NACCHO Aboriginal Youth Health : Download 2019 @MissionAust Reports Including 20 pages top 3 issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people – #mentalhealth, #alcohol and drugs and equity and #discrimination. Plus #NACCHOYouth19 Interviews

” Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were asked to list the three issues they considered were the most important in Australia today.

In 2019, the top three issues identified by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were mental health, alcohol and drugs and equity and discrimination.

  • Nearly three in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people indicated that mental health (28.9%) and alcohol and drugs (28.1%) are important issues in Australia today.
  • Around one in four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents reported that equity and discrimination (24.3%) and the environment (23.7%) are important national
  • Since 2018, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people reporting the environment as a key national issue has more than tripled from 8% to 23.7%. Conversely, concerns about mental health and bullying have decreased since 2018.

Extract from Report What issues do young people think are the most important in Australia today? see Pages 37-57 

The Mission Australia Youth Survey is the largest annual survey of young people of its kind in Australia.

It provides a platform for young people aged 15 to 19 to share their values, aspirations and concerns.

The Youth Survey provides a platform for young people to ‘speak up’ about the issues they are concerned about and it offers valuable insights into the experiences, concerns, challenges and ambitions of young people living in Australia.

Mission Australia CEO James Toomey says “Our Youth Survey has come of age this year and we take very seriously our responsibility and commitment to elevating the voices of young people who come from all across Australia.”

The results of the Youth Survey are shared widely with governments, schools, not-for-profit and community organisations, so that NGOs, social commentators, decision-makers and policymakers have access to current evidence on what young people are thinking, feeling and hoping in 2019.

The Youth Survey gives us the vital evidence needed to advocate with young people, and for them, for the services and policy responses that they need.

Young people have a vital role in shaping our tomorrow. If we ensure young people have the right supports and opportunities to be heard, the future will be brighter for everyone. Through this survey, once again, they are speaking to us, speaking to people who need to listen to them and respond to their very real concerns and aspirations.

For more information or to register your interest for the 2020 Youth Survey, please contact: youthsurvey@missionaustralia.com.au.

Download full 2019 Youth Report

Mission Australia Youth Survey FULL Report 2019

Download 2019 Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people Report

MA Youth Survey 2019 ATSI-Web

Profile of respondents

A total of 1,579 (6.4%) respondents to Mission Australia’s 2019 Youth Survey identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. Of this total, 1,310 (5.3%) respondents identified as Aboriginal, while 149 (0.6%) identified as Torres Strait Islander (the remaining 0.5% identified as both).

Gender breakdown

Nearly half (49.6%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents were female and 42.7% were male.

Language background other than English

A total of 173 (11.1%) Aboriginal and Torres  Strait Islander respondents stated that they were born overseas and 298 (19.2%)     Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people reported speaking a language other than English at home. Of the 43 languages other than English spoken at home by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents, the most common were (in order of frequency): Indigenous languages, Chinese, Spanish, Kriol and Japanese.

Disability

A total of 216 (13.8%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents identified as living with a disability. Twice the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males (14.4%) identified they were living with a disability (compared with 7.0% of females). The most frequently cited disabilities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents were (in order of frequency): autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, anxiety disorder and deafness or hearing impairment.

Education

As indicated in Table 2.1, 83.1% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents were studying full-time, which is similar to the 83.3% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents studying full-time in 2018. A slightly higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females reported studying full-time (86.8% compared with 82.3% of males). Conversely, a slightly higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males reported they were not studying (11.6% compared with 8.1% of females).

Respondents who reported that they were currently studying were asked how satisfied they were with their studies. Responses to this question were rated on a 5-point scale that ranged from very satisfied to very dissatisfied. As in previous years, the majority of

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents reported that they were either very satisfied (10.8%) or satisfied (45.7%) with their studies. Around one in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents indicated they were dissatisfied (5.9%) or very dissatisfied (5.4%). As shown in Table 2.2, a slightly higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males reported feeling very satisfied (12.7% compared with 8.6% of females), yet a much higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females indicated they felt satisfied (52.2% compared with 41.2% of males).

Of those that were still at school, 89.7% of Aboriginal and Torres  Strait Islander respondents stated that they intended to complete       Year 12 (compared with 96.4% of non-Indigenous respondents). More than twice the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males indicated that they did not plan to complete Year 12 (14.0% compared with 6.3% of females).

1 of 2 Interviews from our NACCHO Youth Conference Darwin 2019

This years NACCHO youth conference theme was ‘Healthy youth, healthy future’ with sessions follwing sub themes of leadership and resilience.

24 year old Gamilaroi and Dunghutti woman, and co-founder of Tiddas 4 Tiddas, Marlee Silva talked with our youth about the importance of social media among the Aboriginal and Torres Striat Islander population and how to use social media as activists to make a change for the better for our people!

“Tiddas 4 Tiddas is a social media based movement that is all about empowering and giving a voice to our Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander woman and girls.”

What issues are of personal concern to our young people?

Young people were asked to indicate how concerned they were about a number of issues over the past year, as shown in Figure 2.5. Responses were rated on a 5-point scale that ranged from extremely concerned to not at all concerned. The items were ranked in order of personal concern according to the summed responses for extremely concerned and very concerned for each item.

The top three issues of personal concern for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were coping with stress, body image and mental health. The next most personally concerning issues were school or study problems and physical health.

  • Coping with stress was the top issue of concern, with nearly four in ten (38.4%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents indicating that they were extremely or very concerned about this
  • Around three in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were extremely or very concerned about body image (31.7%), mental health (31.5%) and school or study problems (30.5%).
  • Around one quarter of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents were extremely or very concerned about physical health (25.6%) and family conflict (23.3%).

2 of 2 Interviews from our NACCHO Youth Conference Darwin 2019

Amanda Sibosado from SAHMRI talks with NACCHO about her experience at the NACCHO Members’ Conference 2019 and tells us a little bit about the Young Deadly Free Project and her role as co-ordinator.

Amanda ran a workshop with our young proffesionals at the NACCHO Youth Conference held on the first day of our Members’ conference. The groups came up with some new ideas and input on how health services can assist young people in the approach to STI testing with shame gremlins and how services can work with young people to over come these.

Have our young people experienced bullying?

For the first time in 2019, young people were asked whether they had experienced bullying over the past twelve months. Three in ten (29.9%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people reported that they had experienced bullying in the past twelve months (compared with 20.3% of non-Indigenous respondents).

A much higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females reported that they had experienced bullying over the past year (33.4% compared with 22.0% of males).

Young people who reported that they had experienced bullying over the past year were then asked to identify from a list of suggested locations where the bullying took place. Table 2.6 shows that, of the 29.9% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents who had experienced bullying in the past year, nearly three quarters (72.5%) reported that the bullying took place at school/TAFE/university.

Four in ten (40.9%) indicated they had experienced bullying online/on social media, while three in ten (30.1%) stated they had experienced bullying at home. Around one in six reported that they experienced this in my neighbourhood (16.8%) or at work (15.8%).

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents who reported they had experienced bullying across the majority of locations was much higher than the proportion of non-Indigenous respondents

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth and #SuicidePrevention @cbpatsisp : Health Minister @GregHuntMP welcomes the #YouCanTalk campaign, encouraging our mob struggling with their mental health to reach out and find support

“ The Federal Government welcomes the #YouCanTalk campaign, which encourages Australians struggling with their mental health to reach out and find support.

The awareness campaign is a collaboration between several organisations, including Beyond Blue, Everymind, headspace, Lifeline, ReachOut, RU OK?, SANE Australia, the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention, Roses in the Ocean and the Black Dog Institute.

The campaign will take place over the December-January holiday period, in recognition of how difficult this time of year can be for many Australians.

Our Government commends the collaboration of these organisations to raise awareness about the importance of starting a conversation, particularly over the Christmas-New Year period.” 

Health Minister Greg Hunt Press Release continued Part 1 below 

Read over 160 Aboriginal Health and Suicide Prevention articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years 

” Suicide has emerged in the past half century as a major cause of premature mortality and is a contributor to the overall health and life expectancy gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

In 2018 it was the fifth leading cause of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and the age-standardised suicide rate was more than twice as high as the non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s rate.”

What we know about suicide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people : or see Part 3 Below

Sadly, more than 3,000 Australians choose to end their lives each year – about eight people a day.

Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy, creating a ripple effect that flows through families, friendship groups, schools, workplaces and communities.

That’s why the Federal Government has committed to Towards Zero – working towards reducing the suicide rate to zero.

Towards Zero is a total commitment to the value of each and every life, and recognises the importance of all lives, in all ages, and all groups.

This commitment is backed by our investment of $5.2 billion in mental health and suicide prevention services this financial year, including $63.3 million on suicide prevention activities.

It’s so important for Australians who are struggling to reach out and seek support.

The #YouCanTalk campaign also aims to connect people with tools that can support them through their website

www.lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/youcantalk.

#YouCanTalk exists to encourage all Australians to have a conversation with a friend, family member or work colleague they’re concerned about.

While it can be difficult to talk about suicide, research shows you can have a positive influence on someone who may be considering suicide by initiating a conversation with them and supporting them to seek help.

The main message is you don’t need to be a clinician, a GP, or a nurse to check-in with someone you are worried about.

It is OK to let someone know you have noticed they are struggling and ask them if they are experiencing thoughts of suicide.

It is normal to feel worried or nervous about having a conversation with a friend, family member or work colleague who might be experiencing suicidal thoughts, but there are resources available to help you.

Life in Mind is a national digital gateway providing organisations and communities access to suicide prevention information, programs, services, resources and research.

Part 3

Suicide has emerged in the past half century as a major cause of premature mortality and is a contributor to the overall health and life expectancy gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

In 2018 it was the fifth leading cause of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and the age-standardised suicide rate was more than twice as high as the non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s rate.

The standardised death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (24.1 per 100, 000) was higher than the non-Indigenous rate (12.4 per 100, 000)2.

On average, over 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons end their lives through suicide each year, accounting for 1 in 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths.

STATISTIC

Further suicide data can be found at the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention, and from the ATSISPEP report.

Three main issues can be identified:

  1. There is variable quality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identification at the state and national levels, resulting in an expected under-reporting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicides.
  2. Lack of reporting on suicide due to questions regarding intent, especially in the case of childhood suicides. Similarly, it can be demonstrated that there may be a reluctance to classify adult deaths as suicides for a variety of reasons also.
  3. Delays in reporting data, whereby incidences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide might not be known for months and often years after the fact.

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth Prof Maree Hackett @Mareazles Top moments celebrating 20 years of @georgeinstitute Improving mental health. A New culturally appropriate screening tool for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

 

“ Mental health problems experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been overlooked, dismissed and marginalised for too long

We recently validated a culturally appropriate tool with and for Aboriginal communities and researchers to help us assess and address the scale of mental health problems in communities.”

Professor Maree Hackett  Up until now, we couldn’t reliably ascertain the scale of mental health problems in communities in a culturally appropriate way, which has remained a huge concern. We hope this tool will be a turning point.

See part 2 below for 20 Years George Institute

Picture above 

“In Australia, as with many countries around the world, everything is framed around Western understandings, language and methods. Our research recognises the importance of an Aboriginal voice and giving that a privileged position in how we respond to matters of most importance to Aboriginal people themselves.

What we found during this study was that many questions were being lost in translation.

Instead of a person scoring highly for being at risk of depression, they were actually scoring themselves much lower and missing out on potential opportunities for treatment.

It was essential that we got this right and that we took our time speaking with Aboriginal people and ascertaining how the wording needed to be changed so we can begin to tackle the burden of depression.”

Professor Alex Brown, of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, who was co-investigator on the study, said the importance of using culturally appropriate language with First Nations people cannot be underestimated

Part 1 : A culturally-appropriate depression screening tool for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples not only works, it should be rolled out across the country, according to a new study.

Researchers at The George Institute for Global Health, in partnership with key Aboriginal and Torres Strait primary care providers conducted the validation study in 10 urban, rural and remote primary health services across Australia.

The screening tool is an adapted version of the existing 9-item patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9) used across Australia and globally accepted as an effective screening method for depression. The adapted tool (aPHQ-9) contains culturally-appropriate questions asking about mood, appetite, sleep patterns, energy and concentration levels. It is hoped the adapted questionnaire will lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of depression in Aboriginal communities.

The results of the validation study were published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Lead researcher Professor Maree Hackett, of The George Institute for Global Health, said mental health problems experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been overlooked, dismissed and marginalised for too long.

“This tool, which was developed in conjunction with Aboriginal communities and researchers, will help us address easily treated problems that often go undiagnosed. It will also help us to assess the scale of mental health problems in communities.

Up until now, we couldn’t reliably ascertain this in a culturally appropriate way, which has remained a huge concern.

We need better resources and funding for mental health across Australia, but particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and within under-resourced health services. We hope this tool will be a turning point.”

The aPHQ-9 is freely available in a culturally-appropriate English version, and can be readily used by translators when working with First Nation communities where English is not the patients first language.

It is estimated up to 20 per cent of Australia’s general population with chronic disease will have a diagnosis of comorbid major depression[1].

Approximately similar proportions will meet criteria for moderate or minor depression. Mental illness and depression are also considered to be key contributors in the development of chronic disease.

Across the nation, chronic disease (cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) accounts for 80 per cent of the life expectancy gap experienced by Aboriginal people [2].

How the tool works

The adapted tool, which was evaluated with 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, contains culturally-appropriate questions.

For example, the original (PHQ-9) questionnaire asks:

  • Over the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems: Little interest or pleasure in doing things?
  • Feeling down, depressed or hopeless

The adapted (aPHQ-9) tool instead asks:

  • Over the last two weeks have you been feeling slack, not wanted to do anything?
  • Have you been feeling unhappy, depressed, really no good, that your spirit was sad?

Download: Adapted Patient Questionnaire with scoring (PDF 119 KB)

Download: Adapted Patient Questionnaire without scoring (PDF 119 KB)

Aboriginal psychologist Dr Graham Gee, of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, said Aboriginal communities have unacceptably high rates of suicide which need to be addressed.

“Identifying and treating depression is an important part of responding to this major challenge. It’s clear this tool is much needed.”

The new tool will be available for use at primary health centres across Australia.

[1] Mental health services report 2018, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

[2] Contribution of chronic disease to the gap in mortality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Part 2 20 years of improving mental health

Maree’s first major success at the Institute was with the POISE study in 2008, which recruited 441 people under the age of 65 in Australia who had experienced their first ever stroke.

The five-year study’s key aim was to determine whether psychosocial factors were associated with a return to paid work after one year in younger stroke survivors. Its secondary aim was to determine the economic impact of not returning to work for younger stroke survivors and their families.

“What we successfully highlighted in POISE and my PhD was that depression following a stroke is much more common than many people realised – it affects about a third of all stroke survivors,” Maree explains. “At any one time, one-in-three people will experience depression or related clinical concerns after a stroke, and about 50% of people will experience depression in the first year after an event.”

Like other studies done by the Institute, Maree’s past work has included examining the economic and emotional benefits of an intervention in order to advocate for increasing access to treatment.

“We looked at the impact of cataract surgery in Vietnam beyond just curing blindness, and generated evidence to indicate the household economic benefits to improving eyesight, as well as benefits to mood,” she says.

For Maree, one of the key factors that differentiates the Institute from other organisations working on mental health is its global reach and clear focus on the links between mental health and chronic diseases.

She currently leads the Institute’s Australian mental health program, but has carried out successful trials in Sweden and the UK. The George Institute, India’s Deputy Director, Professor Pallab Maulik, is a psychiatrist and is leading a project to integrate mental health screening into the Institute’s SMARThealth app (see page XX).

“We’re also working on a study on emotionalism, which is the tendency to uncontrollably laugh or cry inappropriately after strokes, and strategies for treating depression after a stroke,” she says.

The Australian mental health program has expanded over the years to include mental health challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. ( see Part 1 Above )

Dr Anne-Marie Eades, a Noongar woman from Western Australia and a descendant of a Wiilman father and Minang mother, is also working with mothers and children to increase the resilience and strength of Aboriginal women who have experienced some vulnerabilities.

“The aim of her work is to reduce the number of child removals from Aboriginal families and help maintain the wider family unit,” Maree says.

For Maree, the Institute’s biggest contribution to the field of mental health has been the normalisation of mental illness in a chronic disease setting.

“Along with other organisations, we’ve highlighted that depression and anxiety happens after almost every chronic disease, and raised awareness of the consistency of the problem, which is not an excuse to do nothing about it,” she says. “If we can normalise it and say it’s slightly unusual if it doesn’t happen, then people are more likely to seek help and tell us they’re unwell.”

Despite the progress made, Maree is the first to acknowledge that much more remains to be done in terms of screening, treatment and combating discrimination.

“We need affordable, non-threatening, widely applicable interventions for things like depression that people can access – regardless of their location,” she says. “It can be straightforward enough to diagnose someone with a mood disorder, but there might be no supply of antidepressants or access to talking therapy anywhere near that patient. Or perhaps the patient might not be able to afford that antidepressant or therapy, or not for very long.”

“We also need to get rid of the stigma and make sure that when people visit a doctor or other healthcare professional, they can be confident that the healthcare professional knows what to do. We need to make sure they are reassessed if they are prescribed a treatment, so they won’t be left on it forever.”

These challenges require the broader education that comes from high-quality research.

“There’s still a common misunderstanding between symptoms and diagnosis, and what a diagnosis actually means,” she says. “We all experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other disorders – sometimes on a daily or weekly basis. But we’re only clinically unwell if the accumulation of those symptoms stops us from being ourselves.”

Celebrating 20 years: Maree’s Top Moments

  • New screening tool for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders: “Up until now, we couldn’t reliably ascertain the scale of mental health problems in communities in a culturally appropriate way, which has remained a huge concern. We hope this tool will be a turning point.”
  • Mentoring: “I really like helping students navigate the system. I love mentoring them, that’s been a constant thing throughout my career because I had some great mentors when I was doing my PhD.”
  • From ideas to impact: “Ideas are born, and we take a bizarre concept and work it through to a fundable grant. It’s quite special when you see the outcome from a completed study.”

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Conferences and Events #Saveadate This week @CAACongress @RegionalHealth1 @UniNewEngland #SpinifexSymposium Alice Springs @ozprodcom #MentalHealth report national hearings commence plus #QLD #closingTheGap #HaveYourSayCTG

This week 

November 12 – 13 National Spinifex Symposium in Alice Springs to feature drought and rural mental health

15 November Productivity Commission national hearings begin as stakeholders respond to draft mental health report

This month

18 November : The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service will hold an official opening ceremony for the new Epping Clinic 

28 November HealthInfonet Environmental Health portal and climate change Webinar

July to October 2020 Adjunct Professor Tracy Westerman’s  Workshops for 2020

November 12 – 13 National Spinifex Symposium in Alice Springs to feature drought and rural mental health

Australia’s medical researchers unite in the Red Centre for rural health

In a move not seen before, institutions from across Australia are banding together to find new ways to use research to help rural people. Facing an unrelenting drought and the impact this has had on mental health, employment and community survival, rural and regional Australians have welcomed the united support from the inaugural Spinifex Symposium.

Led by NSW Regional Health Partners, the University of New England and the Alice Springs-based Central Australia Academic Health Science Network (CA AHSN), the Spinifex Symposium will address topics including access issues, and the need for health solutions to be “place-based” in regional Australia, not dictated from the major cities.

“This is more than a two-day conference,” University of New England Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer, Professor Brigid Heywood said.

“This is the birthing of a new health research ecosystem in regional Australia. Our goal is to form a new alliance which will respond to the current and future health needs of the people who live in remote regional communities, which are different to their metropolitan counterparts.”

“We need to start a new conversation,” NSW Regional Health Partners director, Professor Christine Jorm said.

“Many of these communities were doing it tough before the drought, and ultimately, without the right research, we may not be able to keep some of these parts of Australia liveable into the future.”

The conference will be held in Alice Springs from November 12-13 and will see representatives from the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, the Australian Psychological Society, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, Australian Rural Health Education Network, Country Women’s Association of Australia and many others unite to identify ways to solve the long term problems created by drought and rural life.

“We all know that we need water in rural communities. But what many people don’t realise is that we need a lot more than that,” Central Australian Aboriginal Congress chief executive Donna Ah Chee said.

“We need to know what the best ways are to support small communities and each other – and they will include listening and sharing and developing the research expertise of our people.”

Executive Director of the Central Australia Academic Health Science Network (CA AHSN) network, Chips Mackinolty, welcomed the Spinifex Symposium.

“It’s totally appropriate that this concerted effort and commitment to building sustained research investment, capacity and employment is being held at the heart of rural and remote Australia,” he said.

“The statistics tell it all: general health outcomes are much poorer in rural and remote areas, and this will be the beginning of a new deal for health research in Australia.”

15 November Productivity Commission national hearings begin as stakeholders respond to draft mental health report

See Croakey managing editor Melissa Sweet’s comprehensive wrap of the 1,238 page, two volume report, in which she urges those concerned with health equity to respond at public hearings or via written submissions (which close 23 January 2020), ahead of the Commission’s final report which is due by the end of May 2020.

Public hearings begin in Canberra on Friday (15 November) and will follow in Melbourne (18-19 November), Geraldton (20 November), Perth (21 November), Sydney (25-26 November), Broken Hill (28 November), Rockhampton (2 December), Brisbane (3 December), and Launceston (9 December). Dates and locations for South Australia and the Northern Territory are yet to be announced.

Mental health stakeholders have to date generally welcomed the draft report, saying it provides a comprehensive consolidation of issues that have long needed urgent attention and recognised the role of broader social determinants like housing and justice systems, and is prompting new thinking on funding and institutional reform.

But there are concerns, in particular from key consumer groups and individuals who believe their voices have not been fully heard, and disappointment from the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) that it did not recommend an immediate increase to Newstart and investment in new social housing units.

There are also early signs of professional concerns, including from the Australian Medical Association, which has said it will be “seeking assurances” on the future of current private sector models, especially specialist psychiatric care, and to be sure that appropriate non-GP specialist referrals are “not a casualty of reform.

Here are some of the key responses to the draft report, and links to more detailed statements.

More responses and analysis can be found in Associate Professor Lesley Russell’s latest Health Wrap.

18 November : The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service will hold an official opening ceremony for the new Epping Clinic on Monday November 18th.

VAHS would like to invite community members/clients to this event. Please RSVP for catering purposes. RSVP or any questions, please contact Bianca Charles on 8592 3920. Hope to see you there!

19 November New National Agreement on Closing the Gap community engagement dates in Queensland

Thursday Island: Monday 11 November ( Closed )
Townsville: Tuesday 19 November
Cairns: Wednesday 20 November
Mt Isa: Tuesday 26 November
Ipswich: Thursday 28 November
Rockhampton: date t.b.c.

More information available HERE

28 November HealthInfonet Environmental Health portal and climate change Webinar

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet is hosting a free webinar on Thursday 28 November 2019 to provide information about our new responsive design Environmental Health portal and climate change section.

The webinar will provide a tour of the Environmental Health Portal, including information on:

  • HealthInfoNet navigation
  • the new search features
  • the new filter features
  • the new climate change section
  • the key facts

The webinar will be presented by research staff from the Environmental Health team.
It will run for approximately 20 minutes, and is free to attend. There is no additional software required to join the webinar, other than a stable internet connection. We’d recommend that participants use a pair of headphones, and we’d also recommend that participants use Google Chrome to view the webinar.
The webinar will be held at:

  • 1:00 pm (NSW, Vic, Tas and ACT)
  • 12.30 am (SA)
  • 12:00 pm (Qld)
  • 11:30 am (NT)
  • 10:00 am (WA).

This is the link to log onto the webinar (you will be able to log on about ten minutes before it starts).
Participants are invited to register their interest prior to the event with the webinar organiser Vilma FitzGerald (contact details below).

Contact details
Webinar Organiser
Vilma FitzGerald
Senior Research Officer
Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet
Ph: (08) 6304 6328
Email: v.fitzGerald@ecu.edu.au

31 January 2020 AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship 2020 closes

This Scholarship is open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are currently studying medicine at an Australian university.

For the purposes of this Scholarship, an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person is someone who is of Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent, who identifies as an Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives or has lived.  Applicants will be asked to provide a letter from an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community organisation supporting their claim.

The Scholarship commences no earlier than the second year of the recipient’s medical degree.  To receive the Scholarship, the recipient must be enrolled at an Australian medical school at the time of application, and have successfully completed the first year of a medical degree.  However, students who are in their first year of medicine are eligible to submit an application for their second year.  Results for the first year will be sought before any award is made.

In awarding the Scholarship, preference will be given to applicants who do not already hold any other scholarship or bursary.

The Scholarship will be awarded on the recommendation of a selection panel drawn from the AMA’s Taskforce on Indigenous Health.  Selection of the Scholarship recipient will be based on:

  • satisfactory academic performance judged on results achieved;
  • reports from referees familiar with applicant’s work and suitability for a career in medicine; and
  • a statement provided by the applicant describing his or her aspirations, purpose in studying medicine, and the uses to which he or she hopes to put his or her medical training.

Each applicant will be asked to provide a curriculum vitae (maximum two pages) including employment history, the contact details of two referees, and formal proof of full-time enrolment in a medical course for the 2019 academic year.

The Scholarship will be awarded for a full course of study, subject to review at the end of each year.  The Scholarship may be withheld or terminated if a Scholarship holder’s performance in any semester is unsatisfactory. The final decision to withhold or terminate a Scholarship is at the discretion of the AMA.

The value of the Scholarship in 2020 will be $10,000 per annum, paid in a lump sum.  Please note that it is the responsibility of applicants to seek advice from Centrelink on how the Scholarship payment may affect ABSTUDY or any other government payment.

Applications close 31 January 2020.

The Indigenous Peoples’ Medical Scholarship Trust Fund was established in 1994 with a contribution from the Australian Government.   In 2016, the Trust Fund became The AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship Foundation.  The Foundation is administered by AMA Pty Ltd.

The Australian Medical Association would like to acknowledge the contributions of the following donors:  Reuben Pelerman Benevolent Foundation; the late Beryl Jamieson’s wishes for donations towards the Indigenous Medical Scholarship; Deakin University; The Anna Wearne Fund and B B & A Miller, sub-funds of the Australian Communities Foundation.

July to October 2020 Adjunct Professor Tracy Westerman’s  Workshops for 2020

Aboriginal Mental Health Assessment & Suicide Prevention in Aboriginal Communities Workshops

Website for more info bookings

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth #SuicidePrevention : New @ozprodcom report says Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are twice as likely as non-indigenous people to be hospitalised because of mental illness, and twice as likely to die by suicide.

 ” The report says Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are twice as likely as non-indigenous people to be hospitalised because of mental illness, and twice as likely to die by suicide.

For those up to 24 years of age, the suicide rate is 14 times higher for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.

And services are far from uniform across the nation, with ­people in capital cities nearly twice as likely to access mental health services as those in ­remote areas.

It recommended services tailored to meet the needs of “particular groups”,  including First Nations people.

Aboriginal health practitioner play an important role in providing culturally capable care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,”

The Productivity Commission, in a forensic examination of mental illness, finds it is costing the ­nation about $500m a day and recommends sweeping policy changes in the health system, workplaces, housing and the ­justice system. see Key findings below 

Download all reports HERE

Or Summary HERE

mental-health-draft-overview

Download NACCHO’s submission to this report

NACCHO-mental-health submission

Read over 230 Aboriginal Mental Health articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years 

Read over 150 Aboriginal Health and Suicide articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years

Today’s news coverage

From todays The Australian

One million Australians with mental health conditions ranging from anxiety and depression to psychosis and borderline personality disorders are going untreated each year, while the economic cost of mental illness has hit $180bn.

The Productivity Commission, in a forensic examination of mental illness, finds it is costing the ­nation about $500m a day and recommends sweeping policy changes in the health system, workplaces, housing and the ­justice system.

Calling for “generational changes’’ to address a problem that is getting worse despite increasing expenditure in the area, the report, to be released on Thursday, estimates there are 3.9 million people with mental illness, but only 2.9 million are ­accessing support and services.

One in eight visits to the GP is related to mental health issues, and mental health presentations at emergency departments have risen by about 70 per cent over the past 15 years.

The system is not adequately helping many people seeking treatment, the report finds, with one million having symptoms too complex to be adequately treated by a GP and limited government-funded sessions available with mental health providers.

But their condition does not reach the threshold to access state-­funded specialised services, private psychiatrists or private hospitals because of long waiting lists or high out-of-pocket costs.

The report finds many people still avoid treatment because of stigma and, with 75 per cent of people with a mental health issue first experiencing symptoms before the age of 25, calls for a greater focus on early ­intervention.

Social and emotional development checks of Australia’s 1.25 million children aged up to three years are among 25 detailed recommendations.

Productivity Commission chairman Michael Brennan said dealing with mental illness was “one of the biggest policy challenges confronting Australia”.

“Mental ill health has huge impacts on people, communities and our economy, but mental health is treated as an add-on to the physical health system — this has to change,” Mr Brennan said.

He highlighted the need for a greater emphasis on early intervention. “Seventy-five per cent of those who develop mental illness first experience symptoms before they turn 25,” he said.

“Mental ill health in critical schooling and employment years has long-lasting effects for not only your job prospects but many aspects of your life.”

Workplace, housing and education reforms to support people with mental illness are also proposed. “Mental illness is the second largest contributor to years lived in ill health,” the report finds.

“Compared to other developed countries, the prevalence of mental illness in Australia is above the OECD average.’’

The report marks the first time mental health has been examined beyond its clinical context into policy areas such as education, housing, justice and the workplace.

The report, a draft inviting public submissions, notes that one in two Australians will be affected by issues such as anxiety and ­depression during their lifetime.

“The cost to the Australian economy of mental ill health and suicide is, conservatively, in the order of $43bn-$51bn a year. ­Additional to this is an approximately $130bn a year cost associated with diminished health and reduced life expectancy for those living with mental ill health.”

The direct costs are broken down into healthcare support and services ($18bn a year), lower economic participation and lost productivity ($10bn-$18bn) and informal care provided by friends and family ($15bn).

Broader social effects such as the cost of stigma or lower social participation aren’t quantified.

The report notes that while costs have risen, “there has been no clear indication that the ­mental health of the population has improved”.

“Community awareness about mental illness has come a long way, but the mental health system has not kept pace with needs and expectations of how the wellbeing and productive capacity of people should be supported,” the commission says.

“The treatment of, and support for, people with mental illness has been tacked on to a system that has been largely ­designed around the characteristics of physical illness.

“And while service levels have increased in some areas, progress has been patchy. The right services are not available when ­needed, leading to wasted health resources and missed opportunities to improve lives.”

The report says Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders are twice as likely as non-indigenous people to be hospitalised because of mental illness, and twice as likely to die by suicide.

For those up to 24 years of age, the suicide rate is 14 times higher for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.

And services are far from uniform across the nation, with ­people in capital cities nearly twice as likely to access mental health services as those in ­remote areas.

The commission also calls out: thin services in the regions; too clinical an approach to mental health concerns; stigma and discrimination leading to a reluctance to seek support; and a lack of clarity between the tiers of government about roles, responsibilities and funding of services.

Among its recommended reforms, it calls for greater specialist mental health services to be ­delivered outside acute, expensive, hospital settings.

It also calls for greater investment in “long-term housing solutions for those with severe mental illness who lack stable housing”. “Stable housing for this group would not only improve their mental health and inclusion within the community, but reduce their future need for higher cost mental health in­patient services,” it says.

Workplace reform is also ­proposed.

The commission invites written submissions by January 23 in response to its draft report, and a final report will be provided to the government in May.

 

 

Australia’s mental health: a generational shift is needed

·     In any year, approximately one in five Australians experiences mental ill-health. While most people manage their health themselves, many who do seek treatment are not receiving the level of care necessary. As a result, too many people suffer additional preventable physical and mental distress, relationship breakdown, stigma, and loss of life satisfaction and opportunities.

·     The treatment of mental illness has been tacked on to a health system that has been largely designed around the characteristics of physical illness. But in contrast to many physical health conditions

–        mental illness tends to first emerge in younger people (75% of those who develop mental illness, first experience mental ill-health before the age of 25 years) raising the importance of identifying risk factors and treating illness early where possible.

–        there is less awareness of what constitutes mental ill-health, the types of help available or who can assist. This creates need for not only clear gateways into mental healthcare, but effective ways to find out about and navigate the range of services available to people.

–        the importance of non-health services and organisations in both preventing mental illness from developing and in facilitating a person’s recovery are magnified, with key roles evident for — and a need for coordination between — psychosocial supports, housing services, the justice system, workplaces and social security.

–        adjustments made to facilitate people’s active participation in the community, education and workplaces have, for the most part, lagged adjustments made for physical illnesses, with a need for more definitive guidance on what adjustments are necessary and what interventions are effective.

·     The cost to the Australian economy of mental ill-health and suicide is, conservatively, in the order of $43 to $51 billion per year. Additional to this is an approximately $130 billion cost associated with diminished health and reduced life expectancy for those living with mental ill-health.

A path for maintainable long term reform

·     Changes recommended are substantial but they would set Australia on a path for maintainable long term reform of its mental health system. Priority reforms are identified and a staged reform agenda is proposed.

Reform area 1: prevention and early intervention for mental illness and suicide attempts

·     Consistent screening of social and emotional development should be included in existing early childhood physical development checks to enable early intervention.

·     Much is already expected of schools in supporting children’s social and emotional wellbeing, and they should be adequately equipped for this task through: inclusion of training on child social and emotional development in professional requirements for all teachers; proactive outreach services for students disengaged with school because of mental illness; and provision in all schools of an additional senior teacher dedicated to the mental health and wellbeing of students and maintaining links to mental health support services in the local community.

·     There is no single measure that would prevent suicides but reducing known risks (for example, through follow-up of people after a suicide attempt) and becoming more systematic in prevention activity are ways forward.

Reform area 2: close critical gaps in healthcare services

·     The availability and delivery of healthcare should be reformed to allow timely access by people with mental ill-health to the right treatment for their condition. Governments should work together to ensure ongoing funded provision of:

 

–     services for people experiencing a mental health crisis that operate for extended hours and which, subject to the individual’s needs and circumstances, provide an alternative to hospital emergency departments

–     acute inpatient beds and specialised community mental health bed-based care sufficient to meet assessed regional needs

–     access to moderate intensity care, face-to-face and through videoconference, for a duration commensurate with effective treatment for the mental illness

–     expanded low intensity clinician-supported on-line treatment and self-help resources, ensuring this is consistently available when people need it, regardless of the time of day, their locality, or the locality choices of providers.

Reform area 3: investment in services beyond health

·     Investment is needed across Australia in long-term housing solutions for those people with severe mental illness who lack stable housing. Stable housing for this group would not only improve their mental health and inclusion within the community, but reduce their future need for higher cost mental health inpatient services.

Reform area 4: assistance for people with mental illness to get into work and enable early treatment of work-related mental illness

·     Individual placement and support programs that reconnect people with mental illness into workplaces should be progressively rolled out, subject to periodic evaluation and ongoing monitoring, to improve workforce participation and reduce future reliance on income support.

·     Mental health should be explicitly included in workplace health and safety, with codes of practice for employers developed and implemented.

·     No-liability clinical treatment should be provided for mental health related workers compensation claims until the injured worker returns to work or up to six months.

Reform area 5: fundamental reform to care coordination, governance and funding arrangements

·     Care pathways for people using the mental health system need to be clear and seamless with: single care plans for people receiving care from multiple providers; care coordination services for people with the most complex needs; and online navigation platforms for mental health referral pathways that extend beyond the health sector.

·     Reforms to the governance arrangements that underpin Australia’s mental health system are essential to inject genuine accountability, clarify responsibilities and ensure consumers and carers participate fully in the design of policies and programs that affect their lives.

–      Australian Government and State/Territory Government funding for mental health should be identified and pooled to both improve care continuity and create incentives for more efficient and effective use of taxpayer money. The preferred option is a fundamental rebuild of mental health funding arrangements with new States and Territory Regional Commissioning Authorities given responsibility for the pooled resources.

–      The National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) should be afforded statutory authority status to support it in evaluating significant mental health and suicide prevention programs. The NMHC should be tasked with annual monitoring and reporting on whole-of-government implementation of a new National Mental Health Strategy.

–      These changes should be underpinned by a new intergovernmental National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Women’s Health : Download results of the @JeanHailes 2019 #WomensHealthSurvey : Which health topics do women want more information on ?

” The results of the fifth annual Jean Hailes Women’s Health Survey were launched by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt – and showed that more than a third of women who responded to the survey said they have had depression (34.6%) or anxiety (39.4%).

Of the almost 10,000 respondents, 42% of women reported feeling nervous, anxious or on edge nearly every day or at least weekly in the past four weeks – and women aged between 18-35 reported the highest levels of anxiety, with 64.1% feeling nervous, anxious or on edge nearly every day or at least weekly in the past four weeks.

Women aged 18-35 are also the loneliest of all age groups—almost 40% reported feelings of loneliness every week .

More than 50% of women aged 36-65 perceive themselves as overweight or obese.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, the proportion who felt discriminated against was around 35% compared with 16% for non-Indigenous women.”

Media coverage from AJP 

More info from Jean Hailes Website 

Download 35 Page Survey Results

2019_Womens_Health_Survey_Full_Report

The survey’s chief investigator and Head of Research Partnerships and Philanthropy at Jean Hailes, Dr Rachel Mudge, says the survey findings “underscore the pressure that women across the country face as they juggle work, young children, as well as ageing parents and other social demands”.

“Rates of anxiety and women’s negative perceptions of their bodies are a common theme in our annual survey, something that social media seems to be fuelling,” Dr Mudge says.

In launching the results, Minister Hunt said that they reflect the health needs and behaviour of almost 10,000 women throughout Australia, and have helped shape a better understanding of the emerging issues and trends in women’s health.

“The survey reveals women want more information on anxiety than any other health topic,” Mr Hunt said.

“Women also want more information on menopause, weight management, bone health and dementia.”

He highlighted the Morrison Government’s investment in women’s health, including the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020–2030 as well as the announcement earlier this year of $35 million for ovarian and gynaecological cancer research through the Medical Research Future Fund.

“More than $37 million has been invested since 2013 through the National Health and Medical Research Council for ovarian cancer research,” Mr Hunt said.

“In 2017-18, the Government spent over $21 million to subsidise medicines for ovarian cancer on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and continues to support improved access to medicines and treatments through the PBS and Medicare.

“We have also provided over $4.5 million to Ovarian Cancer Australia for patient support for the TRACEBACK project and the Ovarian Cancer Case Management Pilot.”

Mr Hunt also highlighted the Government’s recent $13.7 million in activities to deal with endometriosis.

However the Acting Chief Executive of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association Dr Linc Thurecht highlighted inequities between Australian women.

“An alarming one in six women in Australia say they cannot afford to see a health professional when they need one—and the same proportion experience discrimination when doing so.

“Women aged 18–35 found it hardest to afford a health professional—comprising about one in five in this age group,” Dr Thurecht said.

“There was quite a gap between the rich and not-so-rich. People who said they were ‘living comfortably’ almost universally could see a health professional whenever they needed to.

“For people who said they were ‘just getting by’, around 40% could not afford to see a health professional.

“For people who declared they were ‘finding it very difficult’, a staggering 80% said they could not afford to see a health professional when they needed one.

“Around 16% of the total number of women surveyed felt they experienced discrimination in accessing healthcare—but this appeared to improve with age from 20% in the younger age groups to 9% for the oldest (80+) women’, Dr Thurecht said.

“For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, the proportion who felt discriminated against was around 35% compared with 16% for non-Indigenous women.

“These figures, which are about access to needed care, are very disappointing.”

Aboriginal #NACCHOYouth19 #MentalHealth #ClosingTheGap #HaveYourSayCTG : According to new @blackdoginst  @MissionAust report 32 % of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people met the criteria for psychological distress, compared to 23.9% for non-Indigenous young people

It is essential that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people have access to culturally and age-appropriate mental health services that are in close proximity to their homes.

The Australian Government should invest in building the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led and controlled health organisations to deliver these services in communities.

Why ? A greater proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents indicated concerns about suicide (40.2% compared with 6% of non-Indigenous respondents).

Relative to non-Indigenous respondents, a greater proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents with psychological distress indicated concerns about gambling (13.8% compared with 4.2%), domestic/family violence (26.3% compared with 16.8%), drugs (20.1% compared with 10.9%), discrimination (26.3% compared with 18.6%) and alcohol (15.2% compared with 8.6%).

See dedicated focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people Part 2 Below

Read Brooke Blurton’s speaker BIO Here 

” Have you seen the brilliant line-up of speakers at the NACCHO Youth Conference, 4 November 2019 at the Darwin Convention Centre? https://www.naccho.org.au/home/naccho-youth-conference-2019/

Are you under 29 years and working in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health or related sectors?

If so, register NOW for our free NACCHO Youth Conference. Closing 25 October

Places are filling quick! 👉🏾 http://bit.ly/2qALFkH

Part 1 Press Release : A new joint report by Mission Australia and Black Dog Institute indicates that considerably more young people in Australia are experiencing psychological distress than seven years ago.

Almost one in four young people in 2018 say they are experiencing mental health challenges, with young females twice as likely as males to face this issue.

A higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people also met the criteria for psychological distress than their non-Indigenous peers.

The Can we talk? Seven year youth mental health report – 2012-2018 Youth Survey findings of the past seven years – and is co-authored with Black Dog Institute experts – to ascertain and investigate rates of psychological distress experienced by young people in Australia who are aged 15-19.

The report further examines the concerns, general wellbeing and help-seeking behaviours of the close to 27,000 participants of the 2018 Youth Survey aged 15-19, including those who are experiencing psychological distress – highlighting the vital role that friends, parents, services, schools and the internet play as sources of help for young people who are struggling with their mental health.

Key findings include:

  • Close to one in four young people met the criteria for experiencing psychological distress – a substantial increase over the past seven years (rising by 5.5% from 18.7% in 2012 to 24.2% in 2018).
  • In 2018, more than three in ten (31.9%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people met the criteria for psychological distress, compared to 23.9% for non-Indigenous young people.
  • Across seven years, females were twice as likely as males to experience psychological distress. The increase in psychological distress has also been far more marked among females (from 22.5% in 2012 to 30.0% in 2018, compared to a rise from 12.7% to 15.6% for males).
  • Stigma and embarrassment, fear and a lack of support were the three most commonly cited barriers that prevent young people from seeking help.
  • The top issues of personal concern for young Australians experiencing psychological distress were coping with stress, mental health and school or study problems. There was also a notably high level of concern about other issues including body image, suicide, family conflict and bullying/emotional abuse.
  • Almost four times the proportion of young people with psychological distress reported concerns about suicide (35.6% compared with 9.4% of respondents without psychological distress).
  • Young people experiencing psychological distress reported they would go to friend/s, parent/s or guardian/s and the internet as their top three sources of help. This is compared to friend/s, parent/s or guardian/s and a relative/family friend for those without psychological distress.

In response to these findings, Mission Australia’s CEO James Toomey said: “It’s deeply concerning that so many young people are experiencing psychological distress. Youth mental health is a serious national challenge that must be tackled as a priority.

“The sheer volume of young people who are struggling with mental health difficulties shows that there remains urgent need for improved access to timely, accessible and appropriate support. Irrespective of their location, background or gender, young people must have the resources they need to manage their individual mental health journey with access to youth-friendly and evidence-based mental health supports.

“Parents, peers, schools and health professionals are vital sources of support for our young people, so it’s important they are adequately equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to provide effective support when needed. For schools right across Australia, more resourcing is needed to train staff, embed wellbeing personnel and provide evidence-based early intervention and prevention programs.

“In light of these findings, I urge governments to listen to young people’s concerns about mental health and co-design solutions with them.”

With the report confirming that young people experiencing psychological distress are less likely to seek help than those without mental health concerns, Black Dog Institute Director and Chief Scientist, Professor Helen Christensen said: “Global research tells us that over 75% of mental health issues develop before the age of 25, and these can have lifelong consequences.

“We are still in the dark as to why mental health and suicide risk has increased in our current cohort of youth, a finding that is not unique to Australia.

“Adolescence is a critical time in which to intervene, but we also know that young people experiencing psychological distress can be harder to reach. This report shows that young people in distress will seek help directly from the internet. As such, we need to continue to provide online and app-based tools that may be a key part of the solution. We also need to catch the problems upstream by prioritising early intervention and prevention efforts.”

Part 2 Meeting the diversity of young people’s need  : Dedicated focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people

Nearly one third (31.9%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people indicated some form of psychological distress, compared with just under one quarter (23.9%) of non-Indigenous respondents.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people experiencing psychological distress were more likely than their non-Indigenous peers to report feeling as though they had no control over their life and to report lower levels of self-esteem. Further, a greater proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people with psychological distress reported having issues that they did not seek help for, despite thinking they needed to (41.2% compared with 36.2% of non-Indigenous respondents).

Positively the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescent and youth health and wellbeing 2018 report found that in 2014–15 over three-quarters of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 15–24 said, they were happy all or most of the time in the previous 4 weeks.

However, around two-thirds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–24 experienced one or more personal stressors in the previous year, the most common being not being able to get a job, and one in three reported being treated unfairly because they were Indigenous.

This report also showed that most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–24 (67%) experienced low to moderate levels of psychological distress in the previous month, while 33% experienced high to very high level.

When responding to the Youth Survey 2018 greater proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents with psychological distress also indicated concerns about gambling, domestic/family violence, drugs, discrimination, alcohol, LGBTIQ issues and suicide than non- Indigenous respondents with psychological distress.

It is important to take into account these often compounding concerns, as research shows that the leading causes of hospitalisation for mental and behavioural disorders among Aboriginal and

Torres Strait Islander people aged 10-24 years were due to substance abuse, schizophrenia, and reactions to severe stress.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have endured and survived a traumatic and deeply challenging colonisation period that affected all aspects of their collective lives, and which continues to challenge communities, families and individuals today.

At the population level, higher rates  of mental health  difficulties among Aboriginal and Torres  Strait Islander people are intertwined with entrenched poverty, substandard and overcrowded housing, health conditions and disabilities, intergenerational un/under-employment, stressors and trauma, racism and discrimination, and at-risk behaviours in response to sometimes desperate situations.80 In particular, the members of the Stolen Generations and their descendants are ‘more likely to have had contact with mental health services,’ with children in their care often challenged by higher rates of emotional and behavioural difficulties.81

In many cases, responding to population mental health challenges means addressing their deeper, structural causes. These should be identified and solutions co-designed and co-implemented under Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-leadership, including community-controlled organisations and health services. The needs of young people should be prioritised as directed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their representative organisations.

Community-led programs that build on cultural determinants of social and emotional wellbeing and cultural strengths should be supported to help provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people with protective factors against mental health challenges, and particularly against suicide, by supporting a strong sense of ‘social, cultural and emotional wellbeing’ that includes a positive Indigenous/cultural identity. These cultural determinants vary but can include culturally- shaped connections to family, kin, community, and country.

Yet, in many cases, mainstream health and mental health programs fail to incorporate culturally appropriate practices or awareness when working with or treating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing challenges to their wellbeing.

Program funding must be flexible enough to provide for differences, tailor services to meet community and individual needs and to support younger age groups where critical issues arise. It is essential that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people have access to culturally and age-appropriate mental health services that are in close proximity to their homes. The Australian Government should invest in building the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led and controlled health organisations to deliver these services in communities.

Sources of support

Friend/s (63.6%), internet (44.3%) and parent/s or guardian/s (43.5%) were the most commonly cited sources of help for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people with psychological distress. Smaller proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents than non-

Indigenous respondents with psychological distress said they would turn to close personal connections for help, such as friend/s, parent/s or guardian/s, a GP or health professional, school counsellor, brother/sister or a relative/family friend.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have identified challenges in relation to mainstream models of health care offered and their affordability. Aboriginal Controlled Health Organisations have a strong role to play and should be appropriately funded.

Conversely, greater proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents indicated turning to a community agency, social media or a telephone hotline for help. Community agencies therefore need to be funded to provide culturally appropriate support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people experiencing psychological distress.

Suicide prevention

A greater proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents indicated concerns about suicide (40.2% compared with 35.6% of non-Indigenous respondents).

The rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide is a critical public health challenge for Australia. Over the 5 years from 2013 to 2017, one in four Australian children and young people aged 5-17 years who died by suicide were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.86

Designed to complement the mainstream National Suicide Prevention Strategy, the 2013 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy87 was developed to respond to this public health challenge. It recognises the need for investment in holistic and integrated approaches that helps individuals, families and communities have hope for, and optimism about, the future.

In addition to mainstream integrated approach interventions, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) highlighted the need for community- led, locally-based and culturally-appropriate ‘upstream’ preventative activities to address community-level challenges associated with suicide.

Further, ATSISPEP underlined the need for programs that build on cultural determinants of social and emotional wellbeing and its protective factors to have a positive impact against complex mental health challenges, including risks of suicide.88

Recognising the intersectionality between mental health, suicide and substance dependence, the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing requires the integration of mental health, alcohol and other drug, and suicide prevention services in communities.89 However, the Strategy needs a focused implementation plan that is properly costed and operationalised if it is to shape the mental health space.

Part 3 National : Closing the Gap / Have your say CTG deadline extended to Friday, 8 November 2019.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To donate please click on Nathan’s link 

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

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

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

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

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

To donate please click on Nathan’s link 

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

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

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

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

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

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

To donate please click on Nathan’s link 

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

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

 

 

NACCHO #WorldMentalHealthDay Part 2 of 2 : @TheAHCWA Leaders in Aboriginal health and legal services express great concern over inadequate access to mental health support services and the unacceptable #suicide and self-harm rates within Aboriginal communities.

 

AHCWA has major concerns with the lack of culturally secure mental health support services for Aboriginal people and communities, experiencing crisis and trauma on a daily basis”

Chair of the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA), Vicki O’Donnell expresses great concern over inadequate access to mental health support services across WA, and the unacceptable suicide and self-harm rates within Aboriginal communities. See Press release Part 1 below

“It’s the highest rate of suicide in the State this calendar year,”

Speaking at a press conference in Geraldton last week , Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service board chair and former NACCHO Deputy Chair Sandy Davies said the two suicides were among seven deaths this year, which included children as young as 12. Watch Press Conference Part 2 Below

Picture Above : National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project co-ordinator Gerry Georgatos, director Megan Krakouer, National Justice Project principal solicitor George Newhouse, Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service board chair Sandy Davies and Aboriginal Legal Service of WA chief executive Dennis Eggington at ;last weeks press conference in Geraldton. Credit: Tamra Carr, The Geraldton Guardian

Read over 230 Aboriginal Mental Health articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years 

Read over 150 Aboriginal Health and Suicide articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years

Part 1

AHCWA is the peak body for its 23 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services across WA.

This crisis has tragically been highlighted again, with the recent suicides in the Midwest and Gascoyne regions, and the fatal shooting of an Aboriginal Mother in Geraldton who had a history of mental health, alcohol and other drug issues.

Aboriginal people continue to experience systemic racism within the Mental Health and Justice systems, resulting in poor health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal people, their families and communities across WA.

AHCWA provides full support to the Aboriginal Elders and Leaders who gathered in Geraldton to discuss the suicide crisis in the community and are calling for urgent reform of the Mental Health system.

AHCWA calls upon the Government to undertake the following as a matter of urgency:

  • Significant reform of the Mental Health Sector through direct engagement with Aboriginal communities and organisations.
  • Commitment of significant funding for Suicide Prevention for Aboriginal people across WA.
  • Significant investment for the delivery of culturally secure Social and Emotional Well Being services for Aboriginal people and their communities across WA.
  • Greatly improve the awareness and understanding of suicidal behaviour, mental health, alcohol and drug issues through appropriate training of Police and others who work within the justice system.
  • Review of existing sentencing laws to prevent the further breakdown of families and communities.
  • Review of the policies and procedures around the use of lethal force by Police Officers.

Part 2 Leaders in Aboriginal health and legal services have warned of a suicide crisis which they say has included two Indigenous deaths in the Mid West and Gascoyne in the past six days.

Speaking at a press conference in Geraldton  Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service board chair Sandy Davies said the two suicides were among seven deaths this year, which included children as young as 12.

“It’s the highest rate of suicide in the State this calendar year,” he said.

Calls for the State Government to make mental health reforms were top of the agenda at the conference, which comes after the death last month of Aboriginal woman Joyce Clarke.

Ms Clarke was shot in the stomach by a police officer just days after she left hospital due to a mental health incident.

Her death is under investigation, with Police Commissioner Chris Dawson promising independent oversight from the Corruption and Crime Commission and the State Coroner.

According to Ms Clarke’s family, she had a history of drug use and spent a large part of her life in prison.

National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project director Megan Krakouer said the number of Aboriginals going without access to support services was “beyond a joke”.

“People who don’t know what they’re doing in mental health programs just need to get out of the way,” she said.

“I don’t know what good all these representative bodies are doing if it’s not translating to the ground.”

The conference also called on the Government to ensure police no longer respond to mental health incidents, leaving qualified professionals to do so instead.

Speakers insisted on the repeal of mandatory sentencing laws so an offender’s individual circumstances could be taken into account.

It was also said police should never use a gun on someone who did not have a gun, and that a lifelong approach to State-delivered care needed to be adopted, from birth to old age.

Other speakers included GRAMS chief executive Deb Woods, National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project co-ordinator Gerry Georgatos, Aboriginal Legal Service of WA chief executive Dennis Eggington and National Justice Project principal solicitor George Newhouse.

At the time of Ms Clarke’s death, WA Police offered their condolences to her family and have promised a thorough investigation.

Police Commissioner Chris Dawson, who has described the incident as tragic, said eight police officers were present in Petchell Street at the time and witnesses had seen Ms Clarke with a knife before the shooting.

Ms Clarke’s death has fast-tracked the roll-out of body cameras for Mid West and Gascoyne police, who were not scheduled to receive them until 2021.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health #WorldMentalHealthDay 2019: NACCHO recognises the foundations are in place to Closing the #MentalHealth Gap, but the work lies ahead. @cbpatsisp @MenziesResearch #ClosingtheGap #HaveyourSayCTG

“Our people experience very high levels of psychological stress at almost three times the rate of other Australians and are twice as likely to commit suicide.

At the heart of suicide is a sense of helplessness and powerlessness, which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience across multiple domains in direct response to their intractable circumstances.

Almost all of our people who die of suicide are living below the poverty line.

Our children are four times more likely to kill themselves in comparison with other Australian children.

In 2018, suicide was the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, accounting for more than a quarter of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child deaths.”

NACCHO CEO Pat Turner AM highlighting the most vulnerable victims of this mental health crisis

Read over 230 Aboriginal Mental Health articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years 

Read over 150 Aboriginal Health and Suicide articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years

” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will have greater support for their wellbeing with the release of a video in nine Aboriginal languages and in Aboriginal English during Mental Health Week.

Led by Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) and in collaboration with Indigenous communities, “Yarning About Mental Health:

Becoming Better, Becoming Stronger” aims to support the wellbeing of Indigenous communities by drawing on the strength and resilience of communities to promote mental health and wellbeing

See Menzies Press Release and English video version Part 2 below

Download this NACCHO Press Release in PDF HERE

NACCHO is marking World Mental Health Day by emphasising the importance of the 2019 theme and focus, suicide prevention.

In Australia, the rate of suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities continues to grow.

NACCHO believes that suicide prevention initiatives must incorporate culturally safe, holistic approaches that are co-designed with communities, and which consider the physical, emotional, spiritual and cultural wellbeing of individuals and families.

Professor Pat Dudgeon, Director of the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Director, said, “The evidence shows that Indigenous cultural strengths already provide an overarching foundation for the national effort ahead. These strengths contribute to what we call our ‘social and emotional wellbeing’. Strong families, strong communities and strong cultures and cultural identity support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental (and indeed physical) health.”

There is a range of evidence which demonstrates that community-led initiatives, exemplified by the values, beliefs and services of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs), are critical for designing programs that strengthen Social and Emotional Wellbeing and promote healing.

Ms Turner stated, “Our ACCHOs deliver culturally safe, trauma-informed services in communities dealing with the extreme social and economic disadvantage that are affected by intergenerational trauma, but they need more support. Our services know what’s happening on the ground, and the help that our communities need and that is why government funding is so vital.”

NACCHO understands harnessing the global momentum on World Mental Health Day is critical to ensure productive and culturally meaningful solutions are resourced and delivered to drive suicide rates down within Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities.

“NACCHO urges the Commonwealth Government to continue providing support for the national suicide prevention trials in 12 communities by looking at the learnings and how they can transition the successful elements into ongoing funding and programs,” Ms Turner stated.

Part 2 : Media Release Menzies School of Health Research : New resource to promote mental health and wellbeing in Indigenous communities featured during Mental Health Week

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will have greater support for their wellbeing with the release of a video in nine Aboriginal languages and in Aboriginal English during Mental Health Week.

Led by Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) and in collaboration with Indigenous communities, “Yarning About Mental Health: Becoming Better, Becoming Stronger” aims to support the wellbeing of Indigenous communities by drawing on the strength and resilience of communities to promote mental health and wellbeing.

The short video provides information about common mental illnesses and delivers strength- based messages about staying strong and seeking help.

According to project lead, Associate Professor Tricia Nagel, releasing the video during Mental Health Week where the focus is on ‘Do you see what I see’, is very appropriate.

“People tell us that story telling in a way that shares strengths and cultural values, and includes local people and language, is the best way to share wellbeing messages – and that is what this video is all about,” A/Prof Nagel said.

“The video describes key mental health concepts and uses imagery designed to resonate with Indigenous people, drawing on connections to country and kin.”

Menzies Indigenous researcher, Jahdai Vigona says the video has been designed for use by wellbeing service providers and within communities to talk about wellbeing and ways to stay strong.

“It makes talking about mental health more accessible and the discussion more relevant to community members,” Mr Vigona said.
The video is now available on YouTube in nine Aboriginal languages and in Aboriginal English here.

The project was supported by funding from the Australian Government through the Primary Health Network Program.

Menzies’ full suite of mental health resources dedicated to Indigenous wellbeing can be found at www.menzies.edu.au/mentalhealthresources

Part 3 : Have your say about mental health / suicide prevention and what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

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

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

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

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

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