NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper and #JustJustice Evidence What Works Part 6 : Prevention and Healing needed

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Updated Sunday 27 the November

The #JustJustice book is being launched at Gleebooks in Sydney today by Professor Tom Calma AO, and readers are invited to download the 242-page e-version. see invite below

For news about the launch, follow #JustJustice on Twitter; we also hope to do some live Periscope broadcasts.

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As well, during the week ahead, Summer May Finlay and Dr Megan Williams will be tag-tweeting about #JustJustice from @WePublicHealth.

Croakey warmly thanks all who have contributed to the #JustJustice project, including the authors, tweeters, donors and supporters.

They also thank a number of organisations that have supported our launch, including the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses (CATSINaM), Amnesty International, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Indigenous Allied Health Australia, the Healing Foundation, the Close the Gap secretariat, the Public Health Association of Australia, the Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia, the Australian Science Media Centre, the University of Canberra, Western Sydney University, and Curtin University.

Thanks to journalist Amy McQuire for covering the book on radio at Let’s Talk, and hope other media outlets will also engage with the issues raised in the book.

Statement by Amnesty International

The Federal Government must make good on its promise to listen to, and work with, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including engaging with the solutions put forward in the forthcoming #JustJustice essay collection.

The book includes more than 90 articles on solutions to protect the rights of Australia’s First Peoples. These include pieces by Amnesty’s Indigenous Rights Campaigners Roxanne Moore and Julian Cleary, who offer solutions to the stark overrepresentation of Indigenous children in detention.

‘Lock-em-up’ punitive approach has failed

In the book, Noongar woman Roxanne Moore decries the solitary confinement, teargassing and use of dogs against children in the Don Dale Detention Centre. She lays out how Australia has breached international human rights law by detaining Indigenous children at astronomical rates, and through the harsh treatment and conditions endured by children in detention.

#JustJustice articles by Julian Cleary also condemn the detention centre, and call for funding to be shifted into youth services and programs to keep kids out of detention in the first place. He writes that the ‘lock-em-up’ punitive approach has failed to heal trauma in Indigenous people in detention, and argues that Indigenous kids respond best to Indigenous role models.

He acknowledges the vital work of Indigenous people and organisations around the country – from rapper Briggs in NSW, to the Darwin-based Larrakia Night Patrol and the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service.

Amnesty International research has found that Governments’ best chance to reduce offending and lower Indigenous incarceration rates is to fund prevention and diversion programs led by Indigenous communities. Indigenous-led, therapeutic programs best connect with Indigenous people, helping them to heal their trauma and deal with the life problems that lead to offending in the first place.

Listen, understand

In a statement last week, Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to “genuine partnership” with First Peoples. He stated the Government’s determination “to listen and to understand to ensure we get it right.”

“This #JustJustice collection represents one opportunity for the Federal Government to listen and to understand,” said Roxanne Moore.

“Across the country we’re seeing unacceptable rates of Indigenous children being separated from their families and locked up. At the same time, Indigenous people also experience violence at far higher rates than the non-Indigenous population. This is not just a Northern Territory injustice – it is nationwide and Prime Minister Turnbull must seek national solutions.

“We call on Mr Turnbull to work with all States and Territories in developing a national plan to address the twin issues of high rates of Indigenous incarceration and experience of violence. We hope to see positive outcomes from the COAG meeting next month, where Mr Turnbull has pledged to put Indigenous incarceration on the agenda.”

See the statement here.

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 ” In-prison programs fail to address the disadvantage that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners face, such as addiction, intergenerational and historical traumas, grief and loss. Programs have long waiting lists, and exclude those who spend many months on remand or serve short sentences – as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people often do.

Instead, evidence shows that prison worsens mental health and wellbeing, damages relationships and families, and generates stigma which reduces employment and housing opportunities .

To prevent post-release deaths, diversion from prison to alcohol and drug rehabilitation is recommended, which has proven more cost-effective and beneficial than prison , International evidence also recommends preparing families for the post-prison release phase. ‘

Dying to be free: Where is the focus on the deaths occurring post-prison release? Article 1 Below

Article from Page 17 NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper out Wednesday 16 November , 24 Page lift out Koori Mail : or download

naccho-newspaper-nov-2016 PDF file size 9 MB

 “Readers of this NACCHO communique and newspaper are invited to attend the launch in Sydney on November 27 of #JustJustice, a book profiling solutions to the over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Professor Tom Calma AO, a social justice champion and Chancellor of the University of Canberra, will launch the book, which will also be freely available as an e-book via Croakey.org.

The launch comes amid mounting pressure on federal, state and territory governments to address over-incarceration, which the #JustJustice book makes clear is a public health emergency.

Just Justice Prevention and Healing needed Article 2 and Invite Below

Amid calls for a new federal inquiry into the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to result in concrete actions), a more profound concern has rated barely a mention.

Many people may not realise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to die in the days and weeks after release from prison than they are in custody, according to University of Melbourne researchers

Where non-Indigenous people are more likely be at risk of post-release death from accidental overdose, and preventative opioid substitution therapy is reasonably available to them, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to die from alcohol-related harm preventable health conditions and suicide

The majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prison have been there before, often multiple times. High rates of re-incarceration and post-release death signal that they do not receive enough assistance under current programs and policies.

Jack Bulman, CEO of the well-recognised health promotion charity, Mibbinbah, recently collaborated on the design of health promotion program Be the Best You Can Be which accompanies the film Mad Bastards. He has worked with many men post-prison release and says “many get out of prison with very little support, money, plans, or hope.”

In-prison programs fail to address the disadvantage that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners face, such as addiction, intergenerational and historical traumas, grief and loss. Programs have long waiting lists, and exclude those who spend many months on remand or serve short sentences – as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people often do.

Instead, evidence shows that prison worsens mental health and wellbeing, damages relationships and families, and generates stigma which reduces employment and housing opportunities .

Some European countries, however, have achieved a dramatic reduction in prisoner numbers and harms.

To prevent post-release deaths, diversion from prison to alcohol and drug rehabilitation is recommended, which has proven more cost-effective and beneficial than prison International evidence also recommends preparing families for the post-prison release phase.

Mibbinbah’s work also shows that men’s groups are a low-cost measure for prison-to-community continuity of care, and Elder engagement in prison programs has received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Locally, evaluation of three Returning Home post-prison release pilot programs delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled health organisations found that intensive, coordinated care in the first hours, days, and weeks after release is required, along with strategies to better identify newly-released prisoners in clinical and program settings, to provide them with appropriate care

However, for these improvements to occur, better integration between prisons and community-based services is required.

International human rights instruments assert that people in prison have the right to the same care in prison as they do in the community.

Prisons should be places where public health and criminal justice policies meet, particularly given that the overwhelming majority of people in prisons have addiction and mental health issues.

But because prisoners have no right to Medicare, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prison have reduced access to the types of comprehensive primary healthcare available in the community, including health assessments, care plans and social and emotional wellbeing programs.

Instead, providing such healthcare in prisons comes at an additional cost to community organisations, if it is done at all.

The Public Health Association of Australia and the Australian Medical Association have called on the Australian Government for prisoners to retain their right to Medicare.

Renewed attention to bring about this change will enable continuity of care between prison and the community, which is vital for preventing post-release deaths.

Waiting until after prison is too late.

Further reading: The Change the Record Coalition calls for the Australian Law Reform Commission to develop the terms of reference for its inquiry into over-imprisonment in close consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander bodies.

https://changetherecord.org.au/blog/news/australian-law-reform-commission-inquiry-into-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-imprisonment-must-focus-on-solutions

Just Justice Prevention and Healing needed

Megan Williams writes: Readers of this newspaper are invited to attend the launch in Sydney on November 27 of #JustJustice, a book profiling solutions to the over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Professor Tom Calma AO, a social justice champion and Chancellor of the University of Canberra, will launch the book, which will also be freely available as an e-book via Croakey.org.

The launch comes amid mounting pressure on federal, state and territory governments to address over-incarceration, which the #JustJustice book makes clear is a public health emergency.

The book – which resulted from a crowd-funding campaign – profiles the breadth and depth of work by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations to address incarceration and related issues.

The inaugural Closing the Prison Gap: Cultural Resilience Conference, recently held in northern NSW, also heard about many such initiatives.

Prevention and healing needed

The first conference theme explored prevention and early intervention with Professor Muriel Bamblett, Yorta Yorta woman and CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency discussing Alternatives to Child Removal including leadership, healing and diversionary programs.

The second conference theme focussed on court, prison and post-release programs. Compelling information about the over-representation of people with disabilities in the criminal justice system was provided, including concerns about fitness to stand trial and under-assessment of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Mervyn Eades, Nyoongar man and Eddie Mabo Social Justice Award winner explained the trusting relationships developed with ex-prisoners through the Ngalla Maya program, and their contribution to supporting prisoners in employment post-prison release.

The third conference theme of healing reviewed the work by Gamarada Healing the Life Training, the well-evaluated Kids Caring for Country and Learning our Way Program from Murwillumbah, and web-based resources of the Lateral Peace Project.

Plans for the Mount Tabor Station Healing and Rehabilitation Centre in central Queensland were unveiled by Keelen Mailman, Bidjara woman, author of The Power of Bones and Mother of the Year winner, developed in partnership with Keith Hamburger, ex-Director of the Queensland Corrective Services Commission.

The final conference session focussed on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led solutions to addressing underlying factors for incarceration, which Professor Harry Blagg from the University of WA argued are an extension of colonial dispossession. Chris Lee from the University of Southern Queensland and Gerry Georgatos from the Institute for Social Justice and Human Rights in WA described tangible strategies for improving in-prison and post-release education and training, citing some excellent results from their programs.

NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Tauto Sansbury reflected on his own life journey and how his understanding of the need for a Treaty developed over time. He envisions a Treaty as an opportunity for new relationships and accountabilities in law, which will promote self-determination and reduce incarceration rates.

But the question remains: Why won’t Australian leaders embrace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander solutions to the criminal justice crisis? Perhaps this will be the theme of the 2017 Closing the Prison Gap gathering? The organising committee is looking for contributions for next year’s event and program.

This is an abbreviated version of an article that first appeared at Croakey.org. Dr Megan Williams is a member of the #JustJustice team, a Senior Research Fellow in the Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Research team at Western Sydney University, and a Wiradjuri descendant through her father’s family. Other #JustJustice team members are Summer May Finlay, Marie McInerney, Melissa Sweet and Mitchell Ward

Why won’t Australian leaders embrace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander solutions to the criminal justice crisis?

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #JustJustice – Accessing Justice for Aboriginal People with Disabilities

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“It’s clear we need to change to law to prevent indefinite detention, but we also need to make sure the supports are available on the ground. People with disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice system need to be connected to appropriate support,

 “This is especially the case for young people with disabilities in contact with the criminal justice system. We should be intervening as early as possible in a child’s life to identify and address disabilities, and support their parents to care for their child as much as possible.”

Professor Kerry Arabena, a chief investigator on the project Press Release 1 Below

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 “At the same time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are experiencing high rates of violence, being 34 times more likely to be hospitalised for family violence related assault.

“We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rates, and experience of violence, are strongly linked to social and economic disadvantage and so the inquiry must include a focus on early intervention, prevention and diversion programs”

Change the Record Coalition ( CTR ) Co-Chair Shane Duffy Press Release 2 Below

Laws that are meant to protect persons with disabilities in the criminal justice system can lead to detention without an end date.

This is particularly so for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Disabilities according to researchers at the University of Melbourne and University of New South Wales.

Researchers have collaborated with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency to deal with the support needs of accused persons with mental disabilities.

The Unfitness to Plead and Indefinite Detention of Persons with Cognitive Impairments project is about providing support to people with disabilities in the criminal justice system to prevent their indefinite detention.

The researchers recently gave evidence to a Senate Committee Inquiry into the Indefinite Detention of People with Cognitive Impairment in Darwin last week.

The research team, which includes a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and advocates, have just concluded a six-month trial of supports for accused persons with disabilities when they reach the court system.

Professor Kerry Arabena, a chief investigator on the project, says Indigenous people with disabilities are clearly over-represented in the criminal justice system.

“It’s clear we need to change to law to prevent indefinite detention, but we also need to make sure the supports are available on the ground. People with disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice system need to be connected to appropriate support,” she said.

“This is especially the case for young people with disabilities in contact with the criminal justice system. We should be intervening as early as possible in a child’s life to identify and address disabilities, and support their parents to care for their child as much as possible.

It is a travesty that in 2016 we can have over representation in the criminal justice system because we haven¹t prevented or addressed early health, developmental vulnerabilities or intergenerational trauma in the first 2 years of life.  We do not need prison solutions for health issues.” Professor Arabena said.

In many places, the right support is unavailable. Jody Barney, one of the National Advisory Panel members for the project is a leading Aboriginal Disability consultant. She has assisted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities in the criminal justice system all over Australia.

“The Unfitness to Plead Project tries to make sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities not only have the right communication access and supports but the physical presence of an advocate and interpreter to assist their understanding of the justice system.”

“While the project doesn’t focus on young people, we have identified the unmet needs of the young people with disabilities during the course of the project. The work needs to be extended to include youth and reduce the recidivism of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in detention.” she said.

Another member of the advisory panel, Ms Elizabeth McEntyre, a criminal justice social worker has conducted research with Aboriginal communities in NSW and NT on Aboriginal people with mental and cognitive disabilities in the criminal justice system.

”Better education and information are needed for police, teachers, lawyers, magistrates, health, corrections, disability and community service providers regarding understanding and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and men with cognitive impairment and complex support needs, ” she said.

The researchers call for a suite of reforms to ensure accused persons with disabilities get the support they need to access justice on an equal basis with others.

Mr Lenny Clarke, a First Persons Disability Network representative and one of the project’s advisors says that people with disabilities are often subject to prejudice, discrimination and exclusion.

“Most people don’t understand disability and or don’t feel affected – for them it is a case of  ‘That’s other peoples and families problems.’ “

The project team recommends that it should be mandatory for all sections of Law enforcement agencies and administrators of the judicial system to participate in extensive training and awareness programs on disability.

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Watch live link Here

Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment must focus on solutions

From

Change the Record (CTR) Coalition

A major national inquiry into the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples must focus on identifying tangible solutions that address the underlying causes of imprisonment, says the Change the Record (CTR) Coalition.

In welcoming today’s announcement of an Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) inquiry into the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the coalition of peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, human rights and legal organisations has said it is essential that the inquiry focus on practical measures that invest in and strengthen communities.

CTR Co-Chair Shane Duffy said, “For a long time we have been calling for the Federal Government to take a leadership role on these issues, and so we welcome the Turnbull Government beginning to step up to the plate”.

“This year marks 25 years since the landmark Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC), but our people continue to experience imprisonment and violence at crisis rates.

The new ALRC inquiry offers an important opportunity to shine a comprehensive light on these issues at a national level, and identify tangible actions for all levels of government” said Mr Duffy. At the time the RCIADIC report was handed down Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were seven times more likely to be in prison, now in 2016 that figure has risen to 13 times.

At the same time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are experiencing high rates of violence, being 34 times more likely to be hospitalised for family violence related assault.

“We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rates, and experience of violence, are strongly linked to social and economic disadvantage and so the inquiry must include a focus on early intervention, prevention and diversion programs” said Mr Duffy.

Co-Chair Antoinette Braybrook said, “Whilst the announcement of an ALRC inquiry to examine the factors leading to the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is welcome, it is essential that the inquiry also consider issues relating to the prevention of family violence and reducing barriers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims/survivors of family violence to access quality, holistic, culturally safe legal services and supports.”

“It is also critical that the Terms of Reference for the inquiry are developed in close consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies, and those who are members of Change the Record. To ensure that the inquiry has a meaningful outcome, all levels of Government must commit to implementing the recommendations in full.”

“The Federal Government should also take immediate steps to highlight its commitment to improving justice outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including by setting meaningful national justice targets through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and committing to review the implementation of RCIADIC” said Ms Braybrook.

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1. Call to action to Present
at the 2016 Members Conference closing 8 November
See below or Download here

2.NACCHO Partnership Opportunities

3. NACCHO Interim 3 day Program has been released

4. The dates are fast approaching – so register today
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NACCHO #APSAD @APSADConf Aboriginal Health and #ICE : New Online counselling support service to help ice users

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 “An innovative national online counselling service will help people affected by substance misuse to get the support they need.

The Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, said as part of the Australian Government’s $298.3 million National Ice Action Strategy, Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre will provide an enhanced national online counselling service to support people affected by substance misuse. “

The Counselling Online website is accessible at

http://www.counsellingonline.org.au

on a range of mobile devices including smart phones and tablets.

“This new national service complements the Australian Government’s additional drug and alcohol treatment funding to Primary Health Networks ensuring a range of treatment options are available for people affected by ice or other methamphetamines and their families – no matter where they may be around the country – who want to take that vital first step and reach out to seek help,” Minister Ley said.

“The 2015 National Ice Taskforce Final Report recommended improving access to online interventions, including ice-specific counselling and self-help options, as a priority in delivering treatment and support for users and families.

“There’s also evidence that online interventions are successful in engaging people affected by drug and alcohol misuse including ice, who are less likely to seek help through more conventional face-to-face treatment services.

“More than 60 per cent of those who previously contacted Turning Point’s 24 hour counselling service were making contact for the first time, so the expansion of this service is an important resource in the fight against the scourge of ice.”

Turning Point’s expanded services now include:

  •  a moderated peer forum that provides online communities with support and information for drug and alcohol-related issues, as well as opportunities to discuss strategies for recovery;
  •  self-help modules with tailored guidance for individual needs; and
  •  new tools, such as an SMS subscriber service, which sends supportive messages at critical time periods throughout the week to reduce the risk of relapse.

Minister Ley said the new free service is now available and will provide the community with 24/7 support.

If your preference is to speak to someone by phone, there are 24 hour Alcohol and Drug Information Services (ADIS) in your State:

 

Australian Capital Territory (02) 6207 9977
New South Wales 1800 422 599 (Regional)
(02) 9361 8000 (Metropolitan)
Northern Territory 1800 131 350
Queensland 1800 177 833 (Regional)
(07) 3837 5989 (Metropolitan)
South Australia 1300 131 340
Tasmania 1800 811 994
Victoria 1800 888 236 (DirectLine)
Western Australia 1800 198 024 (Regional)
(08) 9442 5000 (Metropolitan)

Our Service

Operated by Turning Point in Victoria and funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health, Counselling Online provides assistance to Australian residents concerned about alcohol & other drugs.

Our primary service is online text-based counselling for people concerned about their own drinking or drug use. The service is equally available to people concerned about a family member, relative or friend.

Our service also provides:

  • support by email
  • tools such as self-assessments and self-help modules
  • an SMS service to keep you focused and on track
  • an online community forum to connect you with peers for support.

Counselling Online services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Our Story

Counselling Online has been in operation since 2006 providing an online method for people affected by alcohol & other drugs to seek help.

We understand that the stigma associated with alcohol and drug use can make it difficult for individuals to reach out for help.  We provide a safe, anonymous and confidential space for people to disclose their problems and receive information and options about next steps.  We aim for this interaction to be positive and judgement free so that the next step can feel far less daunting and achievable.

We aim to provide service for people at all stages of help seeking:

  • for first time help seekers
  • for people waiting for treatment
  • people in treatment that require additional support, particularly after hours
  • people who have completed treatment and want to stay on track
  • for people in recovery wanting to connect with others or prevent relapse
  • for people supporting a significant other with a drug and alcohol problem.

We understand that recovery from a drug and alcohol issue can be difficult and prone to lapse and relapse. We believe that every moment counts and even the most difficult times can be opportunities to learn, so stay connected and join our community.

Our Counsellors

Counselling Online services are provided by counselling staff with professional qualifications and experience in alcohol and drug counselling and treatment. These staff are employed by Turning Point in Victoria.

Our staff have a range of qualifications in health sciences, including Psychology, Social Work, Nursing, Psychiatric Nursing and Welfare Studies. Counselling Online staff also have specialised experience in alcohol and drug treatment delivery. This often includes experience in face-to-face alcohol and drug treatment services in the community.

Counselling Online services are delivered within a harm minimisation framework. Our counselling and support services are provided with reference to current clinical practice standards and guidelines for alcohol and drug service delivery.

Further information on the profile and training of Counselling Online staff is available on request via the feedback form.

 

 

 

NACCHO #APSAD @APSADConf Aboriginal Health and #ICE :New study show #Ice use in rural Australia has more than doubled since 2007

 

An ice pipe in Melbourne, Monday, July 2, 2007. The item was one of 76,00 dangerous products seized last financial year, a record total haul for an Australian state or territory. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING

” The study has raised particular concerns given rural Australians already have poorer health outcomes, with shorter life expectancies and significantly higher mortality rates, mental illness, chronic disease, family and domestic violence and more.

 A complex, variable picture has emerged of methamphetamine use across the country, What is clear is that there has been a disproportionately larger increase in the misuse of methamphetamine, including crystal methamphetamine, in rural locations compared to other Australian locations.

 At the same time, it’s very concerning there has been no increase in the number of people accessing help in rural areas. We need to urgently establish whether existing support services simply don’t have the capacity to deal with demand for drug treatment, or whether there are there significant reasons.

 Contributing factors to rural drug problems include lower educational attainment, low socioeconomic status, higher unemployment, isolation and the deliberate targeting of rural communities by illegal distribution networks.

Professor Ann Roche, Director of the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction at Flinders University.

Read 51 NACCHO Articles about Aboriginal Health and Ice

 

Australians is on the rise have now been confirmed with the first documented evidence released today at the APSAD Scientific Alcohol and Drugs Conference.

The study – the most detailed examination to date – found lifetime and recent methamphetamine and recent crystal methamphetamine (ice) use is significantly higher among rural than other Australians, at rates double or more.

In addition, recent crystal methamphetamine use in rural Australia has more than doubled since 2007 – increasing by 150 per cent from 0.8 per cent to 2.0 per cent of people reporting lifetime and recent use.

“For some time now there have been anecdotal reports suggesting a high and increasing level of methamphetamine use in rural Australia, but this was unsupported by evidence.

Now we have this proof, the next challenge is to understand why and determine how we can best tackle this problem,” said Professor Ann Roche, Director of the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction at Flinders University.

Significantly, more rural men and employed rural Australians use methamphetamine than their city, regional or Australian counterparts, with use most prevalent in men aged 18-25 years.

Recent methamphetamine use in rural teens aged 14-17 years also appears to be much higher than in urban areas.

The study has raised particular concerns given rural Australians already have poorer health outcomes, with shorter life expectancies and significantly higher mortality rates, mental illness, chronic disease, family and domestic violence and more.

“Our findings warrant targeted attention, especially given the pre-existing health and social vulnerabilities of rural Australians. We need tailored strategies and interventions to address this growing health problem,” said Professor Roche.

The research is being presented for the first time at the annual summit of the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD), the APSAD Scientific Alcohol and Drugs Conference, held in Sydney from 30 October to 2 November.

Ice campaign/youth: Did the federal government’s campaign, ‘What are you doing on ice’ really work?

Barriers to treatment: What are the most significant obstacles preventing people seeking treatment for their methamphetamine use? Available upon request

Women/Methamphetamines: A look at the specific treatment barriers faced by women and how to overcome them.

The global burden of methamphetamine disorders: An overview of the proportion of disease burden attributable to substance use disorders and differences in the distribution and burden of amphetamine use disorders between countries, age, sex, and year.

New treatment for methamphetamine addiction: Treatment options for methamphetamine dependence are currently limited, but a drug licensed in Australia for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder could be an important innovation.

Comorbid mental and substance use disorders: The top 10 causes of burden of disease in young Australians (15-24 years) are dominated by mental health and substance use disorders.

OTHER MONDAY HIGHLIGHTS

 Opening by The Hon. (Pru) Prudence Jane Goward, MP NSW Minister for Medical Research, Minister for Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, and Assistant Minister for Health

Cannabis as Medicine in Australia: Where are we now, where are we heading to, where might we end up? Professor Nicholas Lintzeris

Friend or Enemy? Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Gallop, Director, Graduate School of Government, University of Sydney and Former Premier of Western Australia

About APSAD Sydney 2016

The APSAD Scientific Alcohol and Drugs Conference is the southern hemisphere’s largest summit on alcohol and other drugs attracting leading researchers, clinicians, policy makers and community representatives from across the region. The Conference is run by the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD), Asia Pacific’s leading multidisciplinary organisation for professionals involved in the alcohol and other drug field.

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This year’s theme: Strengthening Our Future through Self Determination

As you are aware, the  2016 NACCHO Members’ Meeting and Annual General Meeting will be in Melbourne this year 6-8 December
1. Call to action to Present
at the 2016 Members Conference closing 8 November
See below or Download here

2.NACCHO Partnership Opportunities

3. NACCHO Interim 3 day Program has been released

4. The dates are fast approaching – so register today

An ice pipe in Melbourne, Monday, July 2, 2007. The item was one of 76,00 dangerous products seized last financial year, a record total haul for an Australian state or territory. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News : Woman behind watershed non-sniffable fuel rollout in Central Australia honoured 10 years on

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“The petrol sniffing problem was like a monsoon rain that flowed down and affected everyone

The liquid petrol was just pouring onto our lands and it was pushing people, particularly young people … and so we needed help with that, and that help came in the form of a different kind of liquid, which was Opal fuel.

That was a really triumphant moment and we knew that it would bring good things, and it has.

Everyone has been so happy since then because of the instant reduction in petrol sniffing. ”

Ms Inyika  ( Her other name is ‘never give up’ ) said through a Pitjantjatjara interpreter. She is now terminally ill and wanted to see her legacy recorded. CAYLUS estimated there had been a 94 per cent reduction in the number of sniffers in the region.

It is the 10-year anniversary since the roll out of non-sniffable Opal fuel in Central Australia and the APY lands, and the woman who led the fight against petrol sniffing has reflected on her triumphant campaign directed at the Federal Government in an interview with the ABC

For decades petrol sniffing devastated the beloved Aboriginal communities of fuel campaigner Janet Inyika.

Ms Inyika fought tirelessly to introducer get non-sniffable low aromatic fuel, known as Opal.

Janet Inyika at fuel launch, 2005

In a wheelchair, Janet Inyika wears a yellow carnation – the same type of flower she held during the launch of Opal fuel in Amata in the remote APY Lands of South Australia’s far north in 2005.

Back then she had everyone wearing the yellow flower, the colour of the fuel, as a symbol of change.

“That was a really triumphant moment and we knew that it would bring good things, and it has,” Ms Inyika said.

“Everyone has been so happy since then because of the instant reduction in petrol sniffing.

“They were so proud of me, and people have been coming up to me ever since and thanking me for all the work that I did to get to that point.”

Her other name is ‘never give up’

Janet Inyika, 2008

Current CEO of the NPY Women’s Council, Andrea Mason, said Ms Inyika was the face of council advocacy long before Opal was introduced.

Ms Inyika was also a leader with Aboriginal corporation NPY Women’s Council for many years.

“She actually has another name and her other name is ‘never give up’,” Ms Mason said.

“Her family was being impacted by sniffing. She was seeing people die around her, become brain injured, disabled for life, and she put herself right in the middle of the fire.”

Ms Mason was working on the APY Lands in the 1990s and saw the problem first-hand.

“I look at this community of Central Australia and there is a line drawn in the sand – the life before Opal fuel and the life after Opal fuel, and the important for us living in the life after Opal fuel is we must never forget how devastating petrol sniffing is,” she said.

Tony Abbott changed position to back fuel rollout

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was the health minister when the Federal Government backed the rollout of Opal across bowsers in the region.

Mr Abbott initially said petrol sniffing could be solved by “parents taking petrol away from their kids”.

However, veteran youth worker Tristan Ray said Mr Abbott was ultimately persuaded by voices on the ground.

“I think that it was just so obvious that it was making a really big difference and there were politicians on all sides of politics that saw the benefit,” Mr Ray said.

Mr Ray said there was still resistance from a handful of fuel retailers, but most have made the switch to Opal.

CAYLUS estimated there had been a 94 per cent reduction in the number of sniffers in the region.

It said on the edges of Opal zones, there were about 20 sniffers remaining

Aboriginal Mental Health News : NACCHO welcomes consultation on Fifth National Mental Health Plan

aboriginal20mental20health20work20poster

“The release of this much awaited Draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan is another important opportunity to support reform, and it’s now up to the mental health sector including consumers and carers, to help develop a plan that will benefit all.”

A successful plan should help overcome the lack of coordination and the fragmentation between layers of government that have held back our efforts to date.”

NACCHO and Mental Health Australia CEO Frank Quinlan have welcomed the release of the Draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan and is encouraging all ACCHO stakeholders to engage with the plan during the upcoming consultation period.

Download the Draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan at the link below:

PDF Copy fifth-national-mental-health-plan

You can download a copy of the draft plan;
Fifth National Mental Health Plan – PDF 646 KB
Fifth National Mental Health Plan – Word 537 KB

View all NACCHO 127 Mental Health articles here

View all NACCHO 97 Suicide Prevention articles here

The Consultation Draft of the plan identifies seven priority areas;

1.    Integrated regional planning and service delivery

2.    Coordinated treatment and supports for people with severe and complex mental illness

3.    Safety and quality in mental health care

4.    Suicide prevention

5.    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and suicide prevention

6.    Physical health of people with mental illness

7.    Stigma and discrimination reduction

Summary of actions

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and suicide prevention

1.     Governments will work collaboratively to develop a joined approach to social and emotional wellbeing support, mental health, suicide prevention, and alcohol and other drug services, recognising the importance of what an integrated service offers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

2.     Governments will work with Primary Health Networks and Local Hospital Networks to implement integrated planning and service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the regional level.

3.     Governments will renew efforts to develop a nationally agreed approach to suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

4.     Governments will work with service providers, including Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander access to and experience with mental health and wellbeing services.

5.     Governments will work together to strengthen the evidence base needed to inform development of improved mental health services and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

6.Governments will develop suitable public health and communication strategies to better inform the community about suicide and suicide prevention.

Additional info Mental health services—in brief 2016

released: 14 Oct 2016 author: AIHW media release

Download Summary mental-health-serives-in-australia-aiw-report

Mental health services—In brief 2016 provides an overview of data about the national response of the health and welfare system to the mental health care needs of Australians.

It is designed to accompany the more comprehensive data on Australia’s mental health services available online at <http://mhsa.aihw.gov.au>.

Mental Health Australia is pleased to be partnering with the Department of Health to run consultation workshops on the plan during November which is an important opportunity for members to provide feedback and guidance on the plan.

National Consultations

National consultation activities to assist with the development of the Fifth Plan will run from November to early December 2016.

A series of face-to-face workshops will be conducted in all states and territories throughout this period. These workshops will be complemented by local consultation events convened by some states and territories.

An opportunity to submit general feedback on the Fifth Plan via this webpage will also be available throughout the duration of the consultation period.

Info here

Further details on the consultation activities and how you can participate will be available here shortly

 If you need support you can contact one of our 302 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services clinics

Download or free NACCHO Contact APP

or the following services:

Lifeline Freecall 13 11 14
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
NT Mental Health Help Line 1800 682 288
Headspace (12-25 years)     1800 659 388 or 8931 5999
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636

How you can share  health messages stories about Aboriginal Community Controlled Health issues ?

Closing this week

  • newspaper-promoEditorial OpportunitiesWe 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

More info and Advertising rate card

or contact nacchonews@naccho.org.au

Colin Cowell Editor Mobile  0401 331 251

aboriginal20mental20health20work20poster

NACCHO #Aboriginal Health #Ice News : How does ice use affect families and what can they do?

 

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 “Some of the greatest impacts of drug use are on families, but families sometimes feel in a position of little control when it comes to responding. Often they receive mixed messages about what they should do.

Ice or crystal meth, the strongest form of methamphetamine, has arguably the biggest impact on families of all drugs. It increases the risks of psychosis, violence and impulsivity and decreases emotional control. This can create a volatile and chaotic environment for people living with a person with an ice problem.

So, what can families really do? ‘

Authors Nicole Lee : Associate Professor at the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University and Paul Ross : Sessional psychology lecturer, Swinburne University of Technology writing in the Conversation

The good news

The good news is fewer teenagers and young people are drinking and trying drugs than in the past. Those who are drinking and taking drugs do so less often than in previous years. Most young people who are offered drugs don’t try them.

Drug use does not necessarily mean drug dependence. So parents shouldn’t panic if they discover their son or daughter has tried drugs. Most people who use drugs do so very occasionally, for a short period and then stop.

Most people who use drugs don’t need treatment. Specialist treatment in a drug and alcohol centre is designed for people who are experiencing moderate to severe harms, such as addiction or dependence (which is the clinical term).

For crystal meth, more than weekly use is associated with dependence. Around 15% of people who have used methamphetamine in the last year use once a week. A further 15% use more than once a month but less than once a week. These groups are at higher risk of other harms such as overdose.

That means 70% of people who use methamphetamine do so irregularly and won’t be dependent or experiencing the harms of long-term use.

Prevention is better than cure

The best protection for kids is prevention. Children are strongly influenced by their parents’ attitudes – sometimes more so than by their peers. Parents influence when and how their kids use drugs and alcohol through timing, supervision, modelling, attitudes and communication.

Timing

There’s a popular myth that introducing kids to small amounts of alcohol early has a protective effect. The argument is that they can learn to drink safely when supervised by parents.

But there’s no evidence that early sips of alcohol are protective, and lots of evidence that delayed drinking reduces risk.

Early supply of alcohol from years 7 to 9 is the single biggest predictor of drinking in year 10.

So delay the introduction of alcohol as long as possible.

Supervision

Parents who establish clear and understandable rules and then supervise their children to ensure those rules are followed tend to have children with lower rates of alcohol and drug use.

Low parental supervision is associated with earlier drinking and drug use.

Modelling

Parents have an important influence on whether kids drink and use drugs through their own behaviour. Not getting drunk or using drugs in front of your kids – or not reaching for a medicine for every minor ailment – are the kinds of strategies parents can use to reduce early exposure to alcohol and other drugs.

Kids who learn effective coping and social skills and good emotion regulation are also less likely to use drugs. These skills are typically learnt through parental modelling.

Attitudes

Clear and early communication of values and attitudes to drugs heavily influences children’s attitudes to drug use and the likelihood they will try drugs.

Talk to pre-school kids about safe use of medicines when they are sick. Talk to them about the effects of smoking and alcohol in primary school, especially if you notice smoking and drinking in movies or on TV. Communicate family rules about drinking and drugs in high school, including drinking and driving.

Make not using alcohol and other drugs “normal”. Only a small proportion of teenagers drink and a very small proportion try drugs. Those who do generally drink or take drugs only very occasionally. If teenagers think everyone is doing it, they are more likely to do it themselves.

Communication

Keep an open dialogue with young people about alcohol and drugs. Particularly talk to high school students about what is happening in their year level.

Young people are more likely to discuss difficult issues, including drugs and alcohol, when they believe their parents will not be reactive. Using the LATE Model has been shown to increase help-seeking: listen, acknowledge issues, talk about options, and then end with encouragement.

What about when there is a problem?

When someone in the family has a problem with alcohol or other drugs, family members cope in a number of ways, with both positive and negative impacts on the family. Some will tolerate substance use and its impact; some will attempt to change the drug use; and some will withdraw by reducing interaction.

There’s no right or wrong way of responding. But when family members have vastly different coping styles or change the way they cope in unpredictable ways, conflict in the family can result. Agree on boundaries and responses, and stick to these as much as possible.

It can help family members to get support from a family therapist who specialises in alcohol or other drug problems in the family, or from one of the many support groups available. These include Family Drug Help and Family Drug Support.

What works?

Families can encourage the person who uses drugs to seek help from a number of sources if they’re ready. When families are involved in an effective way, the person using drugs is more likely to engage in treatment and outcomes are better.

If the person isn’t ready to seek treatment, talk to a family specialist who can explore options for encouraging someone into treatment.

What doesn’t work

Fat camp

American TV-style “family interventions” or Southpark “fat camp”-style interventions aren’t generally effective.

The premise behind them is that the person using is in “denial” about their drug use and how it affects others. They are designed to force the person to see those connections. However, confrontation is rarely helpful and it’s often distressing for all involved.

Research suggests those who enter treatment as a result of a family intervention are less likely to stay in treatment and more likely to relapse.

Forced treatment

Last year, Tasmanian MP Jacqui Lambie voiced many families’ frustration, proposing forced treatment for people who use ice. Lambie eventually admitted, though, that this type of strategy would not have helped her son.

Her assessment was correct. There is no evidence that forcing people into treatment has any long-term benefits in reducing drug use. In some cases it can actually backfire, making it less likely a person will seek treatment in future.

While forced treatment is an option in some states in Australia, there are many more palatable options available for people who use ice and their families if treatment is required.


The Four Corners report Rehab Inc, The high price parents pay to get their kids off ice went to air on Monday, September 12, at 8.30pm on ABC television & iView.

NACCHO #NTRC Royal Commission and Aboriginal Health : #FASD , Malnutrition, hearing and #mentalhealth are major factors

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 ” The profoundly damaging consequences of heavy drinking by pregnant women, malnutrition in early childhood and intergenerational “psychic trauma” are neither properly diagnosed nor treated in Aborigines coming into contact with the law, a royal commission has heard.

The effects of these conditions, which can stunt a child for life, meant affected youngsters were both more likely to become involved in criminal activity and less likely to benefit from punitive forms of rehabilitation.”

As reported in the Australian today

 ” Studies linked FAS-D to a “profound level of social morbidity in terms of violence, engagement in the justice system, depression, suicidal thoughts, suicide, very low chance of meaningful occupation and a very high risk of being in prison as adults requiring mental institution and support with drug addiction

Professor Boulton and NACCHO FASD Articles

 ” Most infants with FASD are irritable, have trouble eating and sleeping, are sensitive to sensory stimulation, and have a strong startle reflex. They may hyperextend their heads or limbs with hypertonia (too much muscle tone) or hypotonia (too little muscle tone) or both. Some infants may have heart defects or suffer anomalies of the ears, eyes, liver, or joints.

Adults with FASD have difficulty maintaining successful independence. They have trouble staying in school, keeping jobs, or sustaining healthy relationships. They require long-term support and some degree of supervision in order to succeed. “

Make FASD History  Image above a full story see below

 “Many boys caught up in the Northern Territory’s juvenile justice system suffer a “disease of disadvantage” that has crippled almost every aspect of their lives, the Northern Territory’s royal commission into youth detention and protection has heard.

Jody Barney, who works as a deaf indigenous community consultant, told the inquiry she has spoken to several young Aboriginal people with hearing impairments who have had their faces covered by spit hoods and bound behind bars.

News Report

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The Royal Commission website is available at https://www.childdetentionnt.royalcommission.gov.au.

Moreover they were perpetuating, meaning the effects could be passed through neurological and genetic means from generation to generation, the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT heard today.

The Commission looks likely to probe these effects more deeply, following depressing but insightful evidence given by University of Newcastle professor of pediatrics John Boulton, who clearly captured the commissioners’ interest.

“I think the Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder issue, together with the evidence that we have had this afternoon about deafness, throws such a complexion upon the participation of so many of these children in the criminal justice system, not to mention the child protection system, that we need to look at this carefully,” Commissioner Margaret White said.

“I think it’s fairly original inasmuch as the other many reports that we’ve been exposed to … have not had an opportunity to consider these areas of study.”

Professor Boulton told the Commission there was an urgent need for FAS-D and to be recognised under the National Disability Insurance Scheme. He said estimates in Canada of the lifelong cost of treating the condition reached into the millions of dollars.

“If there are one or two per cent of the total population of whom a fraction are severely affected with FASD, and therefore suffer the huge mental health and other subsequent complications and disabilities with FASD, then we are talking about an enormous burden to the overall Australian community in the tens of millions of dollars,” he said.

Studies linked FAS-D to a “profound level of social morbidity in terms of violence, engagement in the justice system, depression, suicidal thoughts, suicide, very low chance of meaningful occupation and a very high risk of being in prison as adults requiring mental institution and support with drug addiction” Professor Boulton continued.

He likened FAS-D to the thalidomide disaster, heavy metal poisoning or radiation sickness.

Professor Boulton said progress had been made through alcohol restrictions brought about in the Kimberley towns of Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing by local women. He said the restrictions had produced a “massive reduction in the amount of violence and of women seeking refuge”, and that there was evidence young children were growing better.

Earlier in the day the Commission was told many Aboriginal youngsters from the remotest areas suffered hearing problems related to ear infections in early life. In one example retold before the Commission, a boy before court had been crash tackled by a guard who thought he was trying to escape, when in fact the boy simply hadn’t heard an instruction.

Deafness holding NT’s indigenous kids back

Many boys caught up in the Northern Territory’s juvenile justice system suffer a “disease of disadvantage” that has crippled almost every aspect of their lives, the Northern Territory’s royal commission into youth detention and protection has heard.

Jody Barney, who works as a deaf indigenous community consultant, told the inquiry she has spoken to several young Aboriginal people with hearing impairments who have had their faces covered by spit hoods and bound behind bars.

“Taking away another sense from a person who already has a limited sense is frightening. And that fear stays forever… long after their sentence,” she said.

Footage of boys being tear gassed, shackled and put in spit hoods at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre was aired on national television in July, sparking the royal commission

Psychologist Damien Howard told the inquiry a chronic housing shortage is creating an “epidemic” of hearing loss in indigenous children that leads to learning difficulties, family breakdown and criminal involvement.

“It’s very much a disease of disadvantage,” Dr Howard told Darwin’s Supreme Court.

Crowded housing overwhelms a child’s capacity to maintain hygiene, allows infections to pass quickly, and increases exposure to cigarette smoke and loud noises, while the poverty limits nutrition.

On average, non-Aboriginal kids experience middle ear disease for three months of their childhood while indigenous children can get fluctuating hearing loss for more than two years.

This can result in a permanent condition, which Dr Howard says is a “smoking gun” leading to over-representation in the criminal justice system.

Make FASD History

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) are 100% preventable. If a woman doesn’t drink alcohol while she is pregnant, her child cannot have FASD.

There is a humanitarian crisis in the Fitzroy Valley region of remote North Western Australia, which has one of the highest Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in the world.

The effects of alcohol on the fetal brain are a common cause of intellectual impairment in developed countries. Problems that may occur in babies exposed to alcohol before birth include low birth weight, distinctive facial features, heart defects, behavioural problems and intellectual disability.

Most infants with FASD are irritable, have trouble eating and sleeping, are sensitive to sensory stimulation, and have a strong startle reflex. They may hyperextend their heads or limbs with hypertonia (too much muscle tone) or hypotonia (too little muscle tone) or both. Some infants may have heart defects or suffer anomalies of the ears, eyes, liver, or joints.

Adults with FASD have difficulty maintaining successful independence. They have trouble staying in school, keeping jobs, or sustaining healthy relationships. They require long-term support and some degree of supervision in order to succeed.

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Bright Blue is very proud to partner with Nindilingarri Cultural Health Services to support the development and implementation of a comprehensive, evidence-based prevention and community capacity building programme, which aims to make FASD history.

The outcomes of this programme will work to:

  • Improve the health, quality of life and social and economic potential for the next generation of Fitzroy Valley children, and thus the fabric of the community itself;
  • Identify practical strategies that can be implemented elsewhere in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities to reduce and eliminate FASD;
  • Make WA a leader in FASD prevention;
  • Decrease costs associated with service provision, productivity, welfare and justice.

stacks_image_6848Led by Aboriginal community leaders Maureen Carter and June Oscar; and Paediatrician Dr James Fitzpatrick, it is important that the leadership of the Marulu strategy reflects the community ownership of the process.

Bright Blue needs your support to assist in prevention and capacity building, to develop an effective community – level support for women to abstain from drinking during pregnancy and child bearing years, so that all babies born in this community and across Australia have a full potential for a long and productive life.

Become a part of history. Together, let’s make FASD history.

The inquiry led by co-commissioners Margaret White and Mick Gooda continues.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Better aim needed to hit bullseye in mental health

help  ” Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people take their own lives at a rate five times that of other Australians,”

“This is devastating Aboriginal communities and we must do everything in our power to try to save these young lives.

If we can train up young people and others in our communities to recognise and react to the warning signs in their peers, there is a good chance we can support those who are suffering before they reach the point of no return.

This is a good initiative which empowers communities to be part of the solution.’

Matthew Cooke NACCHO Chair Press Release May 2016

Understanding how many people in each community need hospital treatment for mental health conditions, helps to identify local areas that may require more ACCHO services and support.”

NACCHO Mental Health Articles 117 in total

NACCHO Suicide Prevention articles 87 in total

“Are people living in rural and remote Australia more likely to be hospitalised for mental health conditions than their city counterparts?

The report, Healthy Communities: Hospitalisations for mental health conditions and intentional self-harm in 2013-2014, recently released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare gives some insight into this issue.

The report looks at hospitalisations for five mental health conditions: schizophrenia and delusional disorders, anxiety and stress disorders, depressive episodes, bipolar and mood disorders and dementia as well as drug and alcohol use and intentional self-harm.”

The National Rural Health Alliance is Australia’s peak non-government organisation for rural and remote health. Its vision is good health and wellbeing in rural and remote Australia

The report, Healthy Communities: Hospitalisations for mental health conditions and intentional self-harm in 2013–14, looks at local-level variation in populations across Australia’s 31 Primary Health Network (PHN) areas and 330 smaller local areas.

Download the report aihw_hc_report_mental_health_september_2016

‘Overnight hospitalisations for mental health conditions varied across PHN areas, from 627 per 100,000 people in the ACT to 1,267 per 100,000 in North Coast NSW. Overall, regional PHN areas had higher rates of hospitalisations than city-based PHNs,’ said AIHW spokesperson Michael Frost.

The disparity between regional and metropolitan PHN areas was more pronounced for hospitalisations related to intentional self-harm.

‘Across all PHN areas, rates ranged from 83 per 100,000 people in Eastern Melbourne PHN area to 240 per 100,000 in Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast – a three-fold variation,’ Mr Frost said.

The report also looks at hospitalisations for six sub-categories of mental health: drug and alcohol use, schizophrenia and delusional disorders, anxiety and stress disorders, depressive episodes, bipolar and mood disorders, and dementia. Hospitalisations for these sub-categories varied across PHN areas.

For the 330 smaller local areas, the report examined variation in overnight mental health hospitalisations within and across socioeconomic and remoteness areas. It found significant disparities – up to four-fold variation – when comparing similar local areas.

The report will be also available on the MyHealthyCommunities website (http://www.myhealthycommunities.gov.au).

The website is now managed by the AIHW, following the transfer of functions from the former National Health Performance Authority in June.

Updated information is also available on the website for a range of Medicare Benefits Schedule statistics in 2014–15, and life expectancy and potentially avoidable deaths’

This report focuses on the mental health of populations in small areas across Australia. It aims to assist Primary Health Networks and others in making informed decisions about resources required in providing effective primary mental health care.

The report finds:

  • In 2013–14 across the 31 Primary Health Network (PHN) areas that cover Australia, the age-standardised rate of mental health overnight hospitalisations was twice as high in some PHN areas compared to others. Across more than 300 smaller local areas called SA3s, the rates were almost six times higher in some local areas compared to others. Rates of hospitalisation include admissions to both public and private hospitals
  • The most common group of mental health conditions requiring hospitalisation was from drug and alcohol use (38,636 hospitalisations). These overnight admissions accounted for 299,829 bed days nationally. In 2013–14 the age-standardised rate of hospitalisations varied more than three-fold, from 87 admissions per 100,000 people (in North Western Melbourne PHN area) to 275 per 100,000 people (in Western Queensland PHN area)
  • The second most common group of mental health conditions requiring hospitalisation was schizophrenia and delusional disorders (36,562 hospitalisations). These overnight admissions accounted for 813,514 bed days nationally – the most bed days for any of the groups of conditions in the report. The age-standardised rate of hospitalisations varied more than two-fold, from 102 admissions per 100,000 people (in Australian Capital Territory PHN area) to 234 per 100,000 people (in North Coast NSW PHN area)
  • In 2013–14, there were 33,956 hospital admissions (including overnight and same-day) for intentional self-harm, which accounted for 184,332 bed days nationally. The age-standardised rate of hospitalisations for intentional self-harm varied from 83 per 100,000 people (in Eastern Melbourne PHN area) to 240 per 100,000 people (in Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast PHN area).

Better aim needed to hit bullseye in mental health

Overall, overnight hospitalisation rates were 13 per cent higher in rural and remote areas (971 hospitalisations per 100 000 population) as compared to metropolitan areas (857 per 100 000 population).

While data indicates significant difference in the rates of hospitalisation in rural and remote Australia compared with major centres, it also reveals significant variation within regions – the rates of hospitalisation in some towns can be almost 8 times higher than for other towns of the same remoteness.

The NSW north coast had the lowest overall rate of overnight hospitalisations for health conditions. For drug and alcohol hospitalisations, western Queensland had the highest rates. Country South Australia had the highest hospitalisation rate for depressive episodes. Central Queensland/Sunshine Coast had the highest hospitalisation rate for intentional self-harm.

The very large variations in mental illness hospitalisation within cities, within rural Australia and within remote communities underlies the importance of targeting programs to specific towns and communities, rather than our current approach of treating all rural areas and all remote areas as if they have the same needs.

The variation in rates could be due to a number of factors including differences in the prevalence in mental illness, variable access to mental health services and programs or even differences in hospital admissions processes in rural and remote hospitals.

The National Rural Health Alliance is Australia’s peak non-government organisation for rural and remote health. Its vision is good health and wellbeing in rural and remote Australia.

The data will be invaluable to funders and health services in identifying and targeting areas of poor health to ensure that efforts and resources are targeted to the areas of greatest need.

The National Rural Health Alliance looks forward to working with the Rural Health Commissioner, when they are appointed, to address such poor health outcomes within rural and remote Australian communities.

If you or anyone you know needs help,

you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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NACCHO Aboriginal health : #AIHW #AustraliasHealth2016 : What are the health experts saying about the report ?

aus-2016

” The report has also pointed out ongoing areas of health inequality in Australia, driven by socioeconomic factors and social determinants.

Communities suffering socioeconomic disadvantage continued to have systematically poorer health including lower life expectancy, higher rates of chronic disease and higher smoking rates.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples recorded improved health indicators in some areas, including lower rates for smoking and infant mortality.

However, the report found life expectancy was shorter by 10 years than for non-Indigenous Australians, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continued to suffer higher rates of diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease and end-stage kidney disease.

The impact of risk factors such as smoking, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and harmful alcohol use have been emphasised as significant contributors to Australia’s rising rates of chronic disease.

This is an opportunity for health leaders and the Commonwealth Government to heed the report’s message that lifestyle factors and social determinants are significant contributors to ill-health, and to address the issues of health inequality and the importance of reform across all of our care systems “

AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven

Download the report here australias-health-2016

 #AIHW and Minister Sussan Ley press releases from launch #AustraliasHealth2016 report

Life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians remains about one decade

The life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians remains about one decade, according to new statistics.

The latest report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) said that while health outcomes had improved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, they still remain below those of non-Indigenous Australians.

The biennial report, published today, shows Indigenous males born between 2010 and 2012 have a life expectancy of 69.1 years, a decade less than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

The gap for women was slightly lower at 9.5 years.

Between 2009 and 2013, 81 per cent of all Indigenous deaths were of people under 75. This is more than twice the rate of non-Indigenous Australians, which stands at 34 per cent.

The latest statistics come 10 years after the establishment of the Closing the Gap campaign, which aims to end the disparity on life expectancies.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pledged that the Government would better engage with Indigenous people in “hope and optimism rather than entrenched despair”.

Indigenous sobriety rate higher than non-Indigenous Australians

While smoking rates have been falling nationally, they remain high among Indigenous Australians, with 44 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 and over describing themselves as a current smoker.

The report states that 42 per cent smoke daily, 2.6 times the rate of their non-Indigenous counterparts.

However, Indigenous Australians drink less alcohol than non-Indigenous counterparts — 26 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 and over had not consumed alcohol in past 12 months.

This equates to a sobriety rate 1.6 times that of non-Indigenous Australians.

Potentially avoidable deaths — categorised as deaths that could have been avoided given timely and effective health care — accounted for 61 per cent of deaths of Indigenous Australians aged up to 74 years between 2009 to 2013.

This was 10 per cent more than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

Australians are living longer than ever but with higher rates of chronic disease, the latest national report card shows.

Reports below from the Conversation

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s Australia’s Health 2016 report, released today, Australian boys can now expect to live into their 80s (80.3), while the life expectancy for girls has reached the mid-80s (84.4).

A boy born and girl born in 1890 could only expect to live to 47.2 and 50.8 years respectively. AIHW

The single leading cause of death in Australia is coronary heart disease, followed by:

Grouped together, cancer has overtaken cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) as Australia’s biggest killer. Cancer is also the largest cause of illness, followed by cardiovascular disease:

Burden of disease, by disease group, Australia, 2011 AIHW

Chronic diseases are becoming more common, due to population growth and ageing. Half of Australians (more than 11 million) have at least one chronic disease. One quarter have two or more.

The most common combination of chronic diseases is arthritis with cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke):

AIHW

Australians have high rates of the biomedical risk factors that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Almost a quarter (23%) of Australian adults have high blood pressure and 63% have abnormal levels of cholesterol.


Lifestyle choices

Fron Jackson-Webb, Health + Medicine Editor, The Conversation

The good news is Australians are less likely to smoke and drink at risky levels than in the past.

Australia now has the fourth-lowest smoking rate among 34 OECD countries, at 13% in 2013. This is almost half that of 1991 (24%).

AIHW

The volume of alcohol Australians consume fell from 10.8 litres per person in 2007–08 to 9.7 litres in 2013–14. This is the lowest level since 1962–63. But 16% of Australians are still drinking to very risky levels: consuming 11 or more standard drinks on one occasion in the past 12 months.

AIHW

Around eight million Australians have tried illicit drugs in their lifetime, including 2.9 million in the last 12 months. The most commonly used illicit drugs are cannabis (10%), ecstasy (2.5%), methamphetamine (2.1%) and cocaine (2.1%).

Use of methamphetamine has remained stable in recent years. However, more methamphetamine users are opting for crystal (ice) rather than powder (speed).

The bad news is Australians are still struggling with their weight. Around 63% are overweight or obese, up from 56% in 1995. This equates to an average increase of 4.4kg for men and women. One in four children are overweight or obese.

Junk foods high in salt, fat and sugar account for around 35% of adults’ energy intake and around 39% of the energy intake for children and young people.

Most Australians (93%) don’t consume the recommended five serves of vegetables a day and only half eat the recommended two serves of fruit. Just 3% of children eat enough vegetables, though 70% consume the recommended amount of fruit.

Almost half (45%) of adults aged 18 to 64 and 23% of children aren’t meeting the national physical activity recommendations. These are for adults to accumulative 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity each week. Children are advised to accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.

Lifestyle choices have a huge impact on the risk of chronic disease; an estimated 31% of the burden of disease in Australia could have been prevented by reducing risk factors such as smoking, excess weight, risky drinking, physical inactivity and high blood pressure.

Proportion of the burden attributable to the top five risk factors

AIHW

Preventing chronic disease

Rob Moodie, Professor of Public Health, University of Melbourne

This report outlines a number of positives in Australia’s health – our life expectancy, the health services at our beck and call, major declines in tobacco and road deaths. We’re doing well, it says, but we could do better.

If we took prevention and health promotion far more seriously, we could do a lot better.

The report nominates tobacco use, alcohol, high body mass and physical inactivity as the chief causes of preventable illness and the chief causes of our increasing level of chronic illnesses. Yet national investment in prevention is declining.


Further reading: Focus on prevention to control the growing health budget


Tobacco use is rapidly declining because of really effective measures (plain packaging, advertising bans and increasing price through taxes) that save lives and enormous amounts of money over a lifetime for people who used to smoke.

However, we can’t seem to make any major dent in the commercial, industrial and lifestyle diseases related to junk food and drinks, harmful consumption of alcohol and car dependency.

We’ve known what will work for many years but the power of some of these unhealthy industries is still overwhelming – a situation in which our politicians fear these industries and their associations more than they fear the voters.

Our collective health would have been much better if we’d been able to follow the guidance of our own national task forces and learnt from other countries. The report card should read, “Doing well, but could have done a lot better”.


Inequities

Fran Baum, Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor and Foundation Director at the Southgate Institute for Health, Society & Equity, Flinders University

Australia’s Health 2016 shows many Australians are not getting a fair go at health. There is a gradient across society whereby the richer the area you live in, the longer you can expect to live. The difference between the highest and lowest is four years.

Deaths by socioeconomic group: 1 = lowest; 5 = highest

AIHW

The gradient is evident from early life. Children most at risk of exclusion – those from poor areas who experience problems with education, housing and connectedness – are most likely to die before they reach 15 years from potentially preventable or treatable causes.


Further reading: Want to improve the nation’s health? Start by reducing inequalities and improving living conditions


Our most glaring inequity is the ten-year life gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and others. Indigenous life expectancy is 69.1 years for males and 73.7 years for females.

Compared with the non-Indigenous population, Indigenous Australians are:

  • 3.5 times as likely to have diabetes and four times as likely to be hospitalised with it or to die from it
  • five times as likely to have end-stage kidney disease
  • twice as likely to die from an injury
  • twice as likely to have heart disease.

Australians living outside major cities have higher rates of disease and injury. They also live in environments that make healthy lifestyles choices harder (such as more difficulties buying fresh fruit and vegetables) and so their risk of chronic diseases is increased.

AIHW

The data on who has private health insurance coverage points to the emergence of a two-tiered health system, where those who can afford to pay receive better access and quality of care. Just 26% of those in the lowest socioeconomic group have cover compared to about 80% of the top group.

Coverage with private health insurance and government health-care cards

AIHW

Cost of care

Professor Stephen Duckett, Director of the Health Program at Grattan Institute

Over the last decade, health expenditure grew about 5% each year, above the 2.8% average growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As a result, health took up an increasing share of GDP.

Spending more on health means Australia spent less on other things. This is not necessarily bad, as long as the benefits from that increased expenditure – such as increasing life expectancy or increased quality of life – are worth the increased costs.

But spending above GDP growth cannot continue indefinitely. And the last few years saw an increase in rhetoric about health spending increases being “unsustainable” from so-called “futurists” and politicians.

Informed commentators have generally rejected the unsustainability claim, some labelling it a “myth”, while others take a more nuanced view.

Australia’s Health 2016 shows a slowing of the real growth rate in the most recent two years to about half that of the previous decade – 1.1% from 2011-12 to 2012-13 and 3.1% from 2012–13 to 2013–14.

Annual growth rates in health expenditure AIHW

This suggests the “unsustainability” rhetoric is at least overblown and potentially prompting budget decisions which are counter-productive, such as introducing a co-payment for general practice.

Commonwealth government expenditure was more or less stable over these most recent two years, declining 2.5% initially then increasing 2.4% in the last year.

Health expenditure by area (adjusted for inflation)

AIHW

Savings to the government came from shifting costs to consumers, by slowing the growth in government subsidies to private health insurers, and also by slowing spending on pharmaceuticals.

This latter slowdown was achieved through tighter controls on payments to drug manufacturers and because some big-selling drugs came off patent, resulting in falls in prices.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper Next AGM Edition

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