living in Major cities
  • 43.9% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men smoked daily in 2014–15, compared to 17.0% of non-Indigenous men, after adjusting for differences in age-structure.

Alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for a variety of health problems, including liver and heart conditions, and poor mental health. It also contributes to accident and injury, such as motor vehicle accidents, physical violence and homicide. The main data sources reporting on alcohol consumption in Australia are the AIHW National Drug Strategy Household Survey and the ABS National Health Survey. Although these surveys use different methodologies, they show similar results.

Based on the AIHW NDSHS, in 2016 26% of men (ages 18+) were lifetime risky drinkers [6]. Half of men aged 18 and over (49%) exceeded the single occasion risky drinking threshold at least once in the last 12 months.

Based on the ABS NHS, in 2014–15, more than half of men aged 18 and over (57%) were exceeding the single occasion risk threshold, and one in four (26%) exceeded the lifetime risk guideline. The rates of lifetime and single occasion risky drinking vary by age-group (see Figure 3) [1].

Figure 3: Lifetime and single occasion risky drinking, men, by age-group, 2014–15

Lifetime risky drinking

This figure is comprised of two vertical bar charts, showing the percentage of lifetime risky drinkers, and single occasion risky drinkers, by age group, in 2014–15. The first chart shows that the percentage of lifetime risky drinking grew from 19%25 of men aged 18–24 to 31%25 of men aged 55–64. Men aged 75 and over had the lowest rates of lifetime risky drinking at 15%25.

Single occasion risky drinking

The second bar chart shows that the highest percentages of single occasion risky drinkers were among those aged 18–24 and 25–34, both 69%25. From 35 years of age the percentages of single occasion risky drinkers gradually decreased, and was lowest for those aged 75 and over at 12%25.

Note: Alcohol consumption risk levels based on 2009 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines for the consumption of alcohol.

Source: ABS 2015 [1] (Table S3).

The proportion of men who exceed the lifetime alcohol risk guidelines varies by age and between population groups [1, 2, 3]:

  • 19% of younger men (aged 18–24) exceed the lifetime alcohol risk guidelines, compared with 31% of men aged 55–64
  • 23% of men living in the lowest socioeconomic areas exceed the lifetime alcohol risk guidelines, compared with 29% of men living in the highest socioeconomic areas
  • 37% of men living in Outer regional and remote areas exceed the lifetime alcohol risk guidelines, compared with 24% of men living in Major cities
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men had the same rates of risky drinking as non-Indigenous men in 2012–13, with 29% of both groups exceeding the lifetime alcohol risk guidelines, after adjusting for differences in age-structure.

Illicit substances

Illicit substance use includes the use of illegal drugs (such as cannabis and heroin), or inappropriate use of prescription pharmaceuticals (such as sleeping pills) or other substances (such as naturally occurring hallucinogens). Illicit use of drugs causes death and disability and is a risk factor for many diseases. The effects of illicit drug use can be severe, for example leading to poisoning, heart damage, mental illness, self-harm, suicide and death. Illicit drug use is also associated with risks to users’ families and friends and to the community. It contributes to social and family disruptions, violence, and crime and community safety issues. The AIHW National Drug Strategy Household Survey reports on illicit drug use in Australia.

In 2016, 18% of Australian males aged 14 years and over had used an illicit drug in the previous 12 months (‘recent use’) [6].

The pattern of illicit substance use differs by age groups—32% of men aged 20–29 had recently used illicit drugs, compared with 7.9% of men aged 60 or over.

Violence

Violence is the intentional threat or actual use of physical force or power against oneself, another person, or a group, that results in injury, death, psychological harm, abnormal growth or deprivation. The main data source for violence is the ABS Personal Safety Survey.

1 in 2

Australian men have experienced violence since they turned 15

In 2012, for men aged 18 or over [8]:

  • 49% had experienced violence since the age of 15—48% had experienced physical violence and 4.5% had experienced sexual violence
  • 8.7% had experienced violence in the last 12 months, with the highest rates for men aged 18–24 (24%), and the lowest for men aged 55+ (2.2%)
  • 5.3% had experienced partner violence since the age of 15
  • 7.8% had been stalked in their lifetime
  • 14% had experienced emotional abuse by a partner since the age of 15
  • 18% had experienced sexual harassment during their lifetime.

How healthy are Australia’s males?

A person’s health status is their overall level of health, and can be measured through self-assessed health status; presence of chronic disease and comorbidities; mental health; sexual heath; life expectancy; and level of disability.

Self-assessed health status

Self-assessed health status is a general measure of health status, combining physical, social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing.

Nearly 3 in 5

Australian males rated their health as excellent or very good

In 2014–15, 55% of males (aged 15+) rated their health as excellent or very good [1].

The proportion of males rating their health as excellent or very good varied by age-group: 64% of males aged 15–34 rated their health as excellent or very good, compared with 32% of men aged 75 years and over.

Chronic disease, comorbidity and burden of disease

Chronic disease

The term chronic disease applies to a group of diseases that tend to be long-lasting and have persistent effects. Chronic diseases have a range of potential impacts on a person’s individual circumstances, including quality of life, as well as broader social and economic effects. Chronic diseases also have a significant impact on the health sector.

Self-reported data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2014–15 National Health Survey (NHS) provides an estimate of the prevalence of chronic disease among the Australian population. Chronic disease data is collected for arthritis, asthma, back problems, cancer, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), CVD (cardiovascular disease), diabetes, and mental health conditions. These chronic diseases were selected for reporting because they are common, pose significant health problems, have been the focus of recent AIHW surveillance efforts, and action can be taken to prevent their occurrence. This survey data is self-reported and is therefore likely to under-report the true prevalence of chronic disease. However, using this data enables us to look at the comorbidity of chronic diseases across the Australian population, which is not possible using separate data sources. For more information on data quality see Data sources.

1 in 2 Australian males have a chronic disease

In 2014–15, 48% of males reported having one or more of the 8 selected chronic diseases (arthritis, asthma, back problems, cancer, cardiovascular disease, COPD, diabetes and mental and behavioural problems) [1].

Table 1: Selected chronic diseases reported by males, all ages, 2014–15

Condition

Number

Per cent

Condition

CVD (cardiovascular disease)

Number

2,042,700

Per cent

17.9

Condition

Back problems

Number

1,851,900

Per cent

16.2

Condition

Mental and behavioural problems

Number

1,803,400

Per cent

15.8

Condition

Arthritis

Number

1,409,000

Per cent

12.3

Condition

Asthma

Number

1,119,800

Per cent

9.8

Condition

Diabetes

Number

647,100

Per cent

5.7

Condition

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

Number

301,500

Per cent

2.6

Condition

Cancer

Number

195,500

Per cent

1.7

Source: ABS 2015 [1]

Note: This survey data is self-reported and likely under-reports the true prevalence of chronic diseases. For more information on data quality see Data sources.

The prevalence of these chronic diseases varies with age:

  • 86% of men aged 65 and over have a chronic disease, compared with 33% of males aged under 45.

Cancer

Cancer describes a diverse group of several hundred diseases in which some of the body’s cells become abnormal and begin to multiply out of control. Some cancers are easily diagnosed and treated, others are harder to diagnose and treat, and all can be fatal. Cancers are named by the type of cell involved or the location in the body where the disease begins.

The primary source of national cancer incidence data is the Australian Cancer Database – a data collection of all primary, malignant cancers diagnosed in Australia since 1982.

16,665

Estimated new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2017, the most common cancer among males

In 2017, it is estimated males will account for 54% of all new cancer cases (72,169 cases) [2]. The risk for Australian males of being diagnosed with cancer before their 85th birthday is 1 in 2 (see Figure 4 below). The most common cancer diagnosis in males is prostate cancer, followed by colorectal cancer, melanoma of the skin, and lung cancer.

Figure 4: Estimated age-specific incidence and mortality rate from all cancers, males, 2017

This line graph shows a relatively low incidence of cancer among younger age-groups, with incidence gradually increasing between ages 25–29 and 50–54, and then increasing sharply between ages 50–54 and 85 and over. The cancer mortality line shows that the age-specific rate of cancer mortality is relatively low until age 40–44, when it then begins to increase exponentially in each successive age group to age 85+.

Source: AIHW 2017 [2] (Table S4).

Mental health

The World Health Organisation defines mental health as ‘a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.’ Poor mental health may adversely affect any or all of these areas and has consequences for an individual, their family and society.

Nearly 1 in 2

Australian males have experienced a mental health problem

In 2007, more than 3.8 million (48%) males aged 16–85 had experienced a mental health disorder in their lifetime [3].

18% of males aged 16–85 experienced symptoms of a mental health disorder in the previous 12 months.

Chronic disease comorbidities

Some people have more than one chronic disease or health problem at the same time. This is referred to as a comorbidity. Having comorbid chronic conditions can have important implications for a person’s health outcomes, quality of life and treatment choices.

Comorbidity data are presented for the following eight chronic diseases because they are common, pose significant health problems, have been the focus of recent AIHW surveillance efforts, and action can be taken to prevent their occurrence:

  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • back problems
  • cancer
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • CVD (cardiovascular disease)
  • diabetes
  • mental health conditions.

In 2014–15, 48% of all Australian males had one or more of these chronic conditions: 27% had one, 13% had two, and 8.5% had three or more. Chronic disease comorbidity was lower for males than females (21% of all males had two or more chronic conditions compared with 25% for females). [1]

Figure 5: Number of chronic conditions, males, 2014–15

This horizontal bar chart shows the number of chronic conditions reported by males in 2014–15. 52%25 of men reported having none of the selected chronic conditions, 27%25 of men reported having one of the selected chronic conditions, 13%25 reported having two of the selected chronic conditions, and 9%25 reported having three or more of the selected chronic conditions.

Note: Based on the selected chronic conditions; arthritis, asthma, back pain and problems, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and mental health conditions.

Source: ABS 2015 [1] (Table S5).

The most common comorbidities in males were:

  • 717,300 males reported CVD and arthritis (6.3% of all males)
  • 580,100 males reported CVD and back problems (5.1%)
  • 509,300 males reported mental and behavioural problems and back problems (4.5%).

Burden of disease

Burden of disease quantifies the health impact of disease on a population in a given year—both from dying early and from living with disease and injury. The summary measure ‘disability-adjusted life years’ (or DALY) measures the years of healthy life lost from death and illness.

In 2011, males experienced a greater share of the total disease burden (54%) than females (46%) [4]. The distribution of overall burden between the sexes varied by disease group. Compared with females, males experienced almost three-quarters (72%) of the total burden from injuries and a greater proportion of the total burden from cardiovascular diseases (59%). Nearly half (47%) of the burden of disease in males is from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and mental & substance use disorders.

After cancer, the ranking of disease groups contributing to total burden of disease differed for males and females. For males, cardiovascular diseases ranked second, followed by mental & substance use disorders, injuries, and musculoskeletal conditions (see Table 2). For females, musculoskeletal conditions ranked second, followed by cardiovascular diseases, and mental & substance use disorders [4].

For more information see Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2011

Table 2: Leading causes of burden, DALY and proportions, by disease group, males, 2011

Disease group

DALY

Proportion (%)

Disease group

Cancer

DALY

470,110

Proportion (%)

19.5

Disease group

Cardiovascular

DALY

388,306

Proportion (%)

16.1

Disease group

Mental & substance use disorders

DALY

283,652

Proportion (%)

11.8

Disease group

Injuries

DALY

283,228

Proportion (%)

11.7

Disease group

Musculoskeletal

DALY

232,044

Proportion (%)

9.6

Disease group

Respiratory

DALY

184,297

Proportion (%)

7.6

Disease group

Neurological

DALY

128,273

Proportion (%)

5.3

Disease group

Gastrointestinal

DALY

78,839

Proportion (%)

3.3

Disease group

Infant/congenital

DALY

68,212

Proportion (%)

2.8

Disease group

Endocrine

DALY

60,587

Proportion (%)

2.5

DALY = Disability Adjusted Life-Year.

Source: AIHW 2015 [4]

Sexual health

Sexual health includes the prevalence of sexual problems and sexually transmissible infection rates.

Over 1 in 2 Australian men have experienced a sexual difficulty

More than half (54%) of men aged 18–55 years had experienced some sexual difficulty lasting at least 3 months in the last 12 months: 37% ‘came to orgasm too quickly’ and 17% ‘lacked interest in sex’ [5].

‘Reaching climax too quickly’ was the most common issue across all age groups (between 32% and 38%). Other types of sexual difficulty differed by age: ‘did not reach climax or took a long time’ was the next most common issue in 18–24 year old men, while ‘lacking interest in having sex’ was most common among men of other age groups (25–34, 35–44 and 45–55).

More information on male reproductive health can be found at Andrology Australia.

Table 3: Sexual difficulty among men, by age group, 2013–14

Age group (years)

Sexual difficulty (a)

Per cent (b)

18–24

Reached climax too quickly

31.5

Did not reach climax or took a long time

16.8

Lacked interest in having sex

14.6

At least one sexual difficulty over past 12 months

48.3

25–34

Reached climax too quickly

36.3

Lacked interest in having sex

15.1

Felt anxious during sex

10.2

At least one sexual difficulty over past 12 months

51.6

35–44

Reached climax too quickly

39.2

Lacked interest in having sex

16.7

Did not reach climax or took a long time

13.8

At least one sexual difficulty over past 12 months

54.2

45–55

Reached climax too quickly

38.0

Lacked interest in having sex

20.2

Had trouble getting or keeping an erection

19.9

At least one sexual difficulty over past 12 months

56.6

  1. Sexual difficulty experienced for at least three months in the 12 months before the study.
  2. Proportion of males in each age group. Note that males may report more than one sexual difficulty.

Source: [5]

Life expectancy and mortality

Life expectancy is expressed as either the number of years a newborn baby is expected to live, or the expected years of life remaining for a person at a given age, and is estimated from the death rates in a population.

Australian males born in 2013–15 can expect to live 33 years longer than males born in 1881–1890 did

Life expectancy changes over time, and differs between population groups [6, 7]:

  • males born in Australia in 2013–2015 can expect to live to the age of 80.4 years on average
  • for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males born in 2010–2012, life expectancy was estimated to be 10.6 years lower than that of non-Indigenous males (69.1 years compared with 79.7)
  • Australia is ranked 7th in international comparison of life expectancy at birth for males at 80.3 years, Iceland is ranked 1st with 81.3 years.

Disability-free life expectancies

Life and health expectancies at age 65 are used for monitoring healthy ageing. In 2013–15, life expectancy for men aged 65 (that is, the number of additional years a person aged 65 could expect to live) was just under 20 years [6]. Men aged 65 in 2015 could expect to live an additional 9 years free of disability and around 10 years with some level of disability, including 3 years with severe or profound core activity limitation. This equates to these men living 53% of their remaining life with disability, including 17% with severe or profound core activity limitation [7].

Mortality

Mortality data, such as premature deaths and potentially avoidable deaths, can help in understanding death and the fatal burden of disease in the population at a point in time.

Mortality rates vary between population groups. In 2015 [8]:

  • Males accounted for 62% of premature deaths.
  • Males in Very remote areas had a higher percentage of potentially avoidable deaths, with 61% of premature deaths being potentially avoidable, compared to 50% in Major cities
  • The median age at death for males decreased with increasing remoteness: from 79 in Major cities to 67 in Very remote areas
  • The median age at death for males also decreased with decreasing socioeconomic group: from 81 in the highest socioeconomic areas to 77 in the lowest socioeconomic areas

Causes of death

Monitoring causes of death helps to measure the health status of a population. Causes of death can be used to assess the success of interventions to improve disease outcomes, signal changes in community health status and disease processes, and highlight inequalities in health status between population groups.

In 2015, there were 81,330 deaths among Australian males. The leading cause of death was coronary heart disease, followed by lung cancer and dementia & Alzheimer disease. Males had over three times the rate of suicide and nearly twice the rates of death from coronary heart disease and lung cancer as females when adjusted for differences in the age structure of the populations.

Figure 6: Leading causes of death among males, 2015

This figure shows the top 10 leading causes of death among males in 2015. Coronary heart disease contributed to the greatest number of deaths among males with 11,075 deaths. The remaining 9, each less than 5,000 deaths, are lung cancer, dementia and Alzheimer disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, prostate cancer, diabetes, colorectal cancer, suicide, and cancer of unknown or ill-defined primary site.

Notes:

  1. Data are based on year of registration of death; deaths registered in 2015 are based on the preliminary version of cause of death data and are subject to further revision by the ABS.
  2. Leading causes of death are based on underlying causes of death and classified using an AIHW-modified version of Becker et al. 2006. International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th revision (ICD-10) codes are presented in parentheses.

Source: AIHW 2017 [8] (Table S6).

Prostate cancer only affects males and is the 6th leading cause of death for males. Between 1984–1988 and 2009–2013, 5-year relative survival from prostate cancer improved from 58% to 95% [9].

For more information see Leading causes of death.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health @KenWyattMP Speech ” Men’s health, our way. Let’s own it!” – is a powerful conference theme

“Men’s health, our way. Let’s own it!” – is a powerful conference theme because it’s a strong foundation for better health.

Owning our health and wellbeing links closely with the Prime Minister’s pledge to do things “with” Aboriginal people, not “to” them – because both commitments empower local community solutions, and personal choices.

This is about walking and working together, because Indigenous health is everybody’s business.

The burden of disease in many of our communities is significant but it is not intractable – we’re here today because we know and believe this.”

The Hon. Ken Wyatt MP Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, MP spoke at the NACCHO Ochre Day Men’s Health Conference on 4 October 2017

Good morning everyone.

Before I begin I want to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Larrakia people, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.

I also acknowledge all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here this morning.

I also acknowledge:

    • John Patterson, [CEO, Aboriginal Medical Services Northern Territory]
    • June Oscar, [Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner]
    • Dr Mark Wenitong, [Member, Implementation Plan Advisory Group]

“Men’s health, our way. Let’s own it!” – is a powerful conference theme because it’s a strong foundation for better health.

We know that when people are empowered to take control of their own wellbeing, and take that responsibility seriously, we are on track for an improved future.

I’d like to begin by sharing a very sad story, from my own family.

Eight years ago, my nephew, Jason Bartlett was a much-loved musician. He’d made it to the Top 24 on TV’s Australian Idol and was recording albums and performing concerts with the popular Bartlett Brothers band.

But as his career went on, he found he struggled with his weight more and more and his health deteriorated significantly.

Earlier this year, he confided that he wished he had sought help much earlier and that he had listened to the medical professionals who tried to help him along the way.

Sadly, he passed away in June, aged just 35, after a battle with chronic kidney, diabetes and heart conditions.

His close family and friends are now working on a media project to fulfil his dying wishes – to get the word out to indigenous men in particular, to take their health seriously – to own it.

One of Jason’s killers was kidney failure, the same devastating condition that claimed the life of beloved musician, Dr G Yunipingu.

I would like to tell you now that turning around the tragedy of this disease is one of my top priorities.

Our men suffer kidney health problems at five times the rate of non-indigenous men and the onset of kidney disease is at a much earlier age in indigenous people. The rates of kidney disease steadily increase from 18 years as compared to 55 years for non-indigenous.

I will say much more about this in the coming months, but I am totally committed to working with communities and health practitioners across our nation to reduce the impact of renal failure and, even more importantly, to prevent it happening in the first place.

This means solutions that help people now, but also grassroots strategies that will help ensure our men, women and families continue reaping the benefits in five, 10 and 20 years – for the rest of their lives.

Owning our health and wellbeing links closely with the Prime Minister’s pledge to do things “with” Aboriginal people, not “to” them – because both commitments empower local community solutions, and personal choices.

This is about walking and working together, because indigenous health is everybody’s business.

The burden of disease in many of our communities is significant but it is not intractable – we’re here today because we know and believe this.

We understand the importance of Aboriginal community controlled health services because they are delivering many of what I like to call “jewels in the crown” of indigenous health improvement.

Recently, I was delighted to join Matthew to announce the expansion of one of the most successful of all programs– Deadly Choices – as it officially linked in with the Australian Kangaroos rugby league team.

Through sport and community activities, Deadly Choices has empowered thousands of people, especially younger men.

In South East Queensland, this has led to nearly 19,000 people having health check-ups each year, more than 1,100 households banning smoking, and active indigenous patient numbers tripling, to over 330,000.

I was also recently in Broken Hill, and saw firsthand some of the Maari Ma Health Corporation’s impressive results:

    • People in their diabetes program now have blood sugar control significantly better than the national average.
    • Those with diabetes or heart problems also have much better blood pressure and cholesterol control than the national average.
    • The number of people having annual health checks is doubling almost every year.
    • The number of specialist clinics operating that tackle everything from smoking to ear, nose and throat surgery, has jumped from under 100 to nearly 1000 a year.
    • And Maari Ma has a rock-solid commitment to local decision-making and employment, with Aboriginal people now making up well over half of the staff.

What is so impressive is the comprehensive nature of these programs – looking beyond the traditional notion of “health”, to a more holistic approach encompassing education, lifestyle and employment.

Working with locals and the community, this helps ensure the “social and cultural determinants” of health are increasingly positive.

The Government’s 2017 Health Performance Framework estimates these factors contribute to more than one third of the health gap.

This figure rises to well over half, when combined with risk factors, such as heavy drinking, smoking and poor diet.

So half of the reason why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men are dying too young, falling sick and getting injured lies largely outside the “traditional” health system.

This is a challenge, but understanding this fact is fundamental to us taking the next steps towards Closing the Gap in indigenous health outcomes .

It’s why the next Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013 – 2023, due next year, will recognise that respect for culture, employment, living conditions, environmental health and education are ALL-IMPORTANT in the overall health of our people.

The Plan will identify opportunities to develop partnerships further – between communities, the health sector and the wide range of State and Commonwealth Government agencies working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs.

Working closely with local communities and tailor-making solutions, while thinking broadly, is the way forward.

In New South Wales, a program called “Driving Change” is helping indigenous people turn the corner on health and wellbeing, by getting their drivers’ licenses.

Already, its enabled an extra 400 people across a dozen communities to get on the road – and start changing their lives, through better self-esteem and improved employment prospects.

It’s recognised as a health program, because licensed driving means being able to hold down a job, which means having more money, better housing, better food on the table, more options for their children – the list goes on – but the bottom line is a far healthier future.

We have to look at how a wide range of government agencies, and the health sector, throw their weight behind Indigenous opportunity, and how we can do better.

We must ask ourselves constantly: How well are we connecting, how many lives are being changed for the better by what we do?

If we don’t know the answer, then business as usual is not an option.

We clearly have much to do to get the broader health system where it needs to be.

I work with a range of Indigenous organisations, like NACCHO, across the country to put Indigenous families and communities at the centre of Indigenous health reform.

I remain deeply grateful and buoyed by every one of you here, who get up each day and go to work to improve people’s health.

I strongly believe that the key to closing the gap is for all of us to ‘opt-in’ – so there is even more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and participation in the health system.

Higher representation at all levels of the health system – as doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, in administration and management, in policy and planning, and research – will support our efforts to close the gap.

But the fact remains, Indigenous men have the poorest health of any group within the Australian population.

We are more reluctant to seek out help when we need it, we’re not good at recognising the early signs of disease and we don’t always think about what we can do right now – like quitting smoking – to prevent disease down the track.

This is reflected in a range of key health indicators so let’s look at the facts as I outline the Australian Government’s Indigenous men’s health agenda.

On average, we are dying more than 10 years younger than our non-Indigenous counterparts, with the majority of deaths occurring in our middle years.

The leading killers include circulatory failure, cancer, injury, diabetes and respiratory disease.

Infant Indigenous boys die at a rate almost double that of non-Indigenous boys.

This is why the Government has invested $94 million in the Better Start to Life initiative to support families.

This initiative will progressively increase the number of New Directions services from 85 to 136 sites and the Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program from three sites to 13.

In addition, the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme has allocated $12 million to support the implementation of better, more integrated early childhood services called Connected Beginnings.

A good foundation in health prevention and regular check-ups will help children do better at school which, in turn, gives them more choice in further education and work opportunities down the track.

Strong children. Strong teenagers. Strong adults. Strong communities.

While I want much work done to improve renal health, among my other top priorities are hearing, eyesight and preventable hospital admissions.

One area where I am also working hard with local communities, especially in the Territory and the Kimberley, is to reduce the wholly unacceptable rate of suicide.

I’ll talk more about mental health shortly, but figures from 2011–15 reveal that 71 per cent of Indigenous suicides were men.

Indigenous males are hospitalised for diagnoses related to alcohol at 4.2 times the rate of non-Indigenous males (July 2013 – June 2015).

Reducing alcohol abuse can result in fewer assaults and less disability and improve the health and wellbeing of the population.

The National Drug Strategy includes the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy to focus on this problem.

Importantly, this initiative has been informed by extensive community consultation.

Tobacco smoking is the most preventable cause of illness and early death among Indigenous men, with 45 per cent of males aged over 15 smoking.

The Government’s $116.8 million Tackling Indigenous Smoking program aims to reduce the uptake of smoking, and increase quit rates.

The successful Don’t Make Smokes Your Story campaign speaks directly to Indigenous smokers. There are encouraging signs, with smoking rates steadily declining every year, and I praise the efforts and commitment of the frontline tobacco workers who have contributed to this improvement.

The Australian Government’s health investments cover key areas of disease burden and risk factors across the entire population, but we give close consideration to what impacts, disproportionately, on Aboriginal and Torres Islander men.

For example, the new Council of Australian Governments National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions prioritises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

The Government will also soon introduce a new National Male Health Initiative – a partnership with Andrology Australia, the Australian Men’s Health Forum, and the Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre.

This new collaboration will identify needs, and develop, disseminate and evaluate health promotion, education and clinical practice activities right across Australia.

Another priority is to increase Indigenous participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program – so next year, a National Indigenous Bowel Screening Pilot will roll out in 50 Indigenous primary health care services.

Instead of receiving the bowel screening kit in the mail, the pilot will ensure general practitioners, nurses and Indigenous health workers directly offer the kits to people and provide follow up support.

The Government also doubled the number of Commonwealth-funded Prostate Cancer Nurses from 14 up to 28, with many of these working in rural and regional Australia.

The Men’s Sheds program is another mainstream program that helps to reduce the social isolation of men.

Priority is given to sheds in disadvantaged areas that focus on the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, which leads me to the point I made earlier, about mental health.

Community-led solutions are the most effective, and although we need to work together nationally, each community will have its own response that will work best for them.

Funding of $85 million, over three years, aims to improve access to culturally sensitive, integrated mental health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

These services will be commissioned locally by local Primary Health Networks, and I have made it clear that they must work closely with the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service sector to achieve the best possible outcomes.

I will continue to work with you to build on the reforms we have in place and ensure more responsibility for decision making rests as close to the community as possible.

Everything we do should be grounded in consultation and founded on evidence – using information and local input to understand where progress is slow, or results have flatlined.

Where we find that using the same old approaches is not making a real difference to people’s lives, I want to partner with local people and organisations like the ones you work for, to tackle these particular challenges head-on.

Together, we will build a better tomorrow – by helping our men own their future health.

Thank you.

NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health #OchreDay2017 Conference @KenWyattMP and @jpatto12 raising awareness of issues in Aboriginal men’s health

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men experience a number of additional challenges compared with non-Indigenous youth and have much higher rates of high/very high levels of psychological distress.

The 2017 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework report paints a disconcerting picture of mental health issues among Aboriginal men, highlighting the need for holistic and culturally appropriate programs to tackle the epidemic,”

John Patterson, Executive Officer, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT (AMSANT), said Australia is currently in the grips of a suicide epidemic, which disproportionately affects young Aboriginal men :

Pictured below with the Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt and Conference Facilitator Dr Mick Adams

see John’s full speech part 2 below

“ Ochre Day aims to raise awareness of issues in Aboriginal men’s health, celebrate the work being done by Aboriginal medical services on the ground in our communities, and encourage indigenous males to have their health checked and seek support,”

Addressing gaps in male Aboriginal health is a key step in reaching the seven targets set by the Council on Australian Governments (COAG) to close the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians,”

Patrick Johnson, Leadership Project Officer, Aboriginal Medical Service Alliance NT said he hoped the two-day policy summit would assist in identifying gaps in male Aboriginal health care and the development and adoption of a national men’s health strategy

NTGPE Senior Cultural Educator Richard Fejo conducted the Welcome to Country.With Onemobdance group linking arms acknowledging their support of eliminating violence against women.

Pictures Normie Gee

Hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and health leaders from across Australia will be meeting  in Darwin for a two-day policy summit on the 4th and 5th October to raise awareness of the suicide epidemic and a plethora of other issues in Aboriginal male health.

Mental health and suicide prevention will be among the key issues addressed at this year’s Ochre Day Policy Summit, which will hear from a number of prominent policy makers and public health experts.

The 2017 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework report cites the 2015 Youth Survey which found that 18% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people surveyed had high levels of concern about suicide (compared with 11% non-Indigenous), 18% were concerned about discrimination (compared with 10% non-indigenous) and one in five reported bullying and emotional abuse as a concern.

The same survey found that young Indigenous males were more likely to report very low levels of happiness (10%) than Indigenous females (5%) or non-Indigenous youth (1.2%).

“Aboriginal people are six times likely to commit suicide than non-Aboriginal people, with the Kimberley region in Western Australia recording one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

“We are talking about whole generations of young Aboriginal men and women who are born into families where suicide is normalised and where the grief from suicide persists across multiple generations,” said Mr Patterson.

The first Ochre Day was held in Canberra in 2013.

This year’s Ochre Day, will feature a major address from The Hon Ken Wyatt MP, Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health, who will present on the five most serious health problems facing Aboriginal men today and what needs to be done to readily address them.

View full Program

final 2017-Ochre-Day-Program

Other presentations at the policy summit include an overview of Aboriginal men’s health, sexual health, intergenerational trauma, family violence, anger management, youth detention, addiction solutions and healing circles.

Mr Johnson said he hoped the two-day policy summit would assist in identifying gaps in male Aboriginal health care and the development and adoption of a national men’s health strategy.

“Addressing gaps in male Aboriginal health is a key step in reaching the seven targets set by the Council on Australian Governments (COAG) to close the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians,” said Mr Johnson.

“Aboriginal men must have the same access to health care as other Australians and in particular, tailored, culturally appropriate programs must be developed to address mental health, social and emotional well being and suicide prevention.

“We need to invest more in grassroots programs delivered by Aboriginal people, for Aboriginal people, if we want to have a fighting chance to turn around the harrowing statistics which have seen too many of our sons, fathers and uncles die young.

“We have made great strides already, however there is much more work to be done before we reach the point where a new generation of young Aboriginal men emerges where issues such as suicide are no longer entrenched and normalised,” said Mr Johnson.

National Ochre Day Opening Remarks – AMSANT CEO, John Paterson

Darwin, 4 October 2017

Firstly, I would like to acknowledge we’re meeting today on Larrakia traditional land and thank Richard and Tony for their welcome.

I would also like to welcome participants to this national Ochre Day event, and to acknowledge dignitaries here with us today

This is an important gathering as it is too seldom that we are able to come together as a group of Aboriginal men to work on how we want to address the health challenges that continue to confront Aboriginal men in Australia today.

NACCHO is to be congratulated for developing Ochre Day as a national opportunity for us to do this.

Over the next two days we will explore our theme “Men’s Health, Our Way. Let’s Own It!” The theme reminds us that we do have to take ownership of our health and, just as importantly, provide leadership in telling government what is needed to bring the health of Aboriginal men up to where it should be.

I don’t need to tell any of you that the state of Aboriginal male health is not good. The gap in life expectancy alone remains far too great. Nationally, while life expectancy for Aboriginal men has increased from just over 67.5 years in 2005-07 to 69.1 years in 2011-12, the gap between Aboriginal men and non-Aboriginal men is still too large at 10.6 years. However, if we look at the gap between Aboriginal men in the Territory and national male life expectancy, the gap is 16.4 years!

It’s important, gathering where we are here in Darwin, in the Northern Territory, that we acknowledge just how significantly worse the health of Aboriginal Territorians is than the health of Aboriginal people nationally. For Aboriginal men in the Territory this translates to a life expectancy that is on average 4 years less than for Aboriginal men nationally.

Overall, the mortality rate for Aboriginal Territorians is 50% higher when compared with Indigenous people interstate, and 85% higher than non-Aboriginal Territorians.

And for Aboriginal men in the Territory, we experience a 10-15% higher mortality than our Aboriginal women.

Clearly, there is a long way to go in closing the health gap for Aboriginal men and achieving the standard of health and wellbeing that we would all like to see.

This raises an important issue. Beyond just the statistics, what does health and wellbeing mean for us as Aboriginal men?

The Aboriginal concept of health is not just an absence of illness. It is not just the physical well-being of an individual. It refers also to the social, emotional, spiritual and cultural well-being of the whole Community. It means each individual being able to achieve their full potential as a human being and contributing to the total well-being of their Community. It is a whole of life view and includes the cyclical concept of life-death-life.

So, when we talk about “Our way” and about “Let’s own it”, we’re talking as much about our spiritual and psychological health as we are about our physical health.

For us to achieve our full potential as human beings, we must deal with the legacies of our own lives, and also the lives of our fathers and grandfathers and the generations before them. Some of these are heavy legacies.

Aboriginal men have been wounded by the impacts since colonisation which devalued our cultures, dispossessed and dislocated our families and communities and introduced diseases.

Our elders lost their roles with authority and status, and young males lost their role models.

This has diminished the status, self-esteem and sense of purpose of Aboriginal males and contributed to alcohol abuse, self-harm and violence.

It has caused trauma to successive generations, and that trauma continues.

The impacts of trauma will be discussed later this morning, but I wanted to raise here one source of impact from recent years that has impacted heavily on Aboriginal men in the Territory – the NT Intervention.

This top-down, punitive attack on Aboriginal communities in the NT, maliciously targeted Aboriginal men as child abusers, as corrupt and devoid of basic humanity. It was used to strip us of our dignity and as an excuse to subject us to coercive controls on our lives and on our communities.

The extent of the damage to communities caused by the Intervention will probably never be fully known, but I do know that every Aboriginal Territorian man in this room will have felt its impact in some way.

As a policy, its failure is perhaps most evident in the billions of dollars spent with so little to show in terms of positive outcomes.

And only in the last couple of years has the tide begun to turn, with governments at both Commonwealth and Territory levels starting to recognise the need to positively re-engage and to work with us. To bring us back into engagement over policy design and decision-making, and hopefully increasingly into delivering our own services to our communities. As we are doing successfully in the Aboriginal community controlled health sector.

Such rethinking by government I’m sure is also mindful of the ongoing failure of recent policy approaches and funding to improve the structural and social factors or the social determinants of health, that underlie poor health outcomes. Housing, education, employment, access to services, unacceptable rates of imprisonment and children in care.

The inescapable fact, as evidenced by the painfully slow progress on Closing the Gap targets, is that a fundamental change in approach must occur. Such change must start with improving support for the positive social determinant enablers: control, empowerment, and the strength of culture and connection with land.

Being healthy builds on strengths and Aboriginal men have many strengths. We are fathers, husbands, brothers and our communities rely on us. We are resilient and we have the opportunity to use that resilience both for the current generation and for young males and the next generations.

It is important that Aboriginal males continue to be active participants in defining our social roles, both within our own communities and in the broader Australian society.

We need to take back responsibility for traditional practices, parenting and spirituality, as these will contribute to better health.

We have to find ways to contribute our knowledge, skills and authority to initiatives and interventions that concern our health.

Events like Ochre Day and putting together Aboriginal Men’s health strategies are one way we can do this.

We will have a significant focus during this Ochre Day conference on issues related to trauma, social and emotional wellbeing and suicide. These are not easy issues to talk about but they are so important to men’s health.  Suicide continues to be a major and avoidable cause of death for Aboriginal men and an issue that we must talk about. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men between 25 and 29 have the highest suicide rates in the entire world, according to a study of youth health released last year.

If anyone is feeling upset or distressed about these conversations, staff from Danila Dilba Health Service are here and you can talk to them about any support you might need. Joseph Knuth is the best person to approach if you need any support at all.

The Conference though will be positive, we will be working on solutions and ideas for the future. We will be taking control!

Today we will hear about men’s health issues and about some of the services that have been developed here in the Northern Territory to bring men into health services in appropriate ways and to empower men to take control of their own health.

We will hear from the top Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal experts in men’s health.

Tomorrow, we will take what we have learned today and start to work towards the future, towards our own solutions and strategies.

We are fortunate to have Dr Mick Adams with us to facilitate discussions towards developing a national Aboriginal men’s health strategy.

This has been a long-held aim in Aboriginal health and has met with considerable difficulty in getting government buy in and commitment.

But we won’t give up, a national strategy is a necessary first step in closing the health gap and building on the strengths of Aboriginal men, families and communities.

I look forward to Dr Adams’ advice and direction on how we might move forward to achieve this.

There will be a lot of opportunity to work together and for all voices to be heard so I encourage everyone to take these opportunities and speak up over the next two days.

Thank you.

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Obesity : Download #TippingtheScales Report Leading health orgs set out 8 urgent actions for Federal Government

“Sixty-three per cent of Australian adults and 27 per cent of our children are overweight or obese.

This is not surprising when you look at our environment – our kids are bombarded with advertising for junk food, high-sugar drinks are cheaper than water, and sugar and saturated fat are hiding in so-called ‘healthy’ foods. Making a healthy choice has never been more difficult.

The annual cost of overweight and obesity in Australia in 2011-12 was estimated to be $8.6 billion in direct and indirect costs such as GP services, hospital care, absenteeism and government subsidies.1 “

 OPC Executive Manager Jane Martin 

Download the report HERE  tipping-the-scales

Read over 30 + NACCHO Obesity articles published last 5 years

Read over 30+ NACCHO Nutrition and Healthy foods published last 5 years

Thirty-four leading community, public health, medical and academic groups have today united for the first time to call for urgent Federal Government action to address Australia’s serious obesity problem.

In the ground-breaking new action plan, Tipping the Scales, the agencies identify eight clear, practical, evidence-based actions the Australian Federal Government must take to reduce the enormous strain excess weight and poor diets are having on the nation’s physical and economic health.

Led by the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) and Deakin University’s Global Obesity Centre (GLOBE), Tipping the Scales draws on national and international recommendations to highlight where action is required. Areas include:

  1. Time-based restrictions on TV junk food advertising to kids
  2. Set clear food reformulation targets
  3. Make the Health Star Rating mandatory by July 2019
  4. Develop a national active transport strategy
  5. Fund weight-related public education campaigns
  6. Introduce a 20% health levy on sugary drinks
  7. Establish a national obesity taskforce
  8. Develop and monitor national diet, physical activity and weight guidelines.

OPC Executive Manager Jane Martin said the eight definitive policy actions in Tipping the Scales addressed the elements of Australia’s environment which set individuals and families up for unhealthy lifestyles, rather than just focusing on treating the poor health outcomes associated with obesity.

Watch video HERE : How does junk food marketing influence kids

“Sixty-three per cent of Australian adults and 27 per cent of our children are overweight or obese. This is not surprising when you look at our environment – our kids are bombarded with advertising for junk food, high-sugar drinks are cheaper than water, and sugar and saturated fat are hiding in so-called ‘healthy’ foods. Making a healthy choice has never been more difficult,” Ms Martin said.

“The annual cost of overweight and obesity in Australia in 2011-12 was estimated to be $8.6 billion in direct and indirect costs such as GP services, hospital care, absenteeism and government subsidies.1 But Australia still has no strategy to tackle our obesity problem. It just doesn’t make sense.

“Without action, the costs of obesity and poor diet to society will only continue to spiral upwards. The policies we have set out to tackle obesity therefore aim to not only reduce morbidity and mortality, but also improve wellbeing, bring vital benefits to the economy and set Australians up for a healthier future.”

Professor of Epidemiology and Equity in Public Health at Deakin University, Anna Peeters, said the 34 groups behind the report were refusing to let governments simply sit back and watch as growing numbers of Australians developed life-threatening weight and diet-related health problems.

“For too long we have been sitting and waiting for obesity to somehow fix itself. In the obesogenic environment in which we live, this is not going to happen. In fact, if current trends continue, there will be approximately 1.75 million deaths in people over the age of 20 years caused by diseases linked to overweight and obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer heart disease, between 2011-20501,” Professor Peeters said.

“Obesity poses such an immense threat to Australia’s physical and economic health that it needs its own, standalone prevention strategy if progress is to be made. There are policies which have been proven to work in other parts of the world and have the potential to work here, but they need to be implemented as part of a comprehensive approach by governments. And they need to be implemented now.

“More than thirty leading organisations have agreed on eight priorities needed to tackle obesity in Australia. We would like to work with the Federal Government to tackle this urgent issue and integrate these actions as part of a long-term coordinated approach.”

In addition to the costs to society, the burden of obesity is felt acutely by individuals and their families.

As a Professor of Women’s Health at Monash University and a physician, Professor Helena Teede sees mothers struggle daily with trying to achieve and sustain healthy lifestyles for themselves and their families, while having to deal with the adverse impact of unhealthy weight, especially during pregnancy.

“As a mother’s weight before pregnancy increases, so does the substantive health risk to both the mother and baby. Excess weight gain during pregnancy further adds to these risks and is a key driver of infertility, long-term obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, while for the child, their risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing chronic diseases in later life greatly increases,” Professor Teede said.

“The women I see are generally desperate for help to improve their lifestyle and that of their families. They want to set themselves and their families up for healthy, long lives.

“Currently, there is a lot of blame placed on individuals with unhealthy diets and lifestyles seen as being due to individual and family discipline. Women from all backgrounds and walks of life struggle with little or no support to achieve this. It is vital that we as a community progress beyond placing all responsibility on the individual and work towards creating a policy context and a society that supports healthy choices and tips the scales towards obesity prevention to give Australian families a healthy start to life.”

The calls to action outlined in Tipping the Scales are endorsed by the following organisations: Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (which includes the Heart Foundation, Cancer Council Australia, Kidney Health Australia, Diabetes Australia and the Stroke Foundation), Australian Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC), Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA), Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS), Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine, Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute, CHOICE, Consumers Health Forum of Australia, Deakin University’s Global Obesity Centre (GLOBE), Institute For Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), Monash Centre for Health, Research and Implementation (MCHRI), LiveLighter, Menzies School of Health Research, The University of Melbourne’s Melbourne School of Population & Global Health, Melbourne Children’s (which includes The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Melbourne), the National Rural Health Alliance Inc, Nutrition Australia, Obesity Australia, Obesity Policy Coalition, Obesity Surgery Society of Australia & New Zealand, Parents’ Voice, Public Health Association of Australia and Sugar By Half.

Download the Tipping the Scales action plan and snapshot at opc.org.au/tippingthescales


1. Obesity Australia. Obesity: Its impact on Australia and a case for action. No time to Weight 2. Sydney, 2015.

Aboriginal Male Healthy Futures 2013-2030 Register Now #OchreDay2017 Darwin 4-5 Oct: How can we increase positive outcomes for our mob ?

 

” NACCHO has long recognised the importance of an Aboriginal male health policy and program to close the gap by 2030 on the alarming Aboriginal male mortality rates across Australia.

Aboriginal males have arguably the worst health outcomes of any population group in Australia.

To address the real social and emotional needs of males in our communities, NACCHO in 2013 proposed a positive approach to Aboriginal male health and wellbeing.”

At the National Male Health #OCHRE DAY in Darwin October 4-5 Dr Mick Adams will be facilitating discussions around strategies to increase positive Aboriginal Male Health outcomes locally , state/Territory and nationally : see below for full program or

Download the  2 Day Program HERE :

final 2017-Ochre-Day-Program

For more information call 08 8942 5400 or naccho.ochre@ddhs.org.au

The Ochre Day program has now been finalised and registrations are filling fast – register now for Ochre Day 2017

REGISTER HERE

Other Speakers and presenters will include :

  1. Tony Lee – Elder Larrakia Nation
  2. Richard Fejo – Chair Larrakia
  3. Matthew Cooke – NACCHO Chair . Welcome to NACCHO Ochre Day
  4. The Hon Ken Wyatt M.P. Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health. An overview of Aboriginal Mens Health : a Government perspective
  5. John Paterson – Amsant – Overview of Aboriginal Mens Health Programs in the N.T.
  6. Joseph Knuth – Danila Dilba Health Services Deadly Choices
  7. David Adams- Danila Dilba Health Services – Mens Clinic
  8. Professor James Ward- S.A. Health and Medical Research Institute
  9. Danielle Dyall – Trauma Informed Care – Transintergenerational Trauma
  10. Sarah Haythronthwaite – AMSANT
  11. Charlie King – No more Campaign – Family Violence
  12. Jack Bulman – No more campaign – Family Violence
  13. Olga Havnen – DDHS – Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children N.T. N.Z- Diversionary Program Proposal
  14. Paul Fong – DDHS- The Role of the Counsellor
  15. Brad Hart- Kornar Winmil Yunti Aboriginal Corporation S.A.- What are Healing Circles
  16. Brad Hart – Kornar Winmil Yunti Aboriginal Corporation
  17. Stuart Mc Minn- Interrelate- The Health and Formation of Adolescent Males
  18. Nathan Rigney- Cancer Council S.A. –
  19. Professor James Ward – S.A Health and Medical research Institute
  20. Glen Poole- Australian Men’s Health Forum –
  21. Nick Espie- Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children N.T.
  22. Joe Williams – Enemy With In – Suicide Prevention and Wellbeing Education

 Background to NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health 10 point Blueprint 2013-2030

NACCHO, its affiliates and members are committed to building upon past innovations and we require targeted actions and investments to implement a wide range of Aboriginal male health and wellbeing programs and strategies.

At the 2013 NACCHO OCHRE DAY in Canberra the delegates called on State, Territory and Federal governments to commit to a specific, substantial and sustainable funding allocation for the NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health 10 point Blueprint 2013-2030

This blueprint as set below highlighted how the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services sector could continue to improve our rates of access to health and wellbeing services by Aboriginal males through working closely within our communities, strengthening cultural safety and further building upon our current Aboriginal male health workforce and leadership.

We celebrate 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

The NACCHO 10-Point Blue print Plan is based on a robust body of work that includes the Close the Gap Statement of Intent and the Close the Gap targets, the National Framework for the Improvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Male Health (2002), NACCHO’s position paper on Aboriginal male health (2010)  the 2013 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (NATSIHP), and the NACCHO Healthy futures 10 point plan  2013-2030

These solutions have been developed in response to the deep-rooted social, political and economic conditions that effect Aboriginal males and the need to be addressed alongside the delivery of essential health care.

Our plan is based on evidence, targeted to need and capable of addressing the existing inequalities in Aboriginal male health services, with the aim of achieving equality of health status and life expectancy between Aboriginal males and non-Aboriginal males by 2030.

This blueprint celebrated our success so far and proposes the strategies that governments, NACCHO affiliates and member services must in partnership commit to and invest in to ensure major health gains are maintained into the future

NACCHO, our affiliates and members remain focused on creating a healthy future for generational change and the NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health 10 point Blueprint 2013-2030 will enable comprehensive and long-term action to achieve real outcomes.

To close the gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal males and non-Aboriginal within a generation we need achieve these 10 key goals

1. To call on government at all levels to invest a specific, substantial and sustainable funding allocation for the, NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health 10 point Blueprint plan 2013-2030 a comprehensive, long-term Aboriginal male Health plan of action that is based on evidence, targeted to need, and capable of addressing the existing inequities in Aboriginal male health

2. To assist delivering community-controlled ,comprehensive primary male health care, services that are culturally appropriate accessible, affordable, good quality, innovative to bridge the gap in health standards and to respect and promote the rights of Aboriginal males, in urban, rural and remote areas in order to achieve lasting improvements in Aboriginal male health and well-being

3. To ensure Aboriginal males have equal access to health services that are equal in standard to those enjoyed by other Australians, and ensure primary health care services and health infrastructure for Aboriginal males are capable of bridging the gap in health standards by 2030.

4. To prioritise specific funding to address mental health, social and emotional well-being and suicide prevention for Aboriginal males.

5. To ensure that we address Social determinants relating to identity culture, language and land, as well as violence, alcohol, employment and education.

6.To improve access to and the responsiveness of mainstream health services and programs to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health  services are provided commensurate Accessibility within the Primary Health Care Centre may mean restructuring clinics to accommodate male specific areas, or off-site areas, and may include specific access (back door entrance) to improve attendance and cultural gender issues

 7.To provide an adequate workforce to meet Aboriginal male health needs by increasing the recruitment, retention, effectiveness and training of male health practitioners working within Aboriginal settings and by building the capacity of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.

8 To identified and prioritised (as appropriate) in all health strategies developed for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) including that all relevant programs being progressed in these services will be expected to ensure Aboriginal male health is considered in the planning phase or as the program progresses. Specialised Aboriginal male health programs and targeted interventions should be developed to address male health intervention points across the life cycle continuum.

9. To build on the evidence base of what works in Aboriginal health, supporting it with research and data on relevant local and international experience and to ensure that the quality of data quality in all jurisdictions meets AIHW standards.

10. To measure, monitor, and report on our joint efforts in accordance with benchmarks and targets – to ensure that we are progressively reaching our shared aims.

NOTE 2013 : 1.Throughout this document the word Male is used instead of Men. At the inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Male Health Gathering-Alice Springs 1999, all delegates present agreed that the word Male would be used instead of the word Men. With the intention being to encompass the Male existence from it’s beginnings in the womb until death.

2.Throughout this document the word Aboriginal is used instead of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. This is in line with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) being representative of Aboriginal People. This does not intend to exclude nor be disrespectful to our Brothers from the Torres Strait Islands.

OCHRE DAY Program

 

Aboriginal #MentalHealth and #RUOKDay 14 Sept Advanced Speeches : The cause bringing Turnbull and Shorten together

 ” The truth is that mental health is enormously costly, in every respect.

It’s costly for individuals who suffer, its costly to their families but it’s especially costly when people take their own lives.

So we all have a vested interest in each others’ mental health. The most important thing we can do is to look out for each other.

Yes, governments and parliaments and health professionals spend money and trial new approaches and use digital technologies more effectively and we’re doing all these things and we’ll no doubt do much more in the future.

But you know, just four letters ‘R U OK?’ can make a difference. Because they represent another four letters, ‘L O V E’ – love. That’s what it’s about; showing that love and care for the people with whom you are with, whether they are your families, your friends or your workmates. Reach out to them, ask are you okay, show you care.

You could not just change a life, you could save a life.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressing the RUOK Breakfast 12 September

Download his speech or read in full Part 2 Below PM Malcolm Turnbull RUOK

Read over 150 Aboriginal Mental Health articles published by NACCHO over 5 years

” We know that suicide is the scourge of rural and regional communities.

It takes a shocking toll on our people in the bush.

We know the suicide rate is twice as high amongst our First Australians, Pat Dodson has written movingly about those nights when his phone rings with the tragic news that another young person in the Kimberley has taken their life.

There is always time to start a conversation.

I think about all the people that I have known – and I am not sure I could have done anything then to change something.

But I wish that I knew then what I know now, and was able to ask these people: ‘Are you ok?’ “

Opposition Leader  Bill Shorten addressing the RUOK Breakfast 12 September

Download his speech or read in full Part 3 Below Bill Shorten RUOK

Part 1 The cause bringing Turnbull and Shorten together

From SBS Report

When Bill Shorten sat down to prepare some remarks for a parliamentary breakfast on suicide, he reflected on how many people he knew who had taken their own life.

He stopped at about seven.

“The thing about these people I thought about is that they remain forever young,” the opposition leader told an ‘R U Ok?’ gathering at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday.

Mr Shorten said he questioned what he could have done to help them or whether people didn’t see a sign.

He’s not alone. Seven people commit suicide on average every day in Australia.

“It is a silent crisis at the heart of our nation,” he said.

“These are preventable deaths.”

Mr Shorten reflected on veterans who feel let down by the nation they served and young people who feel like they don’t fit in.

The world of social media had created a form of emotional distance, a world of exotic holidays and glamorous events, he noted.

“The challenge is to look beyond the superficial snapshots of endless good times. To go further than simply clicking ‘like’.”

Mr Shorten believes MPs and senators are actually well placed to understand the message of the suicide prevention charity.

“In this very large building with thousands of people it can be a hard and isolating experience.”

“Suicide knows no boundaries, we are all in this together” Professor Gracelyn Smallwood in Townsville

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said suicide prevention was about people but the high statistics demand everyone do much better.

He believes a reluctance to talk about mental health issues – whether because of stigma or taboo – has been a barrier.

“You can’t deal with a problem that you don’t acknowledge,” he said.

Mr Turnbull noted the work of the late Watson’s Bay resident Don Ritchie who invited anxious people at The Gap nearby in for a chat and a cuppa.

“He would gently lure them back from the brink by doing no more than showing that he cared for them,” he said.

“That is why ‘R U Ok?’ day is so important.”

Mr Shorten was glad the event brought the two leaders together.

“It’s a galling thing when you’re leader of the opposition and the prime minister yells slogans at you,” he said.

“But then occasionally sometimes he gives a speech like that and I think ‘you’re not too bad after all’.”

Both agreed the mutual feeling would be over by question time.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Part 2 Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressing the RUOK Breakfast 13 September

Well good morning. It’s great to be here with Andrew Wallace who is standing in for Julian Leeser, who together with Mike Kelly are Co-Chairs of the Friendship Group.

I acknowledge Greg Hunt, the Minister for Health and Sport, Bill Shorten, Julie Collins the Shadow Minister for Ageing and Mental Health, Murray Bleach, the Chairman Suicide Prevention Australia, Mike Connaghan – Chairman of RUOK? and Mike and I were reflecting on how many decades it is since we first met and worked together in advertising but there it is. You’re looking very youthful. That’s what happens if you don’t go into politics.

And of course Professor Batterham is our guest speaker this morning – and so many other leaders in health and in suicide prevention, and of course all my Parliamentary colleagues here as well.

Now we’re all united here behind Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK? Day. Suicide Prevention Day was on Sunday and R U OK? Day is later this week.

Each year, around one in every five Australians experience mental illness and in 2015, more than 3,000 took their own life.

Now, suicide is about people, it’s about families, not numbers. But the statistics confront us all and call on us to do much better.

I am firmly of the view that our reluctance to talk about mental health issues – whether you call it a stigma or a taboo – has been a very real barrier to addressing this issue. You can’t deal with a problem that you do not acknowledge.

So we have started to talk about suicide and mental health and in an open and honest way, as we have not done in the past.

Now my own electorate of Wentworth includes one of the most beautiful yet tragic places in Australia, The Gap. It is a place where many, many Australians take their lives. A part of The Gap story until he died in 2012 was an extraordinary man called Don Ritchie who was an old sailor and also very tall, I might add.

For the best part of half a century, he lived near The Gap and when he would go for walks and he saw somebody there – anxious, perhaps standing on the wrong side of the fence – he would talk to them.

He would say: “Are you OK? How are you going? Do you want to have a chat? Do you want to come in and have a cup of tea?” He would gently lure them back from the brink by doing no more than showing that he cared for them.

That is why ‘R U OK? Day?’ is so important. Because what it is all about, is showing that we do care. Four letters ‘R U O K’ import so much. They send a message of love, they send a message of care. Critically important and what could be more Australian than looking out for your mates? Or looking out for people you don’t even know? Looking out for somebody who seems anxious, worried, or someone at work that isn’t quite themselves. It is a caring and a loving question. And it raises very prominently this issue of awareness, to the forefront.

At Gap Park for example, as the local Member, I’ve pushed for more funding and support for suicide prevention. Since 2010 there has been implemented a ‘Gap Master Plan’ and I want to acknowledge the support that Julia Gillard provided as Prime Minister to support the local government, the Woollahra Council, towards that funding.

It was a series of measures of signs, telephones, obviously of cameras so that the police can keep an eye on what’s going on there and also a very innovative design in defences that are hard to get over, but easier to get back over, if you know what I mean.

So all of this makes a difference and since 2010 the local police tell me there has been a significant increase in the number of successful interventions at The Gap. But still, far, far too many people die there and in many other places around Australia.

Now, we’re working better to understand the factors that have contributed to rising suicide rates and to support communities to respond to their own unique circumstances.

We’re committed to reducing suicide rates through regional trials, research and building the evidence base with flexible models that address regional needs and work in our local communities.

This includes the implementation of 12 regional suicide prevention trial sites in Townsville, the Kimberley and Darwin and other places. Digital innovation trials and ten lead sites to trial different care models. All looking to see what actually works.

We’re also investing a great deal more in mental health and making services more effective, accessible and tailored to local needs.

Since 2016, we’ve invested an additional $367.5 million in mental health and suicide prevention support.

That includes a $194.5 million election package towards building a modern 21st century mental health system and our $173 million in new funding in the 2017‑18 Budget and $58.6 million to expand mental health and suicide prevention services for current and ex-serving ADF members and their families.

So we’re putting existing resources to work. But you know, the most important resource is you, is all of us. You know my very good friend and a good friend of all of yours, I know, Ian Hickie has got a great concept. He talks about the ‘mental wealth of nations’, sort of elaborating from Adam Smith.

The truth is that mental health is enormously costly, in every respect.

It’s costly for individuals who suffer, its costly to their families but it’s especially costly when people take their own lives.

So we all have a vested interest in each others’ mental health. The most important thing we can do is to look out for each other.

Yes, governments and parliaments and health professionals spend money and trial new approaches and use digital technologies more effectively and we’re doing all these things and we’ll no doubt do much more in the future.

But you know, just four letters ‘R U OK?’ can make a difference. Because they represent another four letters, ‘L O V E’ – love. That’s what it’s about; showing that love and care for the people with whom you are with, whether they are your families, your friends or your workmates. Reach out to them, ask are you okay, show you care. You could not just change a life, you could save a life.

Thank you very much.

Part 3 Opposition Leader  Bill Shorten addressing the RUOK Breakfast 13 September

Good morning everybody.

I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, I pay my respect to their elders both past and present.

I’m actually going to spend a moment on what the Prime Minister said and thank him for his words.

It’s a galling thing when you’re Leader of the Opposition that the Prime Minister yells slogans at you one day, and you think oh why did he do that?

But then occasionally he gives a speech like that and I think, you’re not too bad after all.

It really was a good set of words.

Mind you, by Question Time that thought will be erased.

I’d like to thank Mike Kelly and Andrew Wallace filling in for Julian Leeser for bringing all of us here today.

We’ve got the Shadow Minister Julie Collins and we’ve got the Minister Greg Hunt.

Yesterday afternoon when I was preparing my words for this morning, I stopped to think about people I’d known who’d taken their own lives. And you start to construct that list.

I’m sure I’m not unique. I think most Australians find out after the event, someone they liked or loved has taken their own life.

As I got thinking about it, I could think of about seven people I knew. I actually stopped there. Because I knew the longer I thought, I could think of families with their kids and other people.

The thing about these people I thought about, is that they remain forever young.

You can still imagine them. You can remember not everything that you should, but you can remember some of their jokes perhaps, some of their ideas, some of their abilities.

I think about RUOK and I thought what could we have done then, what could I have done then?

And what has been done today to help this be prevented in the future.

I think about each of these people, and I went through the process of writing down their names just to start reconstructing.

Because you don’t always think about the people who have passed, you move on, the events move on.

And I think, was there some sign that they weren’t well? Was there some signal, some marker?

Is there something you could have done differently?

Some of the people I think of were teenagers, highly-talented. They seemed to be very successful at everything they did. But inside they were battling illness and great, great depression.

And when I thought about seven people I could think of I was reminded that seven Australians take their life on average every day, and possibly seven more will today. Every single day.

It is a silent crisis at the heart of our nation.

I’m sure all of you have sat with parents at their table when they’re numb with incomprehension, when they’re shattered by grief.

When they’re trying to write words to say farewell to their child or their adult child, taken too soon.

I still recall a school assembly where the school captain or someone very senior in the school said he died on a train, that’s what we were told. It was only years after that I found out that was the way the school dealt with the fact that he had taken his own life.

And you do think about what you could have done.

I think about veterans who are let down by the nation that they served.

Seven Australians – every day.

And what I wanted to say is that these are preventable deaths – we are not talking about a terminal condition, some dreadful metastasising cancer spread throughout a human body.

These deaths are preventable, there is nothing inevitable about suicide.

And we know that expert assistance can make the difference but it is in short supply.

Our emergency departments work very well. If you turn up with say chest pains, terrible chest pains I reckon nearly all of the time you’ll get the right diagnosis and the care is there.

When I was talking to Professor Pat McGorry who is here today, you know and he worries that you can turn up to an emergency department and you’ve got a very serious case of potential self-harm, or as a suicide risk.

Do we have the resources there to the same proportion as a medical condition, another medical condition? I don’t think we do.

And I know every Member of Parliament here regardless of their political affiliation will have constituents who come to them desperate, red-eyed saying I’ve got a child, an adult child who really needs that sub-acute care. And the search for the beds that aren’t there.

We know that suicide is the scourge of rural and regional communities.

It takes a shocking toll on our people in the bush.

We know the suicide rate is twice as high amongst our First Australians, Pat Dodson has written movingly about those nights when his phone rings with the tragic news that another young person in the Kimberley has taken their life.

We know, as Mike Kelly alluded to, that suicide is more common and more frequently attempted by young LGBTI Australians grappling with their sexuality, fearing rejection.

Completely alienated and unsure of where they fit in.

And we all do have a responsibility to call-out that hateful discrimination and language, particularly in the weeks ahead.

The simple truth is no part of our nation has a wall tall enough to keep the scourge of suicide from that postcode. Suicide is no respecter of ethnicity, of income.

It does not care which god you pray to, or who you love, it affects every Australian and therefore it is within the power of every Australian to do something about it.

We live in a world where it has been easier than ever to see what our friends and our family are up to.

I remember when I was a backpacker 25 years ago, I could be back home before any of the postcards which I had sent to Mum and Dad.

These days you feel like you’re on everybody else’s holiday half the time, as soon as you turn on the computer.

Australians aged between 15 and 24 spend an average of around 18 hours a week online.

And while social media has a tremendous ability to bring us closer together, Instagram,

Facebook and Snapchat also create emotional distance. A carefully-curated view of each other’s lives: exotic holidays, glamorous events, fun nights out, fancy meals.

We have now got a situation where before teenagers will eat the food, they will photograph it.

But the challenge for us is to look beyond the superficial snapshots of endless good times, to go further than simply clicking ‘like’ and scrolling on down the feed.

It’s about digging a bit deeper.

And in conclusion, that’s why we are here.

It’s time to make that call, to send a message, to drop-in for a visit – to really see how someone is going.

I actually think Parliamentarians are well placed to understand RUOK Day.

We’ve all seen our own challenges with mental health, I think previously in this parliament.

In this very large building with thousands of people, it can be hard and isolating experience.

It is important that RUOK day occurs because it is a reminder that we need to distinguish and not let the urgent distract us from the important.

There is always time to

  • Ask
  • Listen
  • Encourage action
  • And check-in

There is always time to start a conversation.

I think about all the people that I have known – and I am not sure I could have done anything then to change something.

But I wish that I knew then what I know now, and was able to ask these people: ‘Are you ok?’