NACCHO Health News Alert : Here’s how to #closethegap on #Indigenous women #smoking during pregnancy

Smoking

” In another study, some health workers did not consider it worthwhile to offer quit advice to Indigenous pregnant women, due to low success rates.

To overcome these barriers, we are developing a webinar intervention with six Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services on how to manage smoking during pregnancy. The Indigenous Counselling and Nicotine (ICAN) Quit in Pregnancy program will use an ABCD approach:

  • ask/assess smoking
  • brief advice to quit
  • cessation (quit) methods (nicotine replacement therapies, which will be provided at no charge)
  • discuss the psychological and social context of smoking.

D” is crucial to understanding and effectively supporting a pregnant Indigenous smoker to quit. The intervention will be trialled in three to four states. If successful, it can be easily scaled up nation-wide.

Gillian Sandra Gould as published in the Conversation

Almost half of pregnant Indigenous women smoke compared to one in eight in the non-Indigenous population. This means 7,000-9,000 Indigenous Australian babies every year are exposed to smoking in the womb.

Children exposed to tobacco smoke before birth are at increased risk of “glue ear”, which causes hearing loss, learning problems and behavioural problems. They are also at greater risk of asthma and bronchiolitis in childhood, and chronic lung disease in adulthood.

Children born to mothers who smoke are more likely to become smokers. Some try smoking as young as five years old.

Our research shows women are well aware of the risks of smoking for their babies, and want to do something about it.

We have identified three key areas that need urgent remediation if Indigenous women are to be effectively supported to quit:

  • subsidised access to oral forms of nicotine replacement therapy
  • clinician training to better manage smoking during pregnancy
  • health promotion messages to address the challenges Indigenous women face when quitting.

Access to nicotine replacement therapy

Australian GP guidelines recommend if a woman cannot quit smoking during pregnancy or when breastfeeding, she should be offered oral forms of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as inhalers or lozenges. These are faster-acting than nicotine patches and should be considered the first-line treatment.

Consumers have to pay around A$800 for a 90-day course of an inhaler. Ray Kelly

 

 

Patches are listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS), but oral NRT (inhalers, lozenges, gum and nicotine spray) is not listed or subsidised. These options are expensive when bought in retail outlets. A full, 12-week course costs around A$500 for the nicotine spray or lozenges, and A$800 for the inhaler.

For the past three years, I have lobbied the government and pharmaceutical companies to remediate this. Because patches are already listed, putting oral NRT on the PBS would involve only a minor change to add extra products to the listing.

But while the government may be willing, the pharmaceutical companies are reluctant to repackage these products for prescription use. My investigations reveal pricing is a key factor: the government is unlikely to pay as much for PBS-listed products as pharmaceutical companies expect.

PBS representatives stepped in to do their own negotiations with pharmaceutical companies, but these appear to be gridlocked.

Health professional training

We recently surveyed 378 Australian GPs and obstetricians and found few are confident to prescribe NRT to pregnant women. Of the respondents:

  • 88% said NRT was safer than smoking
  • 66% considered NRT moderately to highly effective
  • 11% always prescribed NRT to a pregnant smoker
  • 63% agreed management would improve if oral NRT was on the PBS
  • 78% agreed further training was required.

In another study, some health workers did not consider it worthwhile to offer quit advice to Indigenous pregnant women, due to low success rates.

To overcome these barriers, we are developing a webinar intervention with six Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services on how to manage smoking during pregnancy. The Indigenous Counselling and Nicotine (ICAN) Quit in Pregnancy program will use an ABCD approach:

  • ask/assess smoking
  • brief advice to quit
  • cessation (quit) methods (nicotine replacement therapies, which will be provided at no charge)
  • discuss the psychological and social context of smoking.

“D” is crucial to understanding and effectively supporting a pregnant Indigenous smoker to quit. The intervention will be trialled in three to four states. If successful, it can be easily scaled up nation-wide.

New health promotion messages

A wealth of evidence has amassed in the past five years to better inform messages around Indigenous women smoking during pregnancy. It’s time to translate this knowledge into practice.

Many Indigenous women face difficult life circumstances, coupled with social norms of smoking. Health promotion programs and messages must account for these circumstances and focus on key messages. These include:

  • increasing the visibility of harm for babies
  • addressing the importance of quitting rather than just “cutting down” – making quitting seem worth it
  • reassuring that stress will decrease once nicotine withdrawal is controlled
  • offering high-quality support – women need to know they are not alone and can be helped.

Health promotion programs should be delivered to women through targeted print and film media, and during the consultation at primary care services.

Indigenous women must have an opportunity to address their smoking when pregnant. They need to be supported by making essential medications easily available and affordable, building capacity by training health professionals, and getting a broad reach for the right messages to this high-priority group. This way we can start to move forward and close the gap in this area.

NACCHO #HealthElection16 : Labor to boost funding for #FASD, #Stroke and #Indigenous Affairs

FASD

Strengthening the community response

“A Shorten Labor Government will help communities to develop stronger responses to FASD, particularly in remote and isolated communities, where the disorder is having a particularly harsh impact. The fact that certain communities are disproportionately impacted by this disorder cannot be ignored.

Labor will work with communities in places where there is a high risk of FASD to address this in ways appropriate to their local community.

This package will have an impact of $18.2 million over four years “

Tackling Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder    FACT SHEET

Read 7 NACCHO FASD Stories HERE

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) refers to a range of conditions caused by exposure to alcohol while in the womb. Often not apparent until the child reaches school age, the impacts may be physical, developmental and/ or neurobehavioral and are lifelong.

FASD continues to ruin lives and disproportionately affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We now know it is much more prevalent across the entire community than previously thought. One in five women continue to consume alcohol whilst pregnant yet health professionals are reluctant to ask about alcohol consumption and few are familiar with the clinical features of FASD.[1]

A Shorten Labor Government will implement a plan to tackle FASD, drawing on expert advice and on programs shown to deliver strong results. Labor will also implement a range of measures to improve training for health professionals and management of this harmful disorder.

Specialist support services

A Shorten Labor Government will provide specialist support services to pregnant women with alcohol-related disorders and implement the FASD diagnostic instrument. This will include providing extra support to women to reduce or cease their alcohol consumption and providing advice on the contraception options available to them.

Unfortunately, many treatment programs in Australia have not been designed with women, particularly mothers, in mind. This affects both accessibility of treatment and the types of treatment available. Many fear that they will lose their children if they admit to problems with alcohol.

That is why Labor will provide funding to alcohol and illicit drug treatment services so that they can develop practices and strategies tailored specifically for pregnant women and mothers.

The Kamira Drug and Alcohol Centre located on the Central Coast of New South Wales is the perfect example of a centre that helps pregnant women and mothers with substance misuse problems. Unfortunately, like many treatment services it is over-stretched and has to turn away women even though it has empty beds (due to resourcing issues). As part of this package Labor has committed $2.2 million over four years to Kamira, to ensure it can operate at full capacity and better meet the growing demand for help.

Improving diagnosis

A Shorten Labor Government will establish FASD diagnostic service clinics to conduct research into the best models for delivering care. Labor understands that we need to improve FASD diagnosis rates if we are going to make any headway in reducing the incidence of this disorder.

FASD is a complicated disorder which requires a multi-disciplinary approach with assessments undertaken by different health professionals including psychologists, speech therapists and paediatricians.

In addition to this, breaking the news to someone that their child may be suffering from FASD can be very confronting, particularly since there is so much stigma attached to the disorder.

That is why Labor will support diagnostic teams to target at-risk communities, including rural and remote communities. This will be based on the success of the Lililwan Project in the Fitzroy Valley in Western Australia where children were assessed by a specialist multi‑disciplinary team that made contact with the community.

This model can be adapted to local communities to make sure that it is targeted and culturally appropriate.

Supporting training and awareness

A Shorten Labor Government will boost training for health professionals to increase their awareness of FASD and facilitate the use of the disorder’s diagnostic instrument.

It is no use having a diagnostic instrument if it is not being used effectively. That is why our plan will focus on increasing awareness of FASD and facilitating use of the new instrument that was released earlier this year.

Unfortunately, many health professionals are either unaware of FASD or are not suitably equipped to help patients suffering from the disorder. This must change.

As part of this strategy we will develop a training and implementation plan to make sure that FASD was being detected and treated appropriately everywhere in Australia.

Labor will draw on the experience of work undertaken in the United States, where training programs have been developed to comprehensively train health professionals on FASD.

There is evidence of the effectiveness of providing better training on particular medical problems which are often misunderstood or misdiagnosed. For example, in 2010 the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners administered a program to train providers to deliver psychological skills training for GPs. We need a similar model for FASD, especially since GPs are often the first point of contact for people affected by FASD.

 

FAST_highres

INVESTING IN LOCAL AND NATIONAL INITIATIVES SURVIVING STROKE

Tackling one of Australia’s biggest killers and a leading cause of disability, the Shorten Labor Government will deliver a $16 million boost to stroke awareness and follow up care.

Read 20 NACCHO Stroke Stories

One in six Australians will have a stroke in their lifetime, with Australians suffering more than 50,000 new or recurrent strokes this year alone.

Almost half a million Australians are already living with the effects of a stroke, a figure that is expected to climb to over 700,000 by 2032 and almost one million by 2050. But it doesn’t have to be this way – access to quick treatment and support services can save lives and reduce disability.

A Shorten Labor Government will partner with the Stroke Foundation to increase awareness of the signs of stroke and ensure better supports for stroke survivors, including improving access to treatments and support.

Labor’s investment will raise awareness of the Stroke Foundation’s FAST test.

Thinking FAST and acting FAST is critical. Early treatment could mean the difference between death or severe disability, and is critical in ensuring a good recovery from stroke.

Using the FAST test involves asking these simple questions:

Face             Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?

Arms            Can they lift both arms?

Speech        Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time            Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call 000 straight away.

Strokes can occur to anyone of any age at any time, but every Australian has the power to save a life by thinking FAST and acting FAST when they recognise the signs.

Labor’s investment will raise community awareness by forming local partnerships and re-establishing the StrokeSafe Ambassador program.

The number one issue for stroke survivors is improved care. A Shorten Labor Government will invest in the Stroke Foundation’s follow-up and referral service for around 24,000 stroke survivors. This will facilitate their sustainable, long-term recovery.

Leaving hospital after a stroke can be a very frightening and isolating time for survivors, particularly for those who don’t have family support.

Survivors speak of not being able to access information and services and being left to fend for themselves, unaware of the right places to seek help.

The Stroke Foundation’s follow up and referral service will provide comprehensive post-hospital support to stroke patients, their carers and families.

The service will pro-actively contact stroke survivors via a phone call at around six weeks post discharge providing a needs assessment, offering assistance and community service referral. The follow-up service will also provide vital information for families and carers as they help their loved one adjust to life after a stroke.

Labor’s investment in stroke awareness and care is further proof that only Labor believes that all Australians, no matter where they live or how much they earn, are entitled to the best possible health care.

Response from Stroke Foundation

Vital boost for stroke awareness and support

The Stroke Foundation has welcomed today’s announcement by the Australian Labor Party that, if elected, it will deliver a vital $16 million boost to stroke awareness and stroke survivor support.

Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King pledged to partner with the Stroke Foundation in a national FAST campaign to raise awareness of the signs of stroke and to roll-out a follow up and referral service for stroke survivors and their families. Ms King made the announcement at a community event in Box Hill this morning.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said the funding would improve outcomes for the one in six Australians that will suffer a stroke in their lifetime.

“Currently stroke kills more women than breast cancer, more men than prostate cancer, and it is a leading cause of acquired disability. However, it does not have to be this way, stroke is treatable and it is beatable,’’ Ms McGowan said.

“Thousands are living with the impact of stroke and this funding will go a long way towards improving community awareness and supporting stroke survivors to make their best recovery possible,” she said.

A stroke is always a medical emergency but the average person has an alarming lack of knowledge about it.

“Getting to hospital FAST is critical to recovery from stroke,” Ms McGowan said.

“When a stroke occurs brain cells die at a rate of 1.9 million a minute, time-critical treatments can help stop the damage spreading and in some cases even reverse it.

“We should all know the signs of stroke, they are easy to learn and someday it might save the life someone you love or even your own.”

Building on the national FAST campaign, funding for the Stroke Foundation’s follow up and referral program will ensure thousands of stroke survivors and their families across Australia get the support they need upon discharge from hospital.

“For many stroke survivors and their families there is a void in support once they return home from the hospital. Up to half of stroke survivors currently leave hospital without a plan to support their transition home, limiting their recovery opportunities,’’ Ms McGowan said.

“The program will deliver stroke survivors, their carers and families with the information and support they need to maximise their recovery. It will help survivors to navigate the often confusing and frightening journey of life after stroke by linking them to the support and services they desperately need.

“There are too many stroke survivors who currently get home from hospital, unable to get through daily tasks, with no idea there is support out there to help them. This program will ensure no survivor is left to go it alone.”

Stroke survivor Bill Gasiamis also welcomed today’s announcement saying it had the potential to transform lives.

“For many stroke survivors, dealing with the aftermath of stroke is a daily battle,” he said.

“This funding will transform the lives of thousands of stroke survivors like myself and our families.”

Ms McGowan said the Foundation was now calling for leadership from all political parties to commit to key priorities to improve the state of stroke, outlined in its Tackling a rising tide platform.

“This election presents an enormous opportunity to make a difference. Stroke is not a hopeless cause – it is largely preventable and treatable, there are actions we can take now to tackle it,” she said.

“I welcome today’s commitment and call on all political parties to make stroke an election priority, recognising the devastating impact it has on our community.

“Stroke doesn’t discriminate – it impacts people across all walks of life. It is time we take a cross-party approach and look at how we can tackle stroke together. Together we can fight stroke and win.”

For more information visit http://www.strokefoundation.com.au

Federal election 2016:

Labor to restore funds to indigenous affairs budget

Picture

“Labor would restore funding to the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, stripped in the 2014 budget, dismantle the Coalition’s controversial indigenous Advancement Strategy funding arrangement and fund a range of programs focusing particularly on women and children.”

Shayne Neumann

Making the announcement at Congress’s Sydney headquarters this morning, indigenous affairs spokesman Shayne Neumann described last week’s “Redfern Statement” declaration as talking to a “powerful and uncomfortable truth” and said Labor was “up to the challenge” of answering its demands.

These included restoring around $500 million stripped from the indigenous affairs budget in 2014, restoring funding to Congress, hosting a government summit to hear indigenous voices, giving indigenous Australians the lead in policy decisions and opening talks on a treaty.

Congress would get $15 million over three years under a Shorten government, Mr Neumann said, and around 80 per cent of the $500 million would be returned across a range of programs including early education services, family violence prevention and school attendance programs.

On treaty, he said: “We have never ruled out a treaty or treaty arrangements at some stage in the future but our priority for the first term of a Shorten Labor government is constitutional

recognition. We want to put that to the Australian public, we’re hopeful that we’ll get support from the Australian public, it would be historic, it is really important that we do this.”

Mr Neumann said a Labor government would convene a summit within 100 days “to work with indigenous people to develop priorities”.

Congress co-chair Jackie Huggins said the funding announcements were welcome as they focused in large part on “the most vulnerable targets in our community … family violence is a scourge that has to be tackled really quickly”.

The next NACCHO #HealthElection16 edition will be out 29 June

New Microsoft Word Document (4)

NACCHO #HealthElection16 #TowardsRecovery Mental Health , NDIS , PHN’s and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health

PHNs-in-scope

Current Commonwealth programs migrating to PHN’s

Indigenous ?

The mental health sector is in the midst of “a perfect storm” of change, as one speaker put it during the recent VICSERV #TowardsRecovery conference in Melbourne. This comes as the sector grapples with how to offer people with mental illness not just choices but control over their lives.

Mental Health Australia CEO Frank Quinlan told delegates that the system was in a period of “quite unprecedented change”, with the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the new role in mental health of Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and other reforms planned or underway in response to the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services.”

A delegate from an Aboriginal community controlled health organisation (ACCHO) raised issues for her sector, where Aboriginal communities are estimated to have twice the incidence of disability as non-Aboriginal communities but much less access to services, and agencies that are not specialists for disability support.

“If you focus most of the effort on transitioning current supports (to the NDIS), that will continue to leave Aboriginal communities under-supported,” she told the NDIS panellists.

She was told the NDIA had identified it needed to do a lot more work around Aboriginal disability, and would step up that engagement and transition work. Other culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities will also get a bigger focus.

Another ACCHO representative voiced fears that if Aboriginal people with disability transitioned to other services under the NDIS, only to find they were not culturally safe for them, that the ACCHO workforce might not still be there for them to return to.

Marie McInerney writes: Melissa Sweets edits in

Croakey New

While many of the major system changes underway, including the NDIS, are welcomed in the mental health sector, there is confusion over details and concern that many people with mental health issues could fall through new gaps in the system.

Some at the conference said the upheaval rivals the days of deinstitutionalisation, particularly in Victoria which has just emerged from much criticised recommissioning of mental health services and where there is also uncertainty about what of its mental health community support funds will be committed to the NDIS.

These concerns are only exacerbated by the uncertainty surrounding the policy outcomes likely to result from the July 2 federal election, and the marathon eight-week election campaign and caretaker period.

Despite all the planning for the NDIS, which on 1 July begins its full national rollout after three years of trials, the fate of some programs such as the Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) program is still not known.

(As a measure of ‘reform fatigue’, Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association CEO Sam Biondo told one session that when he started out in the 1970s, all he wanted was change; now all he wants is some stability).

“Some organisations don’t know what contracted services they’ll be offering on July 1,” Quinlan told Croakey in a follow-up interview yesterday. “That means uncertainty for their clients, people who rely on them, and also for their workforce who don’t know whether they will have employment in six weeks time.”

At the weekend Mental Health Australia released its election platform, saying the important reforms that are underway “cannot be forgotten during the current electoral cycle”. It is calling on political leaders for long-term commitment to:

  • reducing the national suicide rate
  • improving the physical health of people with a mental illness
  • increasing employment rates for people experiencing mental illness and their carers
  • increasing mental health consumer and carer participation and choice in national policy design and implementation
  • maintaining current overall levels of investment in mental health, with measures that support full reinvestment of cost efficiencies and savings.

Mental Health Australia will produce a ‘report card’ to be released prior to the election, outlining the major parties’ response on these issues.

Meanwhile, just a few days after the conference ended, one of its speakers, Professor Jane Burns, CEO of the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, joined other mental health leaders in releasing details on suicide across 28 Federal electorates, calling on party leaders and candidates to spell out what they intend to do to address the rising toll of suicide and self-harm across Australia.

NDIS concerns

The mental health sector has welcomed the NDIS, saying a well funded and well run scheme will meet many needs.

But the numbers provide the context for some of the concerns raised at the conference: it is estimated that each year in Australia, there are around 600,000 people who experience severe mental illness, and 300,000 who experience severe mental illness with “complex inter-agency needs”.

By comparison, there are around 60,000 places in the NDIS for people with mental health issues.

VICSERV CEO Kim Koop said the conference message was: “The NDIS is a welcome addition to a contemporary mental health system but is not sufficient replacement for the current offering.”

She said Victorian community managed mental health services were “desperate for more information” about the NDIS.

But the State Government has an equal role to play, she said, pointing out that the bilateral agreement makes clear that the introduction of the NDIS is a shared responsibility between the States and the Commonwealth. “Both need to step up and provide information,” she said.

VICSERV has played a lead role in documenting the Victorian trial of the NDIS in the Barwon area, but is waiting to hear back on how its concerns will be addressed.

Koop said:

The NDIS is not a bad thing (for mental health).

The trouble is that the funding for the existing services is being transferred to the NDIS and that it is still very uncertain if the NDIS will offer a similar range of services.

At the moment it’s just really unclear. We’re waiting to hear from the NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency) around the review of supports for people with mental illness but until that comes out, we just don’t know what kind of supports, what price they will be at, what workforce (levels) there will be required.”

Delegates at one conference session peppered a panel that included senior managers in the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) about many details of the NDIS’s likely operation.

A delegate told the panel it had been great to have different trials conducted across Australia over the past three years but their different reports on different experiences have created “confusion and misinterpretation…trying to compare apples with oranges”.

Others expressed continuing concern about how people with episodic mental health issues would be included in a Scheme designed around permanent disability.

On markets and mental health

The session followed a keynote by UK philosopher Dr Simon Duffy raising issues such as citizenship and the need to focus on community rather than institutional and organisational interests. By contrast, the language of the NDIS discussions was all around markets, market failures, entrants and competition.

In an aside to me, one delegate questioned whether there is a “market” in people with mental illness.

Asked at another session whether there really was a “fair dinkum market’” for organisations to start competing in, National Mental Health Commissioner Rob Knowles said there wasn’t yet.

But he warned that one would develop as it has in other countries, and he was not sure people in the sector understood the significance of the changes that will occur.

When the UK went down this road, about 80 per cent of existing services were provided by not for profit organisations, the remainder by private providers. That was soon reversed, he said.

A mistake many not-for-profits made was to think “people stick with us”. Knowles said: “People are much more fickle than that. I think there are significant challenges for those operating in this: how they make themselves be a service provider of choice”.

What will PHNs offer mental health?

Another panel session focused on the news, announced last year, that funds will be reallocated from Canberra to primary health networks (PHNs) to commission — but not deliver — mental health services.

Again, the sector has welcomed the move, particularly as a bridge between States and Commonwealth, but with concerns about how it all might work in practice.

Quinlan gaps

The aim of the PHNs, to make sure they get local services on the ground where they are needed, was very welcome, Quinlan said. The concern is how to maintain national standards.

He said: “For example with eating disorders and suicide prevention, you can quickly see you wouldn’t want 31 PHNs across the country all inventing their own way of doing things. Addressing how we tackle some national issues while ensuring local suitability is a big challenge.”

The PHN session involved panelists Jason Trethowan – Chief Executive, Western Victoria PHN, Lyn Morgain – Chief Executive, cohealth, and Christopher Carter – Chief Executive, North Western Melbourne PHN. They outlined what PHNs would cover, and what they wouldn’t.

The questions they sought to answer in their session demonstrated the issues of concern for many of the delegates there:

  • How will planning be undertaken that ensures the range of demographic, clinical, aged related, cultural, socio-economic and comorbidity of people is properly planned for?
  • How will the flexible funding pool work – be prioritised – is it flexible for service models of care?
  • How will PHNs work with the State system, and with each other to ensure continuity – especially given the transient nature of some consumers?
  • What does this mean for existing youth primary mental health services? Youth with severe mental health?
  • How will we ensure that services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people recognise the social determinants of health and cultural safety?
  • What are the potential approaches to reduce fragmentation (suicide prevention)?
  • What are the commissioning challenges and opportunities for rural communities?
  • There will likely be a gap with the move of specialist recovery based community mental health support services to the NDIS. Will PHN’s be able to fund recovery based CMH or will as suggested PHNs be limited to commissioning only “clinical primary MH” as has been suggested in some of the guidance documents?

PHNs not in scope

PHN perspectives

Croakey later asked panellist Chris Carter for his reflections on the session.

Q: What were the main messages you wanted to get across during the session on the role of PHNs within the context of national mental health reforms?

That the role of PHNs is developing – in the first phase this will be about development of a stepped care model that reflects regional needs, and is focussed around safe, quality mental health care.  There will be a number of stages and phases in the evolution of an integrated system given the high level of fragmentation in the healthcare system.

Q: What key concerns emerged from the session? What’s your response to them?

Not really concerns, but a genuine desire to participate in the conversation about reform – how PHNs will take into account the diversity of populations, families and individuals when considering future planning and investments in the mental health system.

Q: The Federal Opposition said recently: “The PHNs, as the critical commissioners under the new reform agenda, are stuck in an unenviable position, wedged between the enormous pressure to deliver the reforms with unreasonable demands and an information vacuum from the Department of Health and at the same time trying to manage an increasingly agitated mental health sector hungry for information and advice.” What’s your response to that?

Our role as PHNs is to help facilitate as much information sharing and participation in planning processes as is possible.  Some of the tension lies between acute and primary systems, as well as State and Commonwealth systems.  At a regional level, our job is to bring local intelligence / evidence and wisdom to try and meet the needs of consumers / citizens, whilst bringing along the sector – which we acknowledge is reform / change fatigued in Victoria.

Q: What do you want to see promised for mental health in the federal election? Has the campaign put major work on hold? What certainty is needed now?

I support Mental Health Australia’s call for a long-term strategy for mental health – and would add that we need to integrate State and Commonwealth responses at a regional level in order to target diverse populations and diverse needs.  The election campaign has not put our work on hold – we are on track to implement continuing and new arrangements ready for July 1 and beyond in partnership with stakeholders.

Some Twitter observations

PHNs twitterPHNs twitter2

Control, not choice

Another big theme at the conference was given a sharp focus by keynote speaker Simon Duffy – that the idea of ‘choice’ is not enough for people with disabilty.

Rather, he said, control is what’s vital. (See also Duffy’s views about the NDIS in this earlier Croakey story and in this interview on Radio National’s Life Matters).

In a similar vein, RMIT Associate Professor Paul Ramcharan told delegates about the It’s My Choice toolkit (DVD, discussion guide and booklets) developed with Inclusion Melbourne, a day service that supports people with intellectual disability. The project sought to inform people with disabilities, family, friends and others as well as service personnel about how to explore choices within complex lives and relationships. .

Ramcharan later told Croakey:

“Of the nine principles of choice (identified), one in particular challenges us to rethink the notion of choice. In this principle,  the important question is not whether people with disability have choice – given that no one really has a total choice in what happens in their lives and that choices are made within a complex of relationships, services and environments. The question should be whether the limitations placed on their choices are reasonable or not.

Organisations delivering services should be looking at discrimination and community norms and other barriers that get in the way of people expressing their choices not just about mundane matters like what to eat and wear (though important) but pervasive areas relating to health, education, work, family and intimacy.

Choice of services alone does not equate to personal choice. It’s the journey of life that counts, not formal academic indicators, but the rich fabric that enriches our lives day to day.”

(Note: this quote above was added to the original published story to give more context about the project).

See his slide below.

PRINCIPLE6
Conference perspectives

Quinlan view from front

Quinlan twitter

• Marie McInerney is covering the #TowardsRecovery conference for the Croakey Conference News Service. Bookmark this link to track the coverage.

NNEWS

Send your Aboriginal Health issue message to Canberra for

#HealthElection16 37 days to go

Advertising and editorial is invited from

All political parties

NACCHO 150 Members and Affiliates

Stakeholders/ Aboriginal organisations

Peak Health bodies

Closing 17 June for publishing election week 29 June

Contact for Advertising rate cards/bookings/editorial

Contact Tel 0401 331 251

Opportunity to support a special edition #HealthElection16 NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper PUBLISH DATE June 29

NNEWS


 

    Opportunity to send your Aboriginal Health issue message to Canberra for

ChklggxU4AA8zLA

#HealthElection16

Advertising and editorial is invited from

  • All political parties
  • NACCHO 150 Members and Affiliates
  • Stakeholders/ Aboriginal organisations
  • Peak Health bodies

Closing 17 June for publishing election week 29 June

KME623p037-naccho-V2-247x350

DOWNLOAD THE A PDF COPY 24 Pages

Response to our NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper from our members, community, stakeholders and Government  has been nothing short of sensational over the past 3 years , with feedback from around the country suggesting we really kicked a few positive goals for Aboriginal health.

NACCHO is the national peak body for Aboriginal health. It is entrusted to represent the needs and interests of Aboriginal health on behalf of its members in the national arena.

NACCHO has and continues to be a living embodiment of the aspirations of Aboriginal people

10 good reasons to advertise in the NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper :

  1. Highly targeted health sector from CEO’s to all staff audience
  2. Quality production and guaranteed national distribution in partnership with the award-winning Koori Mail 14,000 printed copies
  3. Spend any surplus dollars before the end of the financial year
  4. Article space offered with ad bookings
  5. Newspaper also distributed at NACCHO events and workshops
  6. 1500 copies posted to the CEO’s of Australia’s top Aboriginal health organisations and NGO’s and Government departments
  7. Thank you ‘burst’ through NACCHO’s social media network naming all advertisers
  8. Over 100,000 audited readers
  9. Targeted at Aboriginal consumer / clients
  10. Support NACCHO vision to Close the Gap

Our media partner Koori Mail Turns 25 this week

The Koori Mail is an Australian media institution, 100% owned and controlled by Aboriginal people. The fortnightly newspaper circulates all states and covers the issues that matter the most to black Australians. 25 years since its first print, the Indigenous paper is still breaking ground for Indigenous journalism.

hero_image

NOW ALSO AVAILABLE

koori-mail-download

Editorial Proposals  10 June 2016
Final Ads artwork 17 June 2016
Publication date 29 June 2016

Editorial Opportunities

New Microsoft Word Document (2)

We are now looking to all our members, programs and sector stakeholders for advertising, compelling articles, eye-catching images and commentary for inclusion in our next edition.

Maximum 600 words (word file only) with image

Please Note: All submitted advertising and editorial content is subject to space availability and review by the NACCHO Newspaper editorial committee

Advertising opportunities

NEW VERSION A3poster_Aboriginal_2_nocropsExample full Page Ad April and June edition

This 24-page newspaper is produced and distributed as an insert in the Koori Mail, circulating 14,000 full-colour print copies nationally via newsagents and subscriptions.

Our audited readership (Audit Bureau of Circulations) is 100,000 readers!

Our target audience also includes over 1,500 NACCHO member and affiliate health organisations, relevant government departments, subsidiary indigenous health services and suppliers, as well as the end-users of Australian Indigenous health services nationally.

Your advertising support means we can build this newspaper to a cost-neutral endeavour, thereby guaranteeing its future.

Rate Card

Note: the earlier you book your ad or submit an article for consideration, the better placement we can offer in the printed newspaper. All prices are GST inclusive. Discounts are available to not-for-profits, NACCHO member organisations and industry stakeholders. All prices include artwork if required.

LEVEL Column x cm FULL PAGE
380x260mm
HALF PAGE
190x260mm
¼ PAGE
190x128mm
1/8 PAGE
95x128mm
 
Public $19.80 $5,266.80 $2,633.40 $1,316.70 $658.35
Member $11.00 $2,926.00 $1,463.00 $731.50 $365.75
Stakeholder $15.40 $4,096.40 $2,048.20 $1,024.10 $512.05

Download Rate Card

For further information contact:

Colin Cowell – 0401 331 251
Communications and Marketing Consultant

Email nacchonews@naccho.org.au

Download the April 6th Edition of the NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper – click here!

Share this Page

NACCHO Aboriginal #HealthElection16 #alcpoll2016 : Annual alcohol report 2016: Attitudes and behaviours

 

ALCPOLL-2016-SOCIAL-18

““In Australia, alcohol is responsible for 15 deaths and 430 hospitalisations every day. The poll tells us that almost three in ten Australians have been affected by alcohol-related violence I think it is very clear that we still have a long way to go with changing Australia’s toxic relationship with alcohol that causes more harm than good.

Each year the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education’s (FARE) national alcohol poll provides valuable trend data and insights into community perspectives on alcohol. Amy Ferguson unpacks the 2017 poll findings, examining what we drink and what we think about alcohol; our awareness of alcohol’s harm, our concerns about the problem, and our support for a range of policy solutions.”

FARE Chief Executive Michael Thorn

DOWNLOAD THE FARE REPORT

FARE-ANNUAL-ALCOHOL-POLL-2016-REPORT-FINAL

VIEW all Videos


Great expectations: alcohol leaves Aussies disappointed and disillusioned

There’s a big difference between how Australians expect to feel when drinking alcohol and the reality of how they actually feel after their last drinking episode, with the nation’s most comprehensive annual alcohol poll finding there’s less upside and more downside than drinkers imagine.

Now in its seventh year, the Annual alcohol poll 2016: Attitudes and behaviours found the majority of those who drink to get drunk expect to feel happy (56 per cent), and relaxed (54 per cent), with 31 per cent of drinkers expecting to feel a sense of social belonging.

Yet in reality drinkers’ expectations fell well short; with only 28 per cent of drinkers feeling happy after downing alcohol, 31 per cent feeling relaxed and just 15 per cent achieving that sense of belonging.

And when it comes to negative impacts, the difference between expectation and reality is just as pronounced; with 29 per cent of drinkers reporting feeling tired after the last time they were drunk, despite only 13 per cent expecting to feel drowsy. Similarly, 17 per cent were sick (although only five per cent anticipated this), seven per cent felt unattractive (in contrast to four per cent) and 13 per cent felt regret (where only six per cent had predicted that outcome).

Each year the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education’s (FARE) national alcohol poll provides valuable trend data and insights into community perspectives on alcohol.

In 2016, it found that alcohol is consumed by 78 per cent of Australian adults, with bottled wine continuing to be the beverage of choice (preferred by 33 per cent), ahead of regular strength beer (19 per cent) and spirits (16 per cent). However, not all these people are responsible moderate drinkers, with 37 per cent of Australians admitting they drink alcohol with the specific intent to get drunk.

Conducted by Galaxy Research, the 2016 poll also once again highlighted the nation’s concerns about alcohol; with almost eight in ten Australians indicating that our country has a problem with excess drinking or alcohol abuse (78 per cent), and the majority calling for more to be done to reduce the harm that alcohol causes (78 per cent).

Awareness of the issue and a concern for the level of alcohol use and misuse in the community is reflected in Australians’ support for evidence-based policy measures that would reduce alcohol harms.

More than eight in ten Australians (82 per cent) support measures that would see pubs, clubs and bars close at 3am or earlier, 70 per cent of Australians support a ban on alcohol advertising on television before 8:30pm, and for the first time in the history of the poll, more than half of those surveyed (51 per cent) support increasing the tax on alcohol in order to pay for alcohol-related treatment and prevention initiatives.

FARE Chief Executive Michael Thorn says the alcohol industry is fast finding itself out of step with community attitudes wanting change to Australia’s unhealthy relationship with booze and are ready and willing to embrace the measures which would reduce the harms.

He believes FARE’s Annual alcohol poll contains an important message for policymakers and political leaders, both for jurisdictions that have already embraced effective and evidence-based measures to reduce alcohol harms as well as those states and territories still considering how best to deal with the problem.

“This is the nation’s most comprehensive poll to examine Australians’ attitudes towards alcohol and their drinking behaviours. Each year it consistently delivers three very clear messages: that Australians recognise we have a problem with alcohol in this country, that a clear majority support the evidence-based solutions which will reduce the harms, and that they want governments to embrace meaningful reform,” Mr Thorn said.

2016 was the first year that the poll examines the differences between how Australians presume they’ll feel when consuming alcohol and the reality of how they actually feel, with the findings suggesting that for most drinkers those expectations are not being met.

FARE Director of Policy and Research Caterina Giorgi says while alcohol industry advertising might try hard to suggest that Australians will find happiness, popularity and attractiveness in every bottle, the reality for most Australians is very different.

“When we look at the poll we see that Aussies who drink to get drunk expect to feel happy and relaxed, and tend to downplay the chances of feeling tired, sick or unattractive. They tend to buy into the alcohol industry advertising spin. The reality is very different, with drinkers far more likely to have experienced negative consequences, and far less likely to have felt happy or relaxed,” Ms Giorgi said.

In addition to the emotional toll, Australians are engaging in a range of negative behaviours after knocking a few back; with reports of vomiting (40 per cent), driving a car (19 per cent), and having an argument (19 per cent) under the influence.

A further 29 per cent have been affected by alcohol-related violence, six in every ten Australians regard the city centre to be unsafe on a Saturday night, and 23 per cent of parents say their children have been harmed or put at risk because of someone else’s drinking.

Mr Thorn says the poll provides an important but troubling insight into the extent of alcohol harms in Australia.

“In Australia, alcohol is responsible for 15 deaths and 430 hospitalisations every day. The poll tells us that almost three in ten Australians have been affected by alcohol-related violence I think it is very clear that we still have a long way to go with changing Australia’s toxic relationship with alcohol that causes more harm than good,” Mr Thorn said.

NNEWS

Send your Aboriginal Health issue message to Canberra for

#HealthElection16

Advertising and editorial is invited from

All political parties

NACCHO 150 Members and Affiliates

Stakeholders/ Aboriginal organisations

Peak Health bodies

Closing 17 June for publishing election week 29 June

Contact for Advertising rate cards/bookings/editorial

NACCHO Women’s Health News Alert : Aboriginal women’s lives really do matter

FVPLS

“Lynette was battered, bruised and ultimately destroyed by men’s violence. It was ended by the most obscene disregard for her humanity. The system did not protect her and justice has not been done.

What does it say about us as a nation that it requires an investigative journalist to bring this extreme injustice into the national spotlight before we can expect anything close to an appropriate response?

Tragically, the abuse and violence inflicted on Lynette is not an isolated case. Aboriginal women are at the epicentre of the national family violence crisis.”

Antoinette Braybrook is a Kuku Yalanji woman, the convenor of the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum and CEO of the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention & Legal Services Victoria.

Photo above : File image

It shouldn’t require Four Corners to expose the failure of our justice system in dealing with domestic violence towards Aboriginal women. There needs to be urgent investment to tackle this epidemic, writes Antoinette Braybrook in THE DRUM

Australians watching were confronted this week by a tragic reality for too many Aboriginal women.

Four Corners recounted – in horrifying detail – the brutal killing of an Aboriginal woman, the failure of our justice system to respond, and the failure of our community to care.

Lynette was battered, bruised and ultimately destroyed by men’s violence. It was ended by the most obscene disregard for her humanity. The system did not protect her and justice has not been done.

What does it say about us as a nation that it requires an investigative journalist to bring this extreme injustice into the national spotlight before we can expect anything close to an appropriate response?

Tragically, the abuse and violence inflicted on Lynette is not an isolated case. Aboriginal women are at the epicentre of the national family violence crisis.

This reality sadly doesn’t cut through into the national conversation. Stories like Lynette’s are rarely told and justice is a scarcer commodity. The violence perpetrated against Aboriginal women is routinely ignored and our communities’ silence stifles the kind of urgent action that is required.

To protect women like Lynette, our justice system needs to heed the evidence at hand and we need urgent investment in the services for the safety of Aboriginal women – including Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS), women’s refugees and housing, counselling and health services.

Instead, like so many frontline services, FVPLSs are not funded to support all the women relying on our service for their safety. This year’s budget includes just a fraction of the funding needed for family violence services across the board – and is expected to leave thousands of Aboriginal women without access to this vital service.

Violence against Aboriginal women and their children is at epidemic levels. If you are an Aboriginal women you are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised and 10 times more likely to be killed by someone who purports to love you.

It is important to note that as with Lynette, the Aboriginal women we work with are hurt by men from many different cultures and backgrounds. Talking about violence against our women is not about pointing the finger at Aboriginal men. This is about addressing men’s violence against women and the system that is failing the women it should be working hardest to support.

By 2021-22 violence against Aboriginal women is estimated to cost the nation an extraordinary $2.2 billion a year. Its moral cost – which sees lives lost and communities destroyed – is unquantifiable.

We must start listening to the voices of Aboriginal women and take strong action to ensure the lives lost and destroyed are not confined to a mere statistical footnote.

Despite these disproportionate statistics, violence against Aboriginal women rarely makes the nation’s media. Two recent cases have also broken this silence and highlighted the failure of the justice system to protect vulnerable women.

Take the case of Ms Dhu, a victim of violence, who at 22 died whilst in police custody for unpaid fines. Or that of Andrea Pickett, who at 39 died at the hands of her husband in front of her young children after police failed to uphold restraining orders.

Sadly, unlike the reporting, these deaths are not isolated. What does it say that these injustices rarely penetrate the national psyche? Can it really be that Aboriginal women’s lives don’t matter?

FVPLSs respond to this crisis by providing essential services for safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims/survivors of family violence. Our wrap around legal and support services would not reach those most in need, or at risk of violence, without our early intervention prevention programs to break the vicious cycle of violence.

Women who come to us do so after being subjected to abuse and violence for many years. Our specialist, culturally safe services ensures women can access the support they need knowing they will not be judged, knowing that we will fight hard for them and their kids in a system that has a history of forced child removal and systematically failing our community. They know that we will use their experiences, without compromising their confidentiality, to call for systemic change.

To address this national crisis we need strong national leadership and huge political will. So far political rhetoric has not been matched with funding commitments needed. And we need to set targets to reduce violence against our women.

To end the unacceptable impact of violence against Aboriginal women, like Lynette, Ms Dhu and Andrea Pickett and the many others we don’t hear about, we need all parties to back up words with investment in services for safety. This includes investment in FVPLSs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services and community legal centres.

As a nation we must draw a line in the sand. We must start listening to the voices of Aboriginal women and take strong action to ensure the lives lost and destroyed are not confined to a mere statistical footnote – out of sight, out of mind.

The NSW Attorney General has asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to review Lynette’s case. This is the least that should happen. Lynette deserves better. All Aboriginal women deserve better because Aboriginal women’s lives really do matter.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 7321800 737 732 FREE or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

Learn more about the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention legal Services across Australia.

Antoinette Braybrook is a Kuku Yalanji woman, the convenor of the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum and CEO of the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention & Legal Services Victoria. Follow Antoinette on Twitter @BraybrookA and the National FVPLS Forum

 

NACCHO #healthelection16 : Vulnerable Aboriginal communities must lead their own recovery

Tom 2

“In fact, to those calling for another stolen generation – well, we already have one. Thousands of our children are today involved in child protection services; at a rate eight times higher than non-Indigenous children.

And despite the care and commitment of services and those involved in fostering, there are risks for all children, black or white, involved. This includes “broken placements” and institutionalisation, and increased rates of mental health issues, contact with the criminal justice system, substance use and abuse, and homelessness later in life.

For our children in particular, risks associated with compromising strong Aboriginal identity-formation and the breaking of cultural transmission are well-documented.”

Dr Tom Calma AO and Professor Pat Dudgeon

As originally published in the NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper April

Download 24 Pages or rate card here

The recent terrible news that a 10-year-old Aboriginal girl had taken her own life shook many Australians. Yet there would be few Aboriginal families who have not already been affected by the suicide or attempted suicide of their young people. This includes our own extended families and kin.

Our families have suffered the losses of a loved 14-year-old girl and two equally loved young men who were employed and content. All tragic and unexplained losses that have left those grieving feeling hollow and bewildered.

The deaths by suicide of our young people then are not isolated events. The latest statistics show that our 15- 24 year olds are dying by suicide at four times the non-Indigenous rate; and our 1 – 14 year olds at nine times the non-Indigenous rate.

Colonisation still impacts upon us. Our young people and children are not immune from the “deep and persistent disadvantage”, or poverty and social exclusion, that the Productivity Commission reports still characterises about one in 10 Indigenous Australians.

What this means is stressful life events impact on our mental health – be they violence, racism, long term unemployment or poor health. High levels of psychological distress are reported in over one in four of us three times higher than the non-Indigenous rate. Another contributing factor is the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol. Ice is just the latest community and family-destroying scourge.

Trauma, including intergenerational trauma, is also a major issue particularly (but not only) for stolen generations survivors and their descendants. This group report higher rates of mental illness and alcohol and other drug problems than Aboriginal people who weren’t removed from their families, communities and cultures.

This belies the knee jerk response of removing children from families in crisis, rather than working with their families. While removal is necessary in extreme cases, it should always be seen as a last resort. We need to break the intergenerational cycles of despair and dysfunction, not accelerate them.

And removing a child can also exacerbate existing factors, or itself be a suicide risk, and as was reported in the case of the girl who died last week.

What we have then is a concentration of suicide risk factors in many of our communities, with our children and young people in the front line. Yet for some, the response is to close these communities down: put them in the “too hard” basket. But this is lazy policy that will cause as much harm as it might prevent.

So we are all asking: what can be done?

More forced social engineering is not the answer

Aboriginal people have already experienced the trauma of communities being closed down. Historically, peoples with different cultures and languages were forced to live together under the control of missionaries and governments. This is one of the roots of the crises in many communities today.

And where will the people from the closed down communities go? Is it better that they end up homeless in towns that shun them, and live in camps where violence, sexual abuse and alcohol and drug use are just as problematic?

More forced social engineering is the last thing the members of these communities need. People advocating community closures need to ask themselves: what will be the effects be of removing them from sustaining and well being-supporting contact with kin, culture and country? Yes, there are challenges in many communities, but let’s also acknowledge that there are cultural and other strengths that can be built on, and that could be lost in closures.

Stop seeing Indigenous communities as a drain on the public purse

And instead of responding after the event to crisis after crisis, let’s be proactive and preventative in our focus. Let’s think about investing in these communities, rather than seeing them as a drain on the public purse.

In particular, where are the services, including mental health and drug and alcohol services, to meet the needs of these communities? As the National Mental Health Commission reported in its 2015 review, despite much good work in recent decades, on a needs basis there are still significant mental health and other service gaps. This includes services to support our families and communities in crisis situations, and to support them before they get into such situations.

The National Mental Health Commission recommended to Government that there was a Closing the Gap target for improved Indigenous mental health, and a national target to reduce suicide by 50% in a decade – including a 50% reduction in suicide among Indigenous Australians. Further, that an Indigenous mental health action plan be developed. However, there has been no take-up at this time.

Vulnerable communities must lead their own recovery

There are alternative ways to respond to child suicide in our communities without removing children from families or closing communities down, but it requires resources and placing communities in the driver’s seat.

Most broadly, “upstream” activity to mitigate the impact of disadvantage and the associated suicide risk factors is required. Here vulnerable communities must take the lead in identifying their needs and priorities, be it addressing community safety, unemployment or alcohol and drug use. And yes, it might include whole-of-community responses to preventing child sexual abuse.

Developmental factors and culturally-informed norms are crucial

It might also include building on protective culturally-informed norms (including familial norms) and other cultural reclamation work that has been shown to be protective against youth suicide in indigenous Canadian communities, and that we believe has an important role to play here.

In particular, addressing the developmental factors that can pre-dispose our children and young people to suicide is critical. Protecting them from sexual abuse is important, but sexual abuse is not the only cause of suicide among our children and young people. Among some, impulsiveness and overwrought responses to the end of a relationship have been reported as being enough to lead to suicide.

In fact, a comprehensive response might include addressing healthy cognitive development from conception onwards, providing age and culturally appropriate school programs about relationship issues and how to handle break-ups, and promoting cannabis and other drug use reduction. It should involve strategies to reduce the contact of our young people with the criminal justice system including by addressing boredom and increasing employment opportunities.

Communities themselves are also best placed to develop situational analyses to support more focused universal suicide prevention activity, including by identifying specifically suicidal behaviours and suicide risk factors among their members – and appropriate responses.

Access to the same support as all Australians at risk

Our communities must also have access to the same high quality clinical standards, treatments and support available to all Australians at risk of suicide. Critical in this is access to culturally safe mental health service environments, and culturally competent staff (who are able to work effectively, cross-culturally with us).

We should also have access to cultural healers as needed. Effective transitions from community-based primary mental health settings to specialist treatment and then back again to community primary mental health care settings are also important.

After a suicide, postvention is critical

Because many of our communities are small and close knit, a death by suicide can have a significant destabilising impact and may influence other community members to attempt suicide or self harm. As such, when culturally appropriate and with social support as required, postvention is an important suicide prevention measure in our communities. Programs that respond to suicide, such as the one currently piloted in WA by the Australian Government, are a welcome example of this.

And with many responsibilities for suicide prevention being devolved to the primary health networks, it is critical that these bodies partner with our communities in suicide prevention activity. This is particularly so in relation to the implementation of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy against which $17.8m has been pledged by the Australian government, and that has been entrusted to them.

Sustainable outcomes in the longer term require empowering and meaningfully engaging with Indigenous families and communities including those in crisis situations.

But this is best done long before they reach the terrible point of losing yet another child to suicide.

If you need help call Lifeline on 131114

Conference info

Registration and accommodation bookings are available at http://www.atsispep.sis.uwa.edu.au/natsispc-2016 

Please contact Chrissie Easton at chrissie.easton@uwa.edu.au if you need assistance to complete the application

Conference

 

NACCHO #FASD News alert: Northern Territory urged to act on foetal alcohol spectrum disorder

13. New

“High rates of alcohol consumption have been reported in both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population. Aboriginal women are more likely than non-Aboriginal women to consume alcohol in pregnancy at harmful levels. Australian research indicates that maternal alcohol use is a significant risk factor for stillbirths, infant mortality and intellectual disability in children, particularly in the Aboriginal population.”

FROM NACCHO NEWSPAPER APRIL 2016 DOWNLOAD 24 Pages PDF

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term used for a spectrum of conditions caused by fetal alcohol exposure. Each condition and its diagnosis is based on the presentation of characteristic features which are unique to the individual and may be physical, developmental and/or neurobehavioral.

Health professionals asking and advising all women of child bearing age about the consequences of alcohol consumption in pregnancy is an essential strategy in preventing FASD.

Based on this evidence, NACCHO in partnership with Menzies School of Health Research and the Telethon Kids Institute have developed and implemented a flexible, modular package of FASD Prevention and Health Promotion Resources (FPHPR) to reduce the impacts of FASD on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. The package has been designed for the 85 New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services (NDMBS) across the country which are made up of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHO’s), State and Territory Government bodies and Primary Health Networks (PHN’s).

SEE FULL STORY HERE

Northern Territory urged to act on foetal alcohol spectrum disorder

“Fourteen months after a report into the condition’s effects, the government is yet to implement a single recommendation”

Our thanks to in Darwin for allowing us to publish her Guardian Article

The Northern Territory government is yet to implement a single recommendation from a report into the effects of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, 14 months after it was handed down.

A conference on the health of rural children this week heard from Caterina Giorgi, director of policy and research at the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, who called on the government to explain its inaction and address the recommendations.

FASD is an umbrella term for a range of permanent behavioural, learning and developmental disabilities resulting from exposure to alcohol in utero. There is no national data on prevalence but studies have found higher rates among Indigenous Australians, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The select committee’s report made 26 recommendations including “alcohol management and support services, sexual health, pregnancy support, early childhood support and education services, and FASD diagnostic and support services”.

“However, the greatest gains are to be obtained through prevention, and key to prevention is alcohol management and restriction of supply.”

Giorgi, who addressed the Country Kids conference in Alice Springs on Monday, said the NT government’s implementation of policies and programs had been unacceptably slow, or non-existent.

“Many Australian states and territories have taken action to prevent, manage and diagnose FASD over the last five years and there is an increased awareness of the need to take a whole-of-community approach to FASD,” Giorgi said.

“But the NT government is dragging its feet in responding to the FASD inquiry report and is fixated on punitive approaches that ignore the evidence.”

The alcohol policy has been criticised as unfairly targeting Indigenous people  and going against the recommendations of the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody.

In March he told the Guardian he was disappointed the inquiry did not address “the one issue I wanted them to look at” – an idea of “confining pregnant women who are knowingly drinking while they are pregnant”.

Speaking in the context of an Aboriginal woman with FASD, Roseanne Fulton, who had been detained without conviction because she was unfit to stand trial, Elferink acknowledged there was “a massive problem coming down the tube towards governments” with FASD cases.

He predicted an increase in manifestations in the NT. “The reason for that is we now have a society that tells people they’re not responsible for their actions,” he said.

“And they engage in getting free money through a passive welfare system, they sit around in parks and gardens, they drink to their hearts’ content, knowing they’re pregnant, knowing they’re causing a massive problem into the future and they just don’t care.”

In parliament Elferink said the recommendation relating to a diagnostic tool was concerning because he “suspected they may not be able to develop” one, but Giorgi told reporters a diagnostic tool would be finalised and in use among health workers from May this year.

The Labor MLA Gerry McCarthy told Elferink in parliament the committee – of which McCarthy is a member – had given him more a holistic view than simply recommending the law he was looking for.

“The time is now, minister, and time is ticking as it has been for decades,” he said. “It has been your opportunity as a minister for the crown, and the Giles CLP government, to address this.”

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alert :One in five kids in remote communities has FASD -Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

photoFASD

One in five kids in remote communities has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Picture: Croakey

“Children in remote communities are suffering from disabilities caused by their mothers drinking at a rate drama­tically higher than previously report­ed, with one in five affect­ed by fetal alcohol­ spectrum dis­orders, accordi­ng to a new report.

The published rate from the only Australian population study in Western Australia’s Fitzroy Valley­ is one in eight, but that was a conser­vative figure.”

Report in today Australian   SEE 2nd Story BELOW

13. New

“High rates of alcohol consumption have been reported in both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population. Aboriginal women are more likely than non-Aboriginal women to consume alcohol in pregnancy at harmful levels. Australian research indicates that maternal alcohol use is a significant risk factor for stillbirths, infant mortality and intellectual disability in children, particularly in the Aboriginal population.”

Report in this weeks NACCHO Aboriginal Health News DOWNLOAD HERE

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term used for a spectrum of conditions caused by fetal alcohol exposure. Each condition and its diagnosis is based on the presentation of characteristic features which are unique to the individual and may be physical, developmental and/or neurobehavioral.

Health professionals asking and advising all women of child bearing age about the consequences of alcohol consumption in pregnancy is an essential strategy in preventing FASD.

Based on this evidence, NACCHO in partnership with Menzies School of Health Research and the Telethon Kids Institute have developed and implemented a flexible, modular package of FASD Prevention and Health Promotion Resources (FPHPR) to reduce the impacts of FASD on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. The package has been designed for the 85 New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services (NDMBS) across the country which are made up of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHO’s), State and Territory Government bodies and Primary Health Networks (PHN’s).

The package of resources is based on the model developed by the Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service (OVAHS) which includes FASD education modules targeting five key groups:

  • Pregnant women who are using NDMB antenatal services, and their partners and families;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women of childbearing age;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander grandmothers;
  • NDMBS staff; and
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

To compliment the package of resources, 2 day capacity building workshops for NDMBS staff are currently being implemented across the country. The aim of the workshops is to enable health professionals to develop, implement and evaluate community driven strategies to reduce the impact of FASD in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Addressing other health behaviours such as tobacco smoking and other drug use in pregnancy is also covered as part of the training. The interactive workshops focus on a broad range of skill development, ranging from community engagement strategies to one on one brief intervention and motivational interviewing techniques. Participants are also introduced to a range of screening tools to assess drinking alcohol, tobacco smoking and other drug use in pregnancy and how to use them effectively. The importance of data collection, continuous quality improvement (CQI) and monitoring and evaluation is also covered.

FASD

The first workshop was recently held in Darwin with great success. Participants gained valuable knowledge on the issue of FASD and the importance of developing practical, whole of community approaches to prevent it. The project team will now move to Queensland in April to deliver the second workshop followed by other States and Territories across the country.

For further information about the FASD Prevention and Health Promotion Resources Project please contact Bridie Kenna on (02) 6246 9310 or bridie.kenna@naccho.org.au

Mums’ excessive drinking linked to suicides in remote communities

NACCHO Note : this was the Australians headline

Children in remote communities are suffering from disabilities caused by their mothers drinking at a rate drama­tically higher than previously report­ed, with one in five affect­ed by fetal alcohol­ spectrum dis­orders, accordi­ng to a new report.

The published rate from the only Australian population study in Western Australia’s Fitzroy Valley­ is one in eight, but that was a conser­vative figure.”

In a report to the $22 billion ­National Disability Insurance Scheme agency, its authors say the real figure is 20 per cent.

James Fitz­patrick, the lead author­ of that study, says the collection of disorders — character­ised by the loss of decisio­n-making abilities and impuls­e control — are one of the most critical, preventable public health challenges and “absolute­ly” linked to a suicide epidemic that has ravaged far-flung communities.

“Children … in the remote communities in which I work have higher rates of anxiety and ­depression, higher rates of ­suicidal thoughts and a lot of ­people with FASD have drug and alcohol ­dependency problems,” Dr Fitzpatrick told The Australian. “This is the perfect storm for somebody to take their own life. Cognitive impairment of any cause is linked to momentary lapses in impulse control after a seemingly innocuous ­immediate insult. This is preventable, the result­ of social malaise and our destruct­ive relationship with ­alco­hol. It creates lifelong brain damage that then becomes an issue for health, disability servic­es, education, child protection and the criminal justice system.”

FASD is a spectrum of neuro-cognitive disorders caused by exposur­e to alcohol in the womb.

A diagnosis is made when three or more “structural or functional” brain domains — including memory, cognition and learning, ­behaviour, speech and language, and executive functions — are knocked out. For decades, little was known about it and the prevalence in Australia was hidden, a fact that prompted the NDIS agency to ask experts whether the impairmen­t should be considered a disability and whether it ­responded to ­treatment.

The answers, detailed in a ­report handed to the agency late last year but not publicly released, are: yes and yes.

Dr Fitzpatrick said FASD bore a resemblance to autism­, another con­dition with which the NDIS has been grappling, in that if it could be treated early with intensive therapy, severe longer-term problems could be ameliorated or avoided.

The report handed to the NDIS agency says “intensive, individu­alised behavioural treatment to improve cognitive skills” — the best of which cost about $50,000 a year per person — are “likely to be useful in FASD interventi­ons”.

“Some of the hallmarks of FASD are severe attention and behavioural problems, the maj­ority of those with FASD also have a diagnosis of ADHD,” Dr Fitzpatrick said. “The group of skills known as executive functions, they affect the brain’s ability to co-ordinate cognitive functions. Without (these) it is like trying to navigate your way around Melbourne with a map of Sydney.”

As they grow, children with the condition have a greater tendency to get caught up in crime, unable to factor in the consequences of their behaviour.