NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth and #CoronaVirus News Alert No 19 #KeepOurMobSafe : Intro @JuliaGillard 10 Help/ supports from @beyondblue Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak plus managing your mental health while in self-isolation or quarantine

1.Try to maintain perspective

2.Find a healthy balance in relation to media coverage

3.Access good quality information

4.Try to maintain a practical and calm approach

5.Try not to make assumptions

6.Managing your mental health while in self-isolation or quarantine

7.Children and young people

8.Support for those experiencing financial hardship

9.Health care workers

10.Seek support

See NACCHO Corona Virus Home Page

Read all 18 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Coronas Virus Alerts HERE

“These are uncertain times. There are many unknowns.

As humans, we’re hardwired to crave stability. If you’re feeling worried and unsettled that is perfectly understandable.

I felt that myself during my recent period of self-isolation in London. At an event for young people called WE Day, I spent quite a bit of time with Sophie Trudeau, the First Lady of Canada.

When she became unwell and tested positive for COVID-19, I was concerned about potentially becoming sick a long way from home.

What I found reassuring was that the public health advice that was so clear.  The recommendation to me was to self-isolate for 14 days from the time of contact.

Fortunately, I stayed fit and well in that period and all my London friends and colleagues, as well as visiting Aussie mates, made sure I had food and stayed connected with video conferences, calls and silly messages.

On my return to Australia I will self-isolate for another 14 days, and I know family and friends will help me through.

For me, this experience has reinforced how a significant part of the solution to this pandemic rests with us.

The daily decisions we make now are critical and every single one of us has a part to play.

Our individual acts can have a powerful collective impact, helping protect those most at risk in our community.

Simple things really matter – good hand hygiene, avoiding mass gatherings, keeping a 1.5 metre distance between ourselves and others, and staying home if we’re unwell or if we’ve been in contact with someone who is.

Beyond Blue recognises and understands the feelings of anxiety, distress and concern many people may be experiencing in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and offers the following wellbeing advice.”

Julia Gillard Chair BeyondBlue : Read full Press Release Here

1.Try to maintain perspective

While it is reasonable for people to be concerned about the outbreak of coronavirus, try to remember that medical, scientific and public health experts around the world are working hard to contain the virus, treat those affected and develop a vaccine as quickly as possible.

2.Find a healthy balance in relation to media coverage

Being exposed to large volumes of negative information can heighten feelings of anxiety. While it’s important to stay informed, you may find it useful to limit your media intake if it is upsetting you or your family.

3.Access good quality information

It’s important to get accurate information from credible sources such as those listed below. This will also help you maintain perspective and feel more in control.

4.Try to maintain a practical and calm approach

Widespread panic can complicate efforts to manage the outbreak effectively. Do your best to stay calm and follow official advice, particularly around observing good hygiene habits.

The Australian Psychological Society has advice about maintaining positive mental health during the outbreak.

5.Try not to make assumptions

To contribute to a sense of community wellbeing, try to remember that the coronavirus can affect anyone regardless of their nationality or ethnicity and remember that those with the disease have not done anything wrong.

6.Managing your mental health while in self-isolation or quarantine

There are a number of ways to support your mental health during periods of self-isolation or quarantine.

  • Remind yourself that this is a temporary period of isolation to slow the spread of the virus.
  • Remember that your effort is helping others in the community avoid contracting the virus.
  • Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues via email, social media, video conferencing or telephone.
  • Connect with others via the Beyond Blue forums thread: Coping during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing.
  • Keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy foods.
  • Try to maintain physical activity.
  • Establish routines as best possible and try to view this period as a new experience that can bring health benefits.
  • For those working from home, try to maintain a healthy balance by allocating specific work hours, taking regular breaks and, if possible, establishing a dedicated work space.
  • Avoid news and social media if you find it distressing.

7.Children and young people

Families and caregivers of children and young people should discuss news of the virus with those in their care in an open and honest way. Try to relate the facts without causing alarm, and in a way that is appropriate for their age and temperament. It is important to listen to any questions they may have, to let them know that they are safe and that it’s normal to feel concerned.

If the media or the news is getting too much for them, encourage them to limit their exposure. This video has some useful tips for talking to young people about scary stuff in the news.

Beyond Blue’s Be You initiative has also developed the following resources to help educators support children and young people’s mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.

8.Support for those experiencing financial hardship

As the ongoing spread of the coronavirus continues to affect the global economy, many people in Australia are losing jobs, livelihoods and financial stability. For information and services provided by the Australian government, please visit Services Australia.

If you are experiencing financial hardship, National Debt Helpline offers free financial counselling.

9.Health care workers

Health care workers may feel extra stress during the COVID-19 outbreak. This is a normal response in these unprecedented circumstances. Such feelings are not a sign of weakness and it’s important to acknowledge this. There are practical ways to manage your mental health during this time, including:

  • getting enough rest during work hours and between shifts
  • eating healthy foods and engaging in physical activity
  • keeping in contact with colleagues, family and friends by phone or online
  • being aware of where you can access mental health support at work
  • if you’re a manager, trying to create mentally healthy work structures.

It’s important the general public recognises the pressure that health systems and workers themselves are under and takes steps to support them where possible. Following government advice about ways individuals can help slow the spread of the virus will support the health care workers who are saving lives and keeping people safe.

10.Seek support

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or stressed by news of the outbreak. We encourage people who have experienced mental health issues in the past to:

  • activate your support network
  • acknowledge feelings of distress
  • seek professional support early if you’re having difficulties.

For those already managing mental health issues, continue with your treatment plan and monitor for any new symptoms.

Social contact and maintaining routines can be supportive for our mental health and wellbeing. In circumstances where this is not possible, staying connected with friends and family online or by phone may assist. Beyond Blue also has a dedicated page on its forums about coping during the coronavirus outbreak.

Acknowledge feelings of distress and seek further professional support if required.

Beyond Blue has fact sheets about anxiety and offers other practical advice and resources at beyondblue.org.au.

The Beyond Blue Support Service offers short term counselling and referrals by phone and webchat on 1300 22 4636.

NACCHO Aboriginal Communities Health and #CoronaVirus News Alert 24 March No 15 :10 practical psychological skills to help you and your loved ones cope with anxiety and worry

” Our mob are susceptible to many different infectious diseases, including coronavirus (COVID-19).

Worrying about diseases is a normal reaction.

But, excessive worrying about infectious diseases can affect both our physical and our mental health.

This page describes practical psychological skills to help you and your loved ones cope with anxiety and worry about infectious diseases.”

From Health Direct Head to Health Corona Virus support 

See NACCHO Corona Virus Home Page

Read all 15 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Coronas Virus Alerts HERE

1. Get informed with the right information

We are ‘hard-wired’ to react to possible threats to ourselves, our families and our communities. These reactions can keep us safe from possible threats. But at times, our reactions may also be excessive and unhelpful, and may cause significant stress and worry.

Relying on news from mainstream media or social media, which may sensationalise or exaggerate issues, can further increase our stress and anxiety.

One way to manage our reactions is to access the ‘right information’, that is, information we can trust. Consider only accessing trusted sources of information (e.g., ABC Radio, Australian Government Department of Health website, World Health Organisation, NACCHO  website, etc).

2. Understand history

Events like infectious diseases often follow a predictable course. In the past 50 years there have been multiple national and international episodes of concern around conditions such as tuberculosis, SARS, Ebola, HIV, hepatitis, measles, to name a few.

Initially, there is often skepticism, followed by attention, followed by panic, followed by reality, followed by a return to normality. Stock markets and supermarket shelves are good indicators of where we are in the course. Reminding yourself of these patterns can help you to understand the course and plan for the future.

3. Get organised

A good antidote to stress and worry is to get active and organised. If you are worried about something, then do something. Make plans and write your list of what you need to buy, organise, or set-up, and get on with doing it. Tick off each item and turn your ‘To Do’ list into a ‘Ta-Da’ list.

Whenever you recognise you are getting stressed, ask yourself, ‘What do I need to do to help manage this situation?’ Remember that family or friends are also likely to be stressed and might need help getting organised. Talk with them about your plans, and if possible, help them to get organised.

4. Balance your thoughts

When we get stressed about our health or risks of infection our thoughts can become dark, brooding, and pessimistic. Thoughts like, “How will I cope if I get sick?”, “I can’t deal with this”, are often triggered by stress, but they don’t help us. Negative and dark brooding thoughts will stop you doing things that can help. Remember, our thoughts are not always true or helpful.

Challenge your negative thoughts by asking yourself what a friend would say in the same situation, or ask yourself what evidence do you have that you ‘won’t cope or can’t cope’? Whenever you recognise a negative thought balance it with a realistic thought.

5. Shut down the noise

Stress is infectious, and often unhelpful. People tend to talk about things they are worried about; this create lots of ‘noise’, which can create even more stress. Give yourself permission to switch off ‘noise’ such as social media, news, or even radio for most of each day. Also give yourself permission to excuse yourself from people who are creating stress.

Keep checking in to reliable news sources once or twice a day, but otherwise, turn down the ‘noise’. Instead, replace it with things that can help you, including doing things you enjoy, listening to music, entertainment, games, or even meditation.

6. Remember who you are

Most people are good, kind, and sensible. They care for others and the environment and want to make the world a better place. These reflect important ‘values’. Stressful times can make it challenging to act in the way that is aligned with our values. But, even when feeling stressed, remember who you are, and what you believe in.

Remember to be gentle, kind, and respectful to yourself and to others; other people are probably as stressed and worried as you are. By reaching out and supporting others you will not only be helping them, but also doing something that will help you to feel good about yourself.

7. Keep healthy routines

We all have routines in our daily lives. For example, we tend to get up at a certain time, brush our teeth in a certain way, get ready for the day’s activities, and follow many other routines until we go to sleep at night. Major events naturally create changes in routines, particularly if we can’t do some of our usual activities.

We know that our emotional health is strongly affected by regular routines; these routines not only help to get us organised, but give us a sense of achievement and accomplishment. Some of our routines involve other people, who also benefit from them, for example, family mealtimes or get-togethers with friends.

Spend some time thinking about the routines that are important to you and those around you, and find clever and safe ways to keep up these routines or create new ones.

8. Stay engaged

Another key strategy for keeping good mental wellbeing is to stay connected and engaged with people and activities that are meaningful. Reflect on what these are for you and schedule time in your routine to keep doing them.

You might have to modify how you stay connected, for example, using Skype or Facetime instead of face-to-face visits. Examples of how to stay engaged include speaking to family and loved ones, using online forums and chat groups, or calling people. Remember that people really appreciate engaging with others, even if this hasn’t been planned.

9. Do the things that you enjoy and that are good for you

When we are stressed we tend to avoid doing things that we normally do, including things which are good for our mental health. We all have activities and hobbies which we enjoy and which give us pleasure. Even if we can’t do those things in exactly the same way due to quarantine or isolation, it is essential that we make time and effort to do things that we find valuable and meaningful and fun.

If possible, try and do these with others; many activities are more fun to do with company. Making a plan to do fun things regularly will give you something to look forward to, which is another key strategy for staying mentally healthy.

10. Keep looking forward

Remember the famous saying, ‘this too shall pass’. It may not feel like it, but things will return to normal. In the meantime, it is important to have confidence that things will improve, that people will recover, and things will get back to normal. In addition to maintaining your long-term goals, also think about things that you will do each day and week, which you can and will enjoy. Again, try and bring others into your plans; they might also benefit from thinking about the future.

This information has been produced in collaboration with the MindSpot Clinic whose assistance is acknowledged and appreciated.

Next steps

You might find online and phone-based mental health resources helpful.

Some suggestions are below.

NACCHO Aboriginal Mental Health News : Download @MenziesResearch and @orygen_aus A practice guide for ‘Improving the Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

 ” Menzies Research and Orygen Australia have developed & just published a practice guide for ‘Improving the Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’.

Little is known about how best to practically meet the social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) needs of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly those with severe and complex mental health needs.

Yet, there is an urgent need for health programs and services to be more responsive to the mental health needs of this population.

Based on recent statistics, 67 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 4-14 years have experienced one or more of the following stressors:

  • death of family/friend;
  • being scared or upset by an argument or someone’s behaviour; and
  • keeping up with school work. “

Download the Report HERE ( See PDF for all research references )

orygen-Practice-Guide-to-improve-the-social-and-emotional-wellbeing-of-young-Aboriginal-and-Torres-Strait-Islander-people

Read over 250 Aboriginal Mental Health articles published by NACCHO over past 8 Years

It is well documented that there are:

  • high rates of psychological distress, mental health conditions, and suicide noted among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people when compared to non-Aboriginal young people;
  • a lack of evidence-based and culturally informed resources to educate and assist health professionals to work with this population; and
  • notable gaps between knowledge and practice, which limits opportunities to improve the SEWB of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This promising practice guide draws on an emerging, yet disparate, evidence-base about promising practices aimed at improving the SEWB of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. It aims to support service providers, commissioners, and policy-makers to adopt strengths-based, equitable and culturally responsive approaches that better meet the SEWB needs of this high-risk population.

Rationale

The Australian Government appointed Orygen to provide Australia’s 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs) with expert leadership and support in commissioning youth mental health initiatives.

Orygen has subsequently commissioned Menzies School of Health Research to identify and document promising practice service approaches in improving SEWB among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with severe and complex mental health needs. This promising practice guide is an output of that work.

What do we know about the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people?

It is recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies provided the optimal condition for their community members’ mental health and social and emotional wellbeing before European settlement.

However, the Australian Psychological Society has acknowledged that these optimal conditions have been continuously eroded through colonisation in parallel with an increase in mental health concerns.2

There is clear evidence about the disproportionate burden of SEWB and mental health concerns experienced among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The key contributors to the disease burden among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 10-24 years are:1 suicide and self-inflicted injuries (13 per cent), anxiety disorder (eight per cent) and alcohol use disorders (seven per cent).3

Based on recent statistics, 67 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 4-14 years have experienced one or more of the following stressors:

  • death of family/friend;
  • being scared or upset by an argument or someone’s behaviour; and
  • keeping up with school work.4

The stressors have a cumulative impact as these children transition into adolescence and early adulthood. Another study has shown that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are at higher risk of emotional and behavioural difficulties.5

This is linked to major life stress events such as family dysfunction; being in the care of a sole parent or other carers; having lived in a lot of different homes; being subjected to racism; physical ill-health of young people and/or carers; carer access to mental health services; and substance use disorders. These factors are all closely intertwined.

Relevant national frameworks and action plans

The Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 (2015) was developed by the Australian Government Department of Health in close consultation with the National Health Leadership Forum. It has a strong emphasis on a whole-of-government approach to addressing the key priorities identified throughout the plan.

The overarching vision is to ensure that the strategies and actions of the plan respond to the health and wellbeing needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across their life course. This includes a focus on young people.6

The National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing 2017-2023 provides more specific direction by highlighting the importance of preventive actions that focus on children and young people.7 This includes:

  • strengthening the foundation;
  • promoting wellness;
  • building capacity and resilience in people and groups at risk;
  • provide care for people who are mildly or moderately ill; and
  • care for people living with severe mental illness.

In addition, the National Action Plan for the Health of Children and Young People 2020-2030 identifies building health equity, including principles of proportionate universalism, as a key action area and identifies Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people as a priority population.8

Social and emotional wellbeing frameworks relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

 

Over the past decades, multiple frameworks have been developed to support the SEWB of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.4-8 These have identified some common elements, domains, principles, action areas and methods.7, 9-12

One of the most comprehensive frameworks is the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing 2017-2023, which has a foundation of development over many years.13

It has nine guiding principles:

  1. Health as a holistic concept: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health is viewed in a holistic context that encompasses mental health and physical, cultural and spiritual health. Land is central to wellbeing. Crucially, it must be understood that while the harmony of these interrelations is disrupted, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ill-health will persist.
  2. The right to self-determination: Self-determination is central to the provision of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services and considered a fundamental human right.
  3. The need for cultural understanding: Culturally valid understandings must shape the provision of services and must guide assessment, care and management of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health problems generally and mental health concerns more specifically. This necessitates a culturally safe and responsive approach through health program and service delivery.
  4. The impact of history in trauma and loss: It must be recognised that the experiences of trauma and loss, a direct result of colonialism, are an outcome of the disruption to cultural wellbeing. Trauma and loss of this magnitude continue to have intergenerational impacts.
  5. Recognition of human rights: The human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples must be recognised and respected. Failure to respect these human rights constitutes continuous disruption to mental health (in contrast to mental illness/ill health). Human rights specifically relevant to mental illness must be addressed.
  6. The impact of racism and stigma: Racism, stigma, environmental adversity and social disadvantage constitute ongoing stressors and have negative impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ mental health and wellbeing.
  7. Recognition of the centrality of kinship: The centrality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family and kinship must be recognised as well as the broader concepts of family and the bonds of reciprocal affection, responsibility and sharing.
  8. Recognition of cultural diversity: There is no single Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture or group, but numerous groupings, languages, kinship systems and tribes. Furthermore, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in a range of urban, rural or remote settings where expressions of culture and identity may differ.
  9. Recognition of Aboriginal strengths: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have great strengths, creativity and endurance and a deep understanding of the relationships between human beings and their environment.13

While the principles outlined above are not specific to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, they are considered to be appropriate within the context of adopting a holistic life-course approach.

What’s happening in practice?

This promising practice guide attempts to collate disparate strands of evidence that relate to enhancing youth mental health; improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander SEWB; and strategies for addressing severe and complex mental health needs.

It has been well documented that there are significant limitations in the evaluation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health programs and services across Australia.22-24 The Australian Governments’ Productivity Commission Inquiry into

Mental Health and the Lowitja Institute are, at the time of producing this document, looking at ways to strengthen work in this space.24, 25

In the absence of high-quality evaluation reports, the term ‘promising practice’ is used throughout this guide.

This is consistent with the terminology used by the Australian Psychological Society through its project about SEWB and mental health services in Australia (http://www.sewbmh.org.au/).

It adopts a strengths-based approach26 which acknowledges and celebrates efforts made to advance work in this space in the absence of strong practice-based evidence.

This is achieved through the presentation of five active case studies.

These reflect organizational, systems and practice focused service model examples. The principles included in the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing 2017-2023 have been mapped against each case study to illustrate how these privilege Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing, doing and being.

Each case study includes generic background information to provide important contextual information; key messages or lessons learned, and reflections from staff involved in the project.

They have been developed in consultation with both the commissioning PHN and the service/organisation funded to develop and/or deliver the framework, program and service. Where possible, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders were consulted during the development of the case studies.

Need help ?

Contact your nearest ACCHO or

If the situation is an emergency please call 000
If you wish to speak to someone immediately who can help call:

Kids Help Line

1800 55 1800
www.kidshelpline.com.au

Lifeline Australia

13 11 14
www.lifeline.org.au

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #AODConnect Resources Alert : Download an app to improve access to #alcohol and other #drugs AOD service information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

The AODconnect app has been developed by the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre to help alcohol and other drug (AOD) workers, community members and health professionals working in the AOD sector to locate culturally appropriate services.

The app aims to support efforts to reduce harmful substance use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Read over 200 Aboriginal Health Alcohol and other Drugs articles published by NACCHO over past 8 years 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are increasingly using online platforms to share and access information about different health topics.

The ownership and use of mobile phones in rural and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is widespread and increasing, making apps a viable way to provide people living in these regions with access to health information.

AODconnect provides an Australia-wide directory of over 270 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander AOD treatment services.

It delivers a portable way to easily access information about service providers such as contact details and program descriptions, helping to facilitate initial contact and referral.

App

Once the app has been downloaded, users can search for AOD services even when their internet connection is unstable or not available.

This is especially useful in rural and remote areas of Australia where the Internet coverage is not always extensive or reliable.

The app enables users to search for services by state, territory, region and postcode via either an interactive map of Australia or by alphabetical listing.

Services can be filtered by the type of treatment they provide: counselling and referral, harm reduction and support groups, outreach, mobile patrols and sobering up shelters, residential rehab, withdrawal management and young people.

The services listed on the app are also available through the Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre website.

The app is free to download on both iOS and Android devices.

If you would like to have your service added to the app or would like more information about the AODconnect app, please contact the Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre email: aodknowledgecentre@healthinfonet.org.au or Ph: (08) 9370 6336.

Alcohol and other drugs GP education program


NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Racism #Aliens : Professor Marcia Langton ” Hysteria over High Court’s ruling is hateful and wrong ” Plus extra comment Stan Grant

” Sixty-five thousand years. This is the earliest established date of human occupation on the Australian continent. It was reported two years ago by archaeologists, based on “the results of new excavations conducted at Madjedbebe”, a rock shelter in Arnhem Land. 

Last week the High Court judges implicitly acknowledged in their findings in the Love and Thoms cases that Aboriginal Australians — even those born overseas and not citizens of Australia — are not within the reach of the “aliens” power in section 51(xix) of the Constitution.

The commonwealth should not resort to entrenchment of race hate and discrimination in dealing with the intersection of criminality, mixed-descent Aboriginal people who are not Australian citizens, and the Migration Act.

This case demonstrates that rule of law is alive and well. What is not clear is whether the ideological use of race in our politics will cease.

We can be sure, though, that hysteria about these issues will continue because weaponising race in the tabloid media is commercially lucrative and builds brand value in the absence of sound citizen values and respect for the rule of law.” 

Marcia Langton is Professor of Australian Indigenous studies at the University of Melbourne. Read full article Part 2 below .

Originally published The Australian 15 February

Read over 120 Aboriginal Health and Racism articles published by NACCHO over past 8 years 

Part 1 Stan Grant 

” This was about our nation’s history: the legacy of dispossession.

Where do First Nations people fit within the Commonwealth? What is it to be Australian? Indigenous? Can we be equally one and the same?

Can two centuries of imported British law and tradition here, extinguish a connection, law, and lore that has existed for time immemorial?

These questions go to the very heart of the legitimacy of the nation. This is what Indigenous people call Australia’s unfinished business.

The judges’ opinions make fascinating and inspiring reading. They are profound, wise, and sensitive.”

The High Court has widened the horizon on what it is to be Indigenous and belong to Australia

Additional comments from Stan Grant (added by NACCHO FYI ) Read in full HERE

Part 2

Daniel Love and Brendan Thoms, ( pictured above ) the former born in Papua New Guinea and the latter in New Zealand, are not citizens but both have an Aboriginal parent. Both ran foul of the law and were charged and sentenced for assault occasioning bodily harm.

The ­Migration Act enabled Home Affairs personnel to cancel their visas, place them in immigration detention and arrange for deportation to their countries of birth. The commonwealth argued in the appeal against their deportation that “since the plaintiffs were not citizens, they were necessarily aliens, and therefore the commonwealth had the jurisdiction to ­deport the plaintiffs pursuant to s 51(xix) of the Constitution”.

The High Court found to the contrary “that the common law must be taken to have recognised that Aboriginal persons ‘belong’ to the land. This recognition is inconsistent with the treatment of Aboriginal persons as strangers or foreigners to Australia. The status of alien provided for in s 51(xix) therefore cannot be applied to them.”

Following the Mabo (No 2) decision in 1992, the response from the Coalition, business, mining, farming and grazing leaders, along with the usual pack of shock jocks, was hysterical and, above all, wrong. So, too, the response during this past week from the hard right and the far right to the High Court decisions in Love v Commonwealth and Thoms v Commonwealth: hysterical, wrong and misleading.

The facts are more important than ever. The idea of “race” — in defining Aboriginal people, in tackling our standing in the Constitution, in legislation and in our everyday enjoyment of civil rights — must be replaced by a more accurate conception of peoples with unique and ancient cultural and genealogical links to this continent.

The eastern part of Australia became a colony of England in 1770, when Lieutenant James Cook declared it a British possession at Possession Island in the Torres Strait. It was Eddie Koiki Mabo from a nearby island, Mer or Murray Island, in 1982, who challenged the arrogance of this imperialist declaration and the legal fiction on which it was based — terra nullius, the Latin term for “empty land belonging to no one” and more particularly governed by no one. In 1992, the High Court recognised within severe limits the pre-existing native title laws of the indigenous peoples and overturned terra nullius.

On January 26, 1788, the colony of NSW was established and thereafter other parts of Australia were declared colonies, eventually numbering six in all. Aboriginal societies and their territories were overrun by settlers and, in many parts, if they survived at all, they did so in much-reduced and horrible circumstances.

The impact of this history on the surviving indigenous populations are many, and the continued attacks on our self-identification as Aboriginal is one of them and, it must be said, is a new and intensified focus of racist attacks.

The contributions of Andrew Bolt to misinformed public perceptions of who is and who is not Aboriginal weaponised this style of attack among the far right. Mark Latham proposed DNA testing for all Aboriginal people, even though this is not possible given the state of the science.

Moreover, the great fear among Aboriginal people who directly bear the burden of our terrible history is the recent proposal to Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton for a register.

This would be the worst instance of racial profiling and establish the grounds for a race-based purge of Aboriginal people. How else should they interpret the relentless drive of Dutton, whose response following the announcement of the decision in Love and Thoms was that he would amend the Migration Act?

How can he do this without suspending the Racial Discrimination Act?

Without entrenching ­racism in our laws?

The High Court affirmed the three-part definition of an Aboriginal person: he or she must be ­descended from an Aboriginal person, must identify as Aboriginal and be recognised by his or her community as such. Facts matter in assessing these issues and, despite the hysteria, that this arrangement has worked well as an administrative guideline for almost a half-century should give Australians confidence.

Australians should feel pride in our common law because it is logical and just: “It follows that a person whom an Aboriginal society has determined to be one of its members cannot answer the description of an alien according to the ordinary understanding of that word.”

Justice Virginia Bell, one of the four judges in the majority, noted: “Whether a person is an Aboriginal Australian is a question of fact.” She went on to point to the origins of the three-part definition of Aboriginality in the Tasmanian dam case in which Justice William Deane proposed the meaning of the term “Australian Aboriginal” as “a person of Aboriginal descent, albeit mixed, who identifies himself as such and who is recognised by the Aboriginal community as an Aboriginal”. Deane inclined to the view that the reference was to the “Australian Aboriginal people generally rather than to any particular racial sub-group”.

The Love and Thoms submissions relied on Justice Gerard Brennan’s formulation in Mabo (No 2) for the meaning of “Aboriginal” Australian: “(m)embership of the indigenous people depends on biological descent from the indigenous people and on mutual recognition of a particular person’s membership by that person and by the elders or other persons enjoying traditional authority among those people.”

The shift from a cultural interpretation of an indigenous polity in the Tasmanian case to a biological one in the Mabo case is a reflection of the increasing misunderstanding of the notion of race, the colonial racialisation of hundreds of Aboriginal peoples as a single race and the worsening commitment to a eugenicist view of humanity, even among our most educated.

A cultural and historical view of indigenous peoples, their antiquity and their belonging is key to getting constitutional issues right. Race is a dangerous concept and my view is that we must dispense with it.

The High Court declined, however, to determine the facts on Aboriginality in the case of Love and Thoms, and instead found: “If the commonwealth did not accept Mr Love’s pleaded case, that he is a member of the Aboriginal race of Australia, the appropriate course was for the proceeding to have been remitted to the Federal Court of Australia for the facts to be found.”

There is so much to understand about the High Court’s findings, and further issues will be raised by the Federal Court if the commonwealth does, indeed, seek clarification of the Aboriginality of Love. The commonwealth should not resort to entrenchment of race hate and discrimination in dealing with the intersection of criminality, mixed-descent Aboriginal people who are not Australian citizens, and the Migration Act.

This case demonstrates that rule of law is alive and well. What is not clear is whether the ideological use of race in our politics will cease. We can be sure, though, that hysteria about these issues will continue because weaponising race in the tabloid media is commercially lucrative and builds brand value in the absence of sound citizen values and respect for the rule of law.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Mental Health News : Debating Aboriginal identity: the untold health impacts

” What will this do to individuals and the collective? What will this do to our health and wellbeing?

To grasp its impact, the definition of Aboriginal health needs to be understood. Aboriginal health encompasses “not just the physical wellbeing of an individual but refers to the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the whole Community in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being, thereby bringing about the total wellbeing of their Community”.

This debate is hurting our communities; therefore, we as peoples are not healthy.

Aboriginal people pitted against Aboriginal people; this is all playing out in public with very little to gain “

Divisive public debates about Aboriginal identity are causing harm, according to Summer May Finlay, a Yorta Yorta woman, public health academic, and contributing editor at Croakey.

Originally published HERE

Image above sourced from HERE

 ” What is vexing is that through all the heat of debate, for all the claims and counterclaims, the only ones having their reputations tarnished, careers damaged and division sowed is within the Indigenous community.

Culture wars or identity politics are fertile ground for debate between commentators of various leanings, often burnishing their reputations, but for those in the line of fire, it can be a brutal arena.

Is that really the place the Indigenous community should be finding itself in at this time?

The Uluru Statement from the Heart was a laudable start to giving Indigenous Australians a voice in shaping their and the nation’s future.

The Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt is spending a year consulting with the Aboriginal community to help give shape to that statement in the form of a Voice to Parliament.

This seminal debate needs to be given the time and space to be fully understood, not buried by squabbling over issues that offer little in the way of common ground or further understanding of what is required to bring about reconciliation to this country. “

The Age Editorial 9 February Ancestry squabble damages Indigenous cause

In light of the recent very public events around author Bruce Pascoe’s Aboriginal identity, leading psychologist and Njamal woman Adjunct Professor Tracy Westerman has raised some really important discussions around the impact of questioning mob’s identity and particularly lateral violence, on individuals mental health.

She had a yarn with @nitv_au that we think needs to be shared in order to emphasise how vital it is that we focus on supporting and lifting each other up, rather than tearing each other down or criticising the ways we express our identity:

“On a daily basis, I hear of identity struggles. Particularly from those who don’t know their history and cannot ‘prove’ connection as a direct result of assimilation policies. Robust identity formation is a complex and long term journey for Indigenous people as it is for any marginalised group.

Our best evidence tells us that a strong sense of cultural identity moderates suicide & mental health risk… [but] race-based trauma comes increasingly from lateral or within-group racism with around 95 per cent of Indigenous people experiencing it.

The great irony is that the people pushing for a so-called ‘test’ of Aboriginality are hurting the people they are arguing they are trying to protect.”

We are one mob, one family and we’re all on different journeys. Respect and love is paramoun🖤💛❤️

Additional comment  from Tiddas 4 Tiddas Facebbok post ( added by NACCHO FYI )

Image from the cover of ‘Working Together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Wellbeing Principles and Practice’, which details the importance of connection to culture and a strong identity for health and wellbeing

Aboriginal identity has hit the headlines again. Public debate about who is and is not Aboriginal is often a national pastime for non-Aboriginal people. This time, however, the debate has been reignited by an Aboriginal person.

And it’s raising some significant health concerns that merit discussion and investigation.

As has been widely reported, Aboriginal lawyer Josephine Cashman recently wrote to Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton asking him to investigate Bruce Pascoe for fraud, alleging that the author of award-winning Dark Emu falsely claims to be Aboriginal.

Pascoe categorically denies this allegation.

Minister Dutton subsequently referred Pascoe to the Australian Federal Police for investigation, and news reports yesterday cited a letter from the AFP saying no Commonwealth offences had been identified and that they had closed the case.

Cashman also requested that an Aboriginal register be established to ensure that people cannot falsely claim to be Aboriginal.

Excerpt from Josephine Cashman’s letter to Minister Dutton, dated 24 December 2019

Notable Aboriginal people – including Federal Minister Ken Wyatt, Federal MP Linda Burney, senior academics Professor Marcia Langton, Professor Gracelyn Smallwood, Dr Marlene Longbottom (see her tweets on related matters), Associate Professor Chelsea Bond and Amy Thunig – have rejected the register proposal.

Cashman also seems to support the confirmation of Aboriginality through DNA testing, a suggestion recently revived in the lead up to the NSW election by Mark Latham, a One Nation representative in the NSW Legislative Council.

Essentially, Cashman has opened a large can of worms for Aboriginal people. And while some support her calls, I do not.

I am a Yorta Yorta woman and grew up on Awabakal country (West Lake Macquarie, NSW). I have the privilege of being connected to my mob both in Lake Macquarie and nearby Newcastle and on Yorta Yorta country. My lineage is clear and indisputable. I know, however, that not all Aboriginal people have the privilege of such strong connections, due to no fault of their own.

I am disappointed, upset and angry that Cashman has used her privileged position to prosecute a cause publicly and politically. It has the potential to do little good and so much harm. If these issues are to be raised, it is a conversation that should be undertaken privately by Aboriginal people.

Firstly, a DNA test to confirm Aboriginality is absolutely not possible. An Aboriginal reference genome(s) has not been scientifically established, and there is no guarantee that there will be one.

History matters

The call for DNA testing is nothing but a divisive political tool used by the far-right, harking back to a time when the state controlled Aboriginal people during the time of the assimilation policy.

The assimilation policy aimed to destroy Aboriginal culture by integrating us into the broader Australian culture, which at the time was based on English values. This policy was multi-faceted and included the removal of children from their families as well as forcing people to deny their heritage and culture if they were to enjoy white privileges.

When children were removed, their skin colour determined their fate. Fair skinned children who could pass as white were placed with white families, never to know their Aboriginal culture. Remaining children were placed in group homes, trained for menial labour. Again, they were not allowed to maintain their connection to families and culture.

Adults were often forced to choose between their extended families and culture, and improved opportunities. For example, to be exempt from the NSW Aborigines Protection Act, under which the state controlled their lives, they were not allowed to speak in language, practise culture and associate with other Aboriginal people. They did what they felt was right for them and their families at the time.

The long-term impact today is that many of their descendants now have little to no connection to their Aboriginal community.

Credit: : Connecting with the Aboriginal History of Yarra- A Teachers resource Levels 3-10https://aboriginalhistoryofyarra.com.au/teachersresource.pdf

Additionally, Aboriginal people historically have experienced extreme racism and discrimination. Therefore, in the past, to protect themselves and their families, some people with fairer skin denied their Aboriginality. This has also meant that many of their ancestors have become disconnected from their mob.

All of this is well known in Aboriginal communities.

Cashman, of course, has her supporters, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, including right-wing political commentator Andrew Bolt.

She posted several messages of support from Aboriginal people on her Twitter account, demonstrating that as a collective of Peoples, we have not even come close to addressing the legacy caused by the assimilation policy and racism.

By attacking Pascoe, Cashman is continuing the mission of the assimilation policy against those who are most vulnerable in our communities.

We, as a collective of diverse Peoples, have inherited issues caused by past government policies. These policies have significantly impacted people, due to no fault of their own, by denying them their culture.

Health implications

What will this do to individuals and the collective? What will this do to our health and wellbeing?

To grasp its impact, the definition of Aboriginal health needs to be understood. Aboriginal health encompasses “not just the physical wellbeing of an individual but refers to the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the whole Community in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being, thereby bringing about the total wellbeing of their Community”.

This debate is hurting our communities; therefore, we as peoples are not healthy.

Aboriginal people pitted against Aboriginal people; this is all playing out in public with very little to gain.

We know that there is a clear link between past policies and health and wellbeing. We know the links between stress and health.

The Stolen Generations and their families have suffered poorer health than other Aboriginal people.

It’s clear through epigenetics, that what happened to our mothers and grandmothers, affects us even before we are born, impacting health during childhood and beyond. And we know that a strong connection to culture has a positive impact on a person’s health and wellbeing.

I have watched the struggles of friends and colleagues, who know they are Aboriginal but know little about their lineage. They have struggled to understand their place in the world. They often feel a sense of loss, as if part of them is missing.

They worry that if they publicly identify as Aboriginal without having ALL the answers to questions thrown at them that they may be further ostracised.

Cashman has made their fears a reality. Her pursuit of Pascoe could be used as an excuse to go back to the bad old days of Aboriginal identify being controlled by the state.

The outcome for Pascoe is uncertain; however, what is certain is the damage this debate has caused Aboriginal people across the country.

Pascoe is not the only person whose identity Cashman has attacked.

Journalist Jack Latimore wrote an opinion piece on the issues raised by Cashman, “Bruce Pascoe’s identity is no business of the Commonwealth”.

In response, she questioned his Aboriginality in a tweet since deleted.

What we can learn from this sorry episode is that efforts to divide Aboriginal people and to undermine our sense of identity are damaging for people’s health and wellbeing.

• Summer May Finlay (CSCA, TAE, BSocSC and MPHA) is a PhD candidate in Aboriginal national key performance indicators at the University South Australia, works for the University of Wollongong as a lecturer in Public Health, and is a research assistant at the University of Canberra. She is currently the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Vice President for the Public Health Association of Australia and is also the Co-Vice Chair of the World Federation of Public Health Associations Indigenous Working Group.

Follow on Twitter: @SummerMayFinlay

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Children’s Health : Download @AusHumanRights Children’s Rights Report 2019 — In Their Own Right : Our kids continue to face significant disadvantage across a range of domains

“ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Australia continue to face significant disadvantage across a range of domains relevant to their rights and wellbeing, including in relation to health and education outcomes, discrimination, exposure to family violence, and overrepresentation in child protection and youth justice systems.

Most recommendations made throughout this report apply to all children living in Australia, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

However, given the significant disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, this chapter (12 ) contains recommendations which are specific to their circumstances.”

Extract from Australia’s first Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell who today launched her final report – one of the most comprehensive assessments of children’s rights ever produced in Australia.

See Pages 256 to 271 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children or read Health extract below

Download full report 300 + Pages 

childrensrightsreport_2019_ahrc

Read over 380 Aboriginal Children’s Health articles published by NACCHO over the past 8 years

AHRC Press Release 

The report makes clear that the mental health of Australian children is not being cared for sufficiently and that Governments must do more to ensure children’s wellbeing.

Commissioner Mitchell said: “Not only do children require better access to mental health services, but they also need earlier intervention and higher quality care.”

The report calls on the Federal Government to develop a National Plan for Child Wellbeing and to appoint a Cabinet level Minister with responsibility for children’s issues at the national level.

National data shows one in seven children aged four to 17 were diagnosed with mental health disorders in a 12-month period, and rates of suicide and self-harm are increasing.

Suicide was the leading cause of death for children aged five to 17 in 2017, and Indigenous children accounted for almost 20% of all child suicides. There were 35,997 hospital admissions for self-harm in the ten years to 2017.

Other urgent concerns highlighted in the report include that, from 2013 to 2017 there was a 27% increase in reported substantiations of child abuse and neglect. The number of children in out-of- home care has increased by 18% over the last five years. Also, approximately 17% of children under the age of 15 live in poverty.

Commissioner Mitchell said: “The increase in neglect and abuse of children is a particularly worrying trend, as is the increase in children living in out of home care. We must do better.”

The report shows children in vulnerable situations suffer most through a lack of government focus. This includes Indigenous children, children with a disability, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and LGBTI children.

Commissioner Mitchell said: “There is a gap between the rights we have promised vulnerable children and how those rights are implemented. It is vital that we address the gap in order to better protect children’s rights.”

Attorney General Christian Porter tabled the report in Parliament on Thursday, 6 February.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the oldest civilisation on earth, extending back over 65,000 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are vastly diverse in culture, language and in spiritual beliefs.[i] At the time of colonisation, there were over 500 separate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations, over 250 languages spoken, and 800 dialectical varieties.[ii]

In its Concluding Observations (2019), the Committee on the Rights of the Child urged the Australian Government to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their communities are meaningfully involved in the planning, implementation and evaluation of policies concerning them.[iii]

Health Inequality 

The disparity in health status between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their non-Indigenous counterparts remains a crucial human rights issue within Australia.[iv] This is despite the investment in Closing the Gapa national strategy to reduce health and related inequalities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which has been in place since 2008.

In its Concluding Observations (2019), the Committee on the Rights of the Child urged the Australian Government to promptly address the disparities in the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.[v]

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reported in 2018 that there are major gaps in data on important health issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.[vi] This includes culturally-appropriate data that measures wellbeing, treatment of mental health conditions, sexual health (including use of contraception and sexual health services), and use of primary health care services.[vii]

It pointed out that data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 10–14 years is limited, compared to those aged 15–19 and 20–24, as both the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People Health Survey 2012–13 and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey 2014–15 were more focused on adults.[viii] 

In 2018–19, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) has, for the first time, included up to two child members of each selected household aged 0 to 17.[ix] The results from NATSIHS 2018–19 will be available in late 2019.[x] The inclusion of those aged 0 to 17 is a welcome addition.

The Australian Human Rights Commission (the Commission) also welcomes Mayi Kuwayu: The National Study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing and hopes that it will collect data on children aged 0–17.[xi]

Child mortality

Since the Closing the Gap target baseline was set in 2008, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child mortality rates have declined by 10%.[xii]

However, the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and non-Indigenous children has not narrowed, because the non-Indigenous rate has declined at a faster rate.[xiii] It is for this reason that measuring the gap is not always helpful.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants are three times as likely as non-Indigenous infants to die between one and six months of age, and twice as likely to die for all other age categories except for one day to one week old, where the risks are equivalent.[xiv]

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 2.1 times more likely to die before their fifth birthday compared to their non-Indigenous peers.[xv]

Ear disease

Ear disease is a significant health issue facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–14 are 2.9 times more likely to have long-term ear or hearing problems compared with non-Indigenous children.[xvi]

Limited access to primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children can result in delayed diagnosis, treatment and management of health conditions.

Long-term ear or hearing problems are linked to delays in speech and language development.[xvii] These can have lasting impacts on educational and workforce outcomes.

The AIHW pointed out in its report on Australia’s Health 2018 that there is no national statistical profile of ear disease and associated hearing loss for Aboriginal and Torres Strait children based on diagnostic assessment. It argued that, without good-quality surveillance, it is difficult to understand the size and key determinants associated with the hearing problem.[xviii]

Obesity

The most recent data available from the AIHW shows that in 2012–13, 30% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2–14 were overweight or obese, compared with 25% of their non-Indigenous counterparts.[xix]

One in five (20%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2–14 were overweight and one in ten (10%) were obese. At age 15–17, 35% were overweight or obese. About one in five (21%) were overweight, while about one in seven (14%) were obese.[xx]

Of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys aged 2–14, 18% were overweight and 10% were obese. At age 15–17, 21% were overweight and 17% were obese. Among girls aged 2–14 and those aged 15–17, 21% were overweight and 11% were obese.[xxi]

Children with obesity are more likely to be obese as adults and have an ‘increased risk of developing both short and long-term health conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease’.[xxii]

Mental health

The likelihood of probable serious mental illness has been found to be consistently higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children compared to their non-Indigenous peers.[xxiii]

National Coronial Information System data show that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–17 accounted for 19.2% of all child deaths due to suicide between 2007–15. [xxiv] Specifically, there were:

  • one to three deaths in the 4–9 year age range
  • one to three deaths in the 10–11 year age range
  • 12 deaths in the 12–13 year age range
  • 45 deaths in the 14–15 year age range
  • 62 deaths in the 16–17 year age range. [xxv]

The AIHW collects hospital data on intentional self-harm. Children who engage in intentional self-harm, with or without suicidal intent, often only experience hospitalisation because they cannot manage their injury without medical intervention. Approximately 8% of hospitalisations for intentional self-harm between 2007–08 and 2016–17 involved Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.[xxvi] Of the 2,928 hospitalisations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, 17 (<1%) were for children aged 3–9, 859 (29%) were for children aged 3–14 and 2,052 (70%) were for children aged 15–17.[xxvii]

In its Concluding Observations (2019), the Committee on the Rights of the Child called on the Australian Government to prioritise mental health service delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, including addressing the underlying causes of children’s suicide and poor mental health.[xxviii]

Sexual health

The fertility rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teenagers are approximately 5.8 times the rate for non-Indigenous teenagers (52 per 1,000 females compared to nine per 1,000 females).[xxix]

The Committee on the Rights of the Child in its Concluding Observations (2019) specifically called for the Australian Government to strengthen its measures to prevent teenage pregnancies among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls, including by providing culturally sensitive and confidential medical advice and services. [xxx]

The levels of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in children, especially those from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, are particularly concerning. The rates of infection within these communities are recognised as being the highest of any identifiable population in Australia.[xxxi]

For example, 2016 data from the Northern Territory, shows there were 161 notified cases of chlamydia in Aboriginal children under 16 years compared to three cases in non-Indigenous children; 186 notified cases of gonorrhoea in Aboriginal children under 16 years compared to one case in a non-Indigenous child; 26 notified cases of syphilis in Aboriginal children under 16 years with no notified cases for non-Indigenous children; and 240 notified cases of trichomoniasis in Aboriginal children under 16 years with no notified cases for non-Indigenous children.[xxxii]

Aboriginal Medical Services play a crucial role in providing health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Research has suggested that ‘one of the most productive ways forward with regards to improving knowledge and increasing safe sex practice among young Aboriginal people is through community-controlled organisations’.[xxxiii]

[i] Reconciliation Australia, Share Our Pride, Our shared history (2019) <http://shareourpride.reconciliation.org.au/sections/our-shared-history/&gt;.

[ii] Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Indigenous Australian Languages, 2019 (14 March 2019) <https://aiatsis.gov.au/explore/articles/indigenous-australian-languages&gt;.

[iii] United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations on the Combined Fifth and Sixth Periodic Reports of Australia, 82nd Sess, UN Doc CRC/C/AUS/CO/5-6 (30 September 2019) para 46(a).

[iv] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Trends in Indigenous Mortality and Life Expectancy 2001–2015 (Report, 1 December 2017) vii.

[v] United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations on the Combined Fifth and Sixth Periodic Reports of Australia, 82nd Sess, UN Doc CRC/C/AUS/CO/5-6 (30 September 2019) para 36(a).

[vi] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescent and youth health and wellbeing 2018 (Report, 2018) xii.

[vii] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescent and youth health and wellbeing 2018 (Report, 2018) xii.

[viii] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescent and youth health and wellbeing 2018 (Report, 2018) 6.

[ix] Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (2018) <www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/Home/Survey+Participant+Information+-+National+Aboriginal+and+Torres+Strait+Islander+Health+Survey>.

[x] Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (2018) <www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/Home/Survey+Participant+Information+-+National+Aboriginal+and+Torres+Strait+Islander+Health+Survey>.

[xi] Mayi Kuwayu: The National Study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing (2019) <https://mkstudy.com.au/&gt;.

[xii] Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Closing the Gap Report: Prime Minister’s Report 2019 (Report, 2019) 10 <https://ctgreport.niaa.gov.au/&gt;.

[xiii] Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Closing the Gap Report: Prime Minister’s Report 2019 (2019) 10 <https://ctgreport.niaa.gov.au/&gt;.

[xiv] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia’s health 2018 (Report, 2018) 317 <www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/7c42913d-295f-4bc9-9c24-4e44eff4a04a/aihw-aus-221.pdf.aspx?inline=true>.

[xv] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia’s health 2018 (Report, 2018) 31 <www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/australias-health-2018/contents/table-of-contents>.

[xvi] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia’s health 2018 (Report, 2018) 322 <www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/australias-health-2018/contents/table-of-contents>.

[xvii] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia’s health 2018 (Report, 2018) 321 <www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/australias-health-2018/contents/table-of-contents>.

[xviii] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia’s health 2018 (Report, 2018) 329 <www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/australias-health-2018/contents/table-of-contents>.

[xix] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, A Picture of Overweight and Obesity in Australia 2017 (Report, 2017) 14 <https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/172fba28-785e-4a08-ab37-2da3bbae40b8/aihw-phe-216.pdf.aspx?inline=true&gt;.

[xx] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Overweight and obesity: an interactive insight: A web report (19 July 2019) <www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/behaviours-risk-factors/overweight-obesity/overview>.

[xxi] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Overweight and obesity: an interactive insight: A web report (19 July 2019) <www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/behaviours-risk-factors/overweight-obesity/overview>.

[xxii] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Children Who are Overweight or Obese (2009) 1 <www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/LookupAttach/4102.0Publication24.09.093/$File/41020_Childhoodobesity.pdf>.

[xxiii] Mission Australia, Youth Survey Report 2017 (2017) 4 <www.missionaustralia.com.au/publications/research/young-people>.

[xxiv] National Coronial Information System. Report prepared for the National Children’s Commissioner on Intentional Self-Harm Fatalities of Persons under 18 in Australia 2007–2015. Report prepared on 07/02/2018.

[xxv] National Coronial Information System. Report prepared for the National Children’s Commissioner on Intentional Self-Harm Fatalities of Persons under 18 in Australia 2007–2015. Report prepared on 07/02/2018.

[xxvi] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Data request Specification on self-harm prepared for the Australian Human Rights Commission 2007-2008 to 2016-17 (2018).

[xxvii] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Data request Specification on self-harm prepared for the Australian Human Rights Commission 2007-2008 to 2016-17 (2018).

[xxviii] United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations on the Combined Fifth and Sixth Periodic Reports of Australia, 82nd Sess, UN Doc CRC/C/AUS/CO/5-6 (30 September 2019) para 38(a), (b).

[xxix] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Children’s Headline Indicators: Teenage Births (2018) <www.aihw.gov.au/reports/children-youth/childrens-headline-indicators/contents/indicator-14>.

[xxx] United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations on the Combined Fifth and Sixth Periodic Reports of Australia, 82nd Sess, UN Doc CRC/C/AUS/CO/5-6 (30 September 2019) para 39(a).

[xxxi] Royal Commission and Board of Inquiry into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory (Final Report, 2017) vol 3b, 82.

[xxxii] Royal Commission and Board of Inquiry into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory (Final Report, 2017) vol 3b, 82.

[xxxiii] The Kirby Institute, Sexual Health and Relationships in Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People: Results from the first national study assessing knowledge, risk practices and health service use in relation to sexually transmitted infections and blood borne viruses (Report, 2014) 54.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #AustraliaDay or #InvasionDay #ChangetheDate Debate : Editorial from @KenWyattMP @LindaBurneyMP and Marion Scrymgour

“We can have anger at the past, the pain and the hurt … but at some point we’ve got to give our children a better future.

It’s not about Captain Arthur Phillip landing in Sydney. It’s about the way we’ve grown firstly into a federation, but … a country of incredible people.

The colour of our skin did matter once, but it doesn’t anymore.

It’s about a society that has many hues of colour.”

Strongly supporting the date of the national day remaining as it is,  Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt said Australia’s history was marked with events “that none of us on reflection like”. See full SMH Article Part 1 below

How can Australia possibly persist in celebrating as its national day the colonial acts of a foreign country?

Without even touching on the sensitivities of Indigenous people, where does that leave the majority of Australians who came to or are descended from people who came to this country since Federation (including exponentially increasing numbers of Asian Australians)?

And finally, just to return to the issue of the stake of Indigenous people in this nation.

Some have suggested that because there are pressing and immediate issues which are undermining our prospects for progress and wellbeing, it is inappropriate to spend time and energy participating in the debate about our national day.

Like many others who are committed to tackling domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and unemployment amongst our people, I believe we can walk and chew gum at the same time.”

Marion Scrymgour is a former CEO of Wurli Wurlinjang Aboriginal Corporation and Chairperson of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory. Currently CEO Tiwi Islands Regional Government, and formerly a senior Minister in the NT Cabinet : see in full Part 2 Below

 ” As another Australia Day comes around, calls get louder to change the date, or the name. To Indigenous Australians, January 26 marks an invasion. But as international law expert Rowan Nicholson explains today, it does to international law as well.

He writes that while we don’t need European law, which was tainted by racism and colonialism, to validate the perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the landing of the British on Australian soil counts as an invasion based on their legal definitions at the time.

So if it was an invasion according to the Indigenous peoples and the colonisers, perhaps the term shouldn’t be so contentious after all.”

Read The Conversation HERE 

Pay the Rent.  “It is the theme of this year’s Invasion Day rally in Melbourne.

Pay The Rent is not a new concept.

It’s something that our old people came up with over 40 years ago. It was developed and fully endorsed by the National Aboriginal and Islander Health Organisation (NAIHO) in the 1970s. NAIHO (a uniquely grassroots, representative organisation of Aboriginal people from all over Australia) was how our people grew the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health movement from the first Aboriginal health services in Redfern and Fitzroy to a nation-wide network of over 80 services within 10 years.

It was a remarkably successful large-scale self-help movement. We are reviving it to help ourselves.”

From The Big Smoke

It is possible to enjoy January 26 – to celebrate our country, and our many achievements – but it is equally important to reflect on our difficult and painful past.

While the dispossession and separation of First Nations families first occurred many years ago – it continues in different shapes and forms today.

The impact – through intergenerational trauma – can be seen and felt to this day.

We can see this in the disparity in quality of life outcomes between First Nations and non-Indigenous Australians.

If you would like to spend Australia Day as a day of reflection as well as a day of celebration, there are many ways to do this. They do not conflict “

Linda Burney ALP Sydney Member for Barton  : See in full Part 3 below

Part 1 : Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt says Australia Day should remain on January 26 and commemorations around the country instead mark both the “good and the bad” of the nation’s history since 1788.

In an exclusive interview with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Mr Wyatt said Australia’s “dark beginnings” must be recognised in communities across the country but not overshadow celebrations of the “remarkable” multicultural country it has become.

Cautious about engaging in the culture war that has increasingly plagued the occasion, Mr Wyatt said the day was an opportunity for Australians of all backgrounds to bond as a nation but also acknowledge that many First Nations people found it difficult.

He said “first and foremost” it was a day to celebrate “the good things in life” with family, friends and community and respect each other’s contribution to the nation.

“Forget the date. Let’s celebrate what we have. Let’s celebrate our place as Indigenous Australians in Australian society. And let’s celebrate our achievements, our resilience, and the contribution that we are now making to broader Australian society,” he said.

Mr Wyatt, who is the first Indigenous man to be Minister for Indigenous Australians, said instead of rallying to move the date, Australians must engage in a new generation of “truth telling”.

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt wants more recognition for indigenous Australians.

He said monuments such as the one erected at Myall Creek marking one of the darkest events in Australia’s colonial history were a positive step forward.

“Aboriginal and non Aboriginal people came together, acknowledged their past history of an event that left a deep scar.”

He said if that could be replicated across our nation, including the dual naming of towns and regions, it would be “an incredible step forward”.

“There is much to celebrate, there is much to remember, [but] let’s take the positive aspects of life,” Mr Wyatt said.

He said he knew some Indigenous leaders would be “disappointed” with his “optimism”.

“I think it is more important that if we want to change the future, that we have to be at the forefront of wanting those changes, because we see the benefits that will be derived from it,” he said.

“What I love about the generation of young people coming through now is that they are optimistic. They see an incredible future ahead of themselves.”

Mr Wyatt said First Australians were entitled to be angry at the past and conceded the 1950s Australia he grew up in was not a place he liked.

“What I like now is the Australia that I see today,” he said.

“We’ve merged so many cultures and so many practices and different ways. What I like also is the way in which Indigenous culture and our history is being accepted readily into the Australian psyche.”

Part 2  : Reasons for changing the date

The debate about whether Australia Day should be changed to a date other than the 26th of January has in recent times been focussed on the offensiveness to many Indigenous Australians of using the commemoration of the establishment of an English colony in New South Wales as the foundation narrative of our national identity.

The objection articulated by advocates for change is that it ignores, marginalises or diminishes Indigenous history and culture, and fails to acknowledge past injustices (some still unresolved).

Personally I think the objection is valid, but I accept that there are differing views.

However, it is not necessary to even get into that argument to be persuaded conclusively that there should be a change of date. Let’s park the issues relating to Aboriginal people to one side and look at what the 26th of January represents and symbolises for Australians generally, and at how patently incompatible with our modern national identity it is as a selected national day.

The 26th of January marks the beginning of what sort of enterprise? What sort of uplifting and inspirational human endeavour?

The answer is that it was a penal settlement. A remote punishment farm to warehouse the overflow from Britain’s prisons. A place of brutality and despair conceived out of a desire to keep a problem out of sight and out of mind.

Modern Australia has its flaws. Some may want to argue the toss over Don Dale or Manus Island, but the reality is that we are a civilised, enlightened and fair people. We embrace those values in ourselves and in each other.

We all recognise how lucky we are to live in a tolerant society where diversity and difference are accepted and mateship and hard work are encouraged. We cherish our autonomy and freedom. A national day should resonate with and reflect those values.

The way it can do that is by reminding us of something in our past which either brought out the best in our national character, or else represented a step along the path to our unique Australian identity.

Potential examples are many, but might include these: Kokoda; the first Snowy River hydro scheme (with its harnessing of migrant workers from all over Europe coming to seek a better life after the second world war); the abolition of the white Australia policy in 1966; the passage of the Australia Act in 1986 (when Australia’s court system finally became fully independent).

One thing I know for sure is that when we look into history’s mirror for some event or occasion that allows us to see ourselves as we aspire to be, the last and most alien screen we would contemplate downloading and sharing as emblematic of ourselves as Australians would be Sydney Cove in 1788.

You just have to pause and think about it for a moment to be able to reject the concept as ludicrous. And yet that is the status quo that has become entrenched in our national calendar, through a process which has been more recent and less considered than most would be aware of.

In my view it is a matter of historical logic that Australia’s national day cannot be one which commemorates something which happened before Australia itself was created. That happened in 1901 when the various colonies joined together in a single federation in which each of them was transformed into an entity called a “state”.

The new Australian states were modelling themselves on the American colonies which had joined together to become the United States of America.

Many of those colonies already had a long prior history since they had been established by European settlers and in most cases they were much prouder of their origins than those new Australian states which had started off as penal settlements.

But if anyone, then or since, had proposed that the national day for the USA should be some day commemorating the early history of some individual colony, they would have been howled down by Americans.

The American national day celebrates the independence of the unified whole, not a way-station in the history of a pre-independence colony. It should be the same with us.

If any recent event should have served to underscore the lack of fit between the date on which our national day is currently celebrated and our contemporary political reality it is the disqualifying of Federal Parliamentarians who have belatedly discovered that they are British citizens.

Just think about that for a moment. The colony of New South Wales was established on behalf of the British Crown.

Then when the country called Australia was created in 1901, its people were classed as British subjects. Stand-alone citizenship came later and things have been slowly and fundamentally changing. In 2018 Britain is a foreign country and if you are a citizen of that country you are excluded from being elected to our Australian parliament.

That is because it is recognised that there are conflicting interests and allegiances.

How can Australia possibly persist in celebrating as its national day the colonial acts of a foreign country? Without even touching on the sensitivities of Indigenous people, where does that leave the majority of Australians who came to or are descended from people who came to this country since Federation (including exponentially increasing numbers of Asian Australians)?

And finally, just to return to the issue of the stake of Indigenous people in this nation.

Some have suggested that because there are pressing and immediate issues which are undermining our prospects for progress and wellbeing, it is inappropriate to spend time and energy participating in the debate about our national day.

Like many others who are committed to tackling domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and unemployment amongst our people, I believe we can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Part 3 : It is that time of the year again when opinions are offered about the suitability of 26 January as our national day. Linda Burney MP

There are some who oppose it and some who support it.

We appear to be at an impasse on this.

But I believe we are mature enough as a nation to face a proper discussion about it.

The National Australia Day Council recognises this discussion has become a big part of the day and it is encouraging Australians to ‘reflect, respect, celebrate’ on 26 January.

  • Reflect on ‘what it means to be Australian’;
  • Respect ‘differing views’ on Australia Day; and
  • Celebrate ‘contemporary Australia and to acknowledge our history’.

But it is important for all of us engaged in this debate to understand the challenges and opportunities.

On the one hand – right or wrong – is that many Australians are simply unaware of the historical and political context of the date.

On the other, if we understand the history of Australia Day we can understand why it is such a painful day for Indigenous Australians – this is the notion of ‘truth-telling’.

Australia Day means many things.

It commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at what became known as Sydney Cove.

And yet the date and name of Australia Day itself was only relatively recently settled – at one point, it was set in July.

It is a day to celebrate our achievements and those who have contributed to our country.

For some, it is simply a public holiday to rest and relax with friends and family.

I represent the electorate of Barton. It is one of the most multicultural electorates in the nation with many residents from migrant backgrounds.

And while many of them tell me that they understand why 26 January is a complex day, it is also a day for them to reflect on how grateful for the life they have been able to build for themselves and their family here in Australia.

For others – especially for our retail and hospitality workers – it can be a day to earn penalty rates and take home a bit of extra pay to meet bills and other expenses.

But it needs to be understood that, for First Nations people like me, 26 January is a reminder, not only of the dispossession and injustice, but also our strength and survival as a people and as a culture.

Surely it is possible for us to learn, not only about the view from the boats that arrived, but the view from those on shore whose way of life changed forever.

The opportunity for proponents of changing the date is in understanding different perspectives – not condemning people for not being aware of the discussion, or for not picking a side.

Change and progress means bringing people with you.

It is possible to enjoy January 26 – to celebrate our country, and our many achievements – but it is equally important to reflect on our difficult and painful past.

While the dispossession and separation of First Nations families first occurred many years ago – it continues in different shapes and forms today.

The impact – through intergenerational trauma – can be seen and felt to this day.

We can see this in the disparity in quality of life outcomes between First Nations and non-Indigenous Australians.

If you would like to spend Australia Day as a day of reflection as well as a day of celebration, there are many ways to do this. They do not conflict.

Why not start your Australia Day with the Wugulora Morning Ceremony at Barangaroo? You can also head over to the Yabun Festival – a wonderful festival embracing of all and celebrating survival – at Victoria Park in Camperdown which begins later in the morning for some great performances, food and other activities.

As for me, I will begin the day by attending a citizenship ceremony hosted by Bayside Council; followed by an Australia Day event at the Marrickville Library; and of course wrapping things up at Yabun.

By all means, celebrate Australia Day, but let’s use it as a day of reflection as well.

This opinion piece was originally published in the Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times on Sunday, 26 January 2020

LINDA BURNEY

 

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.