NACCHO Aboriginal Mental Health #RUOKDay @ruokday ? Download #RUOKSTRONGERTOGETHER resources a targeted #MentalHealth #SuicidePrevention campaign to encourage conversation within our communities. Contributions inc Dr Vanessa Lee @joewilliams_tew @ShannanJDodson

Regardless of where we live, or who our mob is, we can all go through tough times, times when we don’t feel great about our lives or ourselves. That’s why it’s important to always be looking out for each other.

If someone you know – a family member, someone from your community, a friend, neighbour or workmate – is doing it tough, they won’t always tell you.
Sometimes it’s up to us to trust our gut instinct and ask someone who may be struggling with life “Are you OK?”.

By asking and listening, we can help those we care about feel more supported and connected, which can help stop them from feeling worse over time.

That’s why this campaign has a simple message: Let’s talk. We are stronger together

“Nationally, Indigenous people die from suicide at twice the rate of non-Indigenous people. This campaign comes at a critical time.

As a community we are Stronger Together. Knowledge is culture, and emotional wellbeing can be learned from family members such as mothers and grandmothers.

These new resources from R U OK? will empower family members, and the wider community, with the tools to look out for each other as well as providing guidance on what to do if someone answers “No, I’m not OK”.”

Dr Vanessa Lee BTD, MPH, PhD Chair R U OK’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group whose counsel has been integral in the development of the campaign

Read over 130 + NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Suicide Prevention articles

Click here to access the STRONGER TOGETHER resources on the RUOK? website

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP)

https://www.atsispep.sis.uwa.edu.au/

 I have struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. I’m 32 years old and only this year did I have the first psychologist ever ask me about my family history and acknowledge the intergenerational trauma that runs through Indigenous families.

Like many others, I have thought about taking my own life. There were a myriad of factors that led to that point, and a myriad of factors that led to me not following through. But one of the factors was the immense weight of intergenerational trauma that I believe is embedded into my heart, mind and soul and at times feels too heavy a burden to carry.

We can break this cycle of trauma. We need culturally safe Indigenous-designed suicide prevention programs and to destigmatise conversations around mental health. My hope is that, by sharing my own experiences of dealing with this complex subject, other people will be able to see that intergenerational trauma affects all of our mob.

The more we identify and acknowledge it, we’ll be stronger together “

Shannan Dodson is a Yawuru woman and on the RUOK? Indigenous Advisory committee that has launched the Stronger Together campaign targeted at help-givers – those in our communities who can offer help to those who are struggling ;

See full story Part 2 Below or HERE

R U OK? has launched STRONGER TOGETHER, a targeted suicide prevention campaign to encourage conversation within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Developed with the guidance and oversight of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group and 33 Creative, an Aboriginal owned and managed agency, the campaign encourages individuals to engage and offer support to their family and friends who are struggling with life. Positive and culturally appropriate resources have been developed to help individuals feel more confident in starting conversations by asking R U OK?

The STRONGER TOGETHER campaign message comes at a time when reducing rates of  suicide looms as one of the biggest and most important challenges of our generation.

Suicide is one of the most common causes of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander people. A 2016 report noted that on average, over 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people end their lives through suicide each year, with the rate of suicide twice as high as that recorded for other Australians [1]. These are not just numbers. They represent lives and loved ones; relatives, friends, elders and extended community members affected by such tragic deaths.

STRONGER TOGETHER includes the release of four community announcement video

The video series showcases real conversations in action between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advocates and role models.

The focus is on individuals talking about their experiences and the positive impact that sharing them had while they were going through a tough time.

“That weekend, I had the most deep and meaningful and beautiful conversations with my Dad that I never had.

My Dad was always a staunch dude and I was always trying to put up a front to, I guess, make my Dad proud. But we sat there, and we cried to each other.

I started to find myself and that’s when I came to the point of realising that, you know, I’m lucky to be alive and I had a second chance to help other people.”

When we talk, we are sharing, and our people have always shared, for thousands of years we’ve shared experiences, shared love. The only way we get out of those tough times is by sharing and talking and I hope this series helps to spread that message.”

Former NRL player and welterweight boxer Joe Williams has lent his voice to the series.

Born in Cowra, Joe is a proud Wiradjuri man. Although forging a successful professional sporting career, Joe has battled with suicidal ideation and bipolar disorder. After a suicide attempt in 2012, a phone call to a friend and then his family’s support encouraged him to seek professional psychiatric help.

Australian sports pioneer Marcia Ella-Duncan OAM has also lent her voice to the series. Marcia Ella-Duncan is an Aboriginal woman from La Perouse, Sydney, with traditional connection to the Walbunga people on the NSW Far South Coast, and kinship connection to the Bidigal, the traditional owners of the Botany Bay area.

“Sometimes, all we can do is listen, all we can do is be there with you. And sometimes that might be all you need. Or sometimes it’s just the first step towards a much longer journey,” said Marcia.

Click here to access the STRONGER TOGETHER resources on the RUOK? website.

If you or someone you know needs support, go to:  ruok.org.au/findhelp

Part 2

Shannan Dodson is a Yawuru woman and on the RUOK? Indigenous Advisory committee that has launched the Stronger Together campaign targeted at help-givers – those in our communities who can offer help to those who are struggling ;

Originally Published the Guardian and IndigenousX

It is unacceptable and a national disgrace that there have been at least 35 suicides of Indigenous people this year – in just 12 weeks – and three were children only 12 years old.

The Kimberley region – where my mob are from – has the highest rate of suicide in the country. If the Kimberley was a country it would have the worst suicide rate in the world.

A recent inquest investigated 13 deaths which occurred in the Kimberley region in less than four years, including five children aged between 10 and 13.

Western Australia’s coroner said the deaths had been shaped by “the crushing effects of intergenerational trauma”.

When we’re talking about Indigenous suicide, we have to talk about intergenerational trauma; the transfer of the impacts of historical trauma and grief to successive generations.

These multiple layers of trauma can have a “cumulative effect and increase the risk of destructive behaviours including suicide”. Many of our communities are, in essence, “not just going about the day, but operating in crisis mode on a daily basis.”

I have struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. I’m 32 years old and only this year did I have the first psychologist ever ask me about my family history and acknowledge the intergenerational trauma that runs through Indigenous families.

Like many others, I have thought about taking my own life. There were a myriad of factors that led to that point, and a myriad of factors that led to me not following through. But one of the factors was the immense weight of intergenerational trauma that I believe is embedded into my heart, mind and soul and at times feels too heavy a burden to carry.

Indigenous suicide is different. Suicide is a complex issue, there is not one cause, reason, trigger or risk – it can be a web of many indicators. But with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people intergenerational trauma and the flow-on effects of colonisation, dispossession, genocide, cultural destruction and the stolen generations are paramount to understanding high Indigenous suicide rates.

When you think about the fact that most Indigenous families have been affected, in one or more generations, by the forcible removal of one or more children, that speaks volumes. The institutionalisation of our mob has had dire consequences on our sense of being, mental health, connection to family and culture.

Just think about that for a moment. If every Indigenous family has been affected by this, of course trauma is transmitted down through generations and manifests into impacts on children resulting from weakened attachment relationships with caregivers, challenged parenting skills and family functioning, parental physical and mental illness, and disconnection and alienation from the extended family, culture and society.

The high rates of poor physical health, mental health problems, addiction, incarceration, domestic violence, self-harm and suicide in Indigenous communities are directly linked to experiences of trauma. These issues are both results of historical trauma and causes of new instances of trauma which together can lead to a vicious cycle in Indigenous communities.

Our families have been stripped of the coping mechanisms that all people need to thrive and survive. And while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are resilient, we are also human.

Our history does shape us. Let’s start from colonisation. My mob the Yawuru people from Rubibi (Broome) were often brutally dislocated from our lands, and stripped of our livelihood. Our culture was desecrated and we were used for slave labour.

My great-grandmother was taken from her father when she was very young and placed in a mission in Western Australia. My grandmother and aunties then all finished up in the same mission. And two of those aunties spent a considerable time in an orphanage in Broome, although they were not orphans.

In 1907, a telegram from Broome station was sent to Henry Prinsep, the “Chief Protector of Aborigines for Western Australia” in Perth. It reads: “Send cask arsenic exterminate aborigines letter will follow.” This gives a glimpse of the thinking of the time and that of course played out in traumatic and dehumanising ways.

In the late 1940s a magistrate in the court of Broome refused my great-grandmother’s application for a certificate of citizenship under the Native Citizen Rights Act of Western Australia. Part of his reasons for refusing her application was that she had not adopted the manner and habits of civilised life.

My anglo grandfather was imprisoned for breaching the Native Administration Act of Western Australia, in that he was cohabiting with my grandmother. He was jailed for loving my jamuny (grandmother/father’s mother).

My dad lost his parents when he was 10 years old. My grandfather died in tragic circumstances – and then my grandmother, again in tragic circumstances, soon after.

My dad was collected by family in Katherine and taken to Darwin. There was a fear that he would be taken away – Indigenous families knew well the ways of the Native Welfare authorities, and I suspect they were protecting my dad from that fate. Unlike many Indigenous families, he was permitted to stay with them and became a state child in the care of our family.

My family has suffered from ongoing systematic racism and research has shown that racism impacts Aboriginal people in the same way as a traumatic event.

My family and community have suffered premature deaths from suicide, preventable health issues, grief and inextricable trauma.

We can break this cycle of trauma. We need culturally safe Indigenous-designed suicide prevention programs and to destigmatise conversations around mental health. My hope is that, by sharing my own experiences of dealing with this complex subject, other people will be able to see that intergenerational trauma affects all of our mob. The more we identify and acknowledge it, we’ll be stronger together.

NACCHO Aboriginal #Mentalhealth and #SuicidePrevention #WSPD2019 News :The @NACCHOChair and other Indigenous leaders welcomes the Government’s commitment and national actions towards reducing suicide rates and improving #mentalhealth outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples @cbpatsisp @blackdoginst

NACCHO welcomes the Government’s commitment and national actions towards reducing suicide rates and improving mental health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Mental health and suicide remain one of our top priorities as research shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults are 2.7 times more likely to experience high levels of psychological distress than other Australians.

 The attempted suicides are almost twice the rate of non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and they are missing out on the much-needed mental health services.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations are best placed to be the preferred providers of mental health, social and emotional wellbeing, and suicide-prevention activities in their communities. They need to be adequately resourced to develop community-led solutions that consider issues from a social and emotional perspective and provide appropriate solutions to prevention.

Harnessing this global momentum on World Suicide Prevention Day is critical to ensure productive and meaningful solutions are put in place to drive suicide rates down.

 We will continue to advocate for appropriate funding to ensure community-led solutions to arrest suicide.”

Acting NACCHO Chair, Donnella Mills

Picture above from Left to right Tanja Hirvonen and Pat Dudgeon (CBATSISP) , Professor Tom Calma , Minister Ken Wyatt and Leilani Darwin see event details Part 4

Read this NACCHO Press Release in full HERE

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

Read over 23 Aboriginal Mental Health articles published by NACCHO over 7 Years

The Morrison Government is investing over $5.5 million in an approach that will help two of the nation’s leading mental health organisations reduce suicide rates and improve mental health outcomes for First Australians.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and this is an opportunity to raise awareness of suicide prevention and to shine a light on this enormous tragedy.

See Minister Hunt and Wyatt full Press Release Part 2 Below

TRANSCRIPT OF SPEECH, WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY BREAKFAST (FED)

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, discusses R U OK day, youth mental health and suicide prevention, and government investment in suicide prevention.

PM Speech Suicide Prevention Day

Indigenous leaders welcomed Health Minister Greg Hunt’s $4.5 million announcement of Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia – a national independent and inclusive Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention leadership body – at a Parliament House Poche Indigenous Health Network (PIHN) breakfast yesterday

Further welcome was given to Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt’s announcement of a $1 million Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience Network within the Black Dog Institute to provide a national representative voice for Indigenous people with lived experience of suicide “

See Part 4 Below for Press Release 

Aboriginal medical service was the best opportunity for a wraparound service for families within these communities.

They can provide social and emotional wellbeing and access to counselling, and their care management is done more effectively.

The Aboriginal Health Council of WA had been given the lead role by the WA Primary Health Alliance to look at a transition of State Government services.

We’ve all made the agreement and established thereference group now through Thirrili.

Basically ( The forum ) it was held in response to the inadequacy of services, particularly related to suicide prevention, mental health and primary health care services,”

South Regional TAFE Aboriginal development officer and Noongar man Laurence Riley organised the event and said there had not been a meeting like it in years.

See Article in full Part 3 Below

Part 2 : The Morrison Government is investing over $5.5 million in an approach that will help two of the nation’s leading mental health organisations reduce suicide rates and improve mental health outcomes for First Australians.

In 2017, the suicide death rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was twice that for non-Indigenous people.

Suicide accounts for 40 per cent of all deaths of Indigenous children – one life lost to suicide is one too many.

The Government is investing $4.5 million in Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia to deliver a national plan for culturally appropriate care and make suicide prevention services available and accessible to First Australians no matter where they live.

Proud Spirit will provide support in times of need with:

  • A dedicated senior suicide prevention officer
  • the inclusion of a government and a Primary Health Network (PHN) liaison officer, to ensure Proud Spirit connects to all Australian governments and PHNs
  • a representative of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation so Proud Spirit links to mental health and health services
  • a community partnerships officer, to connect Proud Spirit to Indigenous communities, including people with lived experience of suicide, members of the Stolen Generations, youth and Indigenous LGBTIQ people.

In addition, we are investing $963,000 to establish the Centre of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience Mental Illness and Suicide Network.

The Black Dog Institute and the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention at the University of Western Australia, will work together to deliver this initiative.

These organisations will:

  • Provide the means for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with lived experience of mental illness and suicide to contribute to and engage with policy and program development, leading to an increase in self-determination and empowerment
  • support organisations to provide culturally appropriate mental health and suicide prevention programs and services to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

In the 2019–20 Budget, the Morrison Government boosted funding for Indigenous-specific health initiatives to $4.1 billion over four years to 2022-23.

Our Government is committed to investing in mental health services for all Australians. It is a key pillar of our Long Term National Health Plan.

Part 3  :Narrogin’s Aboriginal community came together last month to voice their concerns, discuss mental health, and call for change in the region.

The Narrogin and Surrounds Aboriginal Community Consultation hosted more than 60 people at the John Higgins Community Centre, including elders, community members, and representatives from health organisations across the State and Australia.

The four-hour forum heard the community’s concerns, among which were poor health and support services in the region, and ongoing high rates of suicide, with many making emotional pleas for change.

South Regional TAFE Aboriginal development officer and Noongar man Laurence Riley organised the event and said there had not been a meeting like it in years.

“Basically it was held in response to the inadequacy of services, particularly related to suicide prevention, mental health and primary health care services,” he said.

“A lot of the services that exist in town, are not able to cater for that long, progressive counselling and support for families or people that are going through mental health issues and suicidal ideology.”

Mr Riley said part of the issue was being managed by three State regional boundaries, and government agencies not responding or being accountable to each other.

“It’s been trickling on since our first suicide 20 years ago and then we had the suicide spike in 2007-2008, when those seven or eight young men within Narrogin, Pingelly and Wagin took their lives,” he said.

National Indigenous Critical Response Service case manager Tina Hayden, who attended the meeting, said there was a funeral almost every week from someone taking their life in the area.

“We’re all related so it’s not just their loss — even though it’s their son or their daughter or grandson — it’s our loss because it’s still our family and they would have made an impact on our lives in some way,” she said.

Elder Nolda Williams, who was also present at the meeting, lost her son to suicide when he was 18 years old.

“It’s something you’ll never get over,” she said.

“I don’t want to see any more kids lose their lives.

“I want to see something happen, something they can do, somewhere they can go.”

Mr Riley said an Aboriginal medical service was the best opportunity for a wraparound service for families within these communities.

“They can provide social and emotional wellbeing and access to counselling, and their care management is done more effectively,” he said.

Mr Riley said the Aboriginal Health Council of WA had been given the lead role by the WA Primary Health Alliance to look at a transition of State Government services.

“We’ve all made the agreement and established thereference group now through Thirrili,” he said.

Thirrili and the National Indigenous Critical Response Service provide direct emotional and practical support to families and communities affected by suicide or another traumatic event.

NICRS chief executive Adele Cox said she was delighted with the number of community members who took part in the forum.

“I think that confirmed the absolute support and commitment from the community to look at taking these issues into their own hands and finding local solutions,” she said. “As a national service, it was heart-warming to come see such a turn-out and hear those conversations.

“While they were not always pleasant and some of the conversations that had to be had were hard, I think there was a showing of respect from everyone that attended.”

Ms Cox said it was great to see the Shire of Narrogin, including chief executive Dale Stewart and president Leigh Ballard, at the forum, and she hoped they had taken the opportunity to listen and take active initiative.

“We heard many ideas and very simple and practical suggestions from the community, which don’t take a lot in terms of resources,” she said.

The forum was led by Laurence Riley.Picture: Daryna Zadvirna

AHCWA, WAPHA and NICRS were also joined at the meeting by the local Kaata-Koorliny Employment and Enterprise Development Aboriginal Corporation, as well as Life without Barriers.

KEEDAC chief executive Leanne Kickett said the community was frustrated as the same issues had been addressed for the last 20 years but there had been no real outcomes so far.

“Funding has been allocated to certain services but we haven’t seen a result, there hasn’t been a different outcome,” she said.

“I think it has made us realise that we need to work together to make this change.”

Mr Riley said he spoke to the Commonwealth in 2015 about the opportunity to establish new Aboriginal medical services in the Narrogin region.

“Government’s response was ‘We don’t have the dollars so at this point of time we won’t be establishing any new Aboriginal medical services’,” he said.

“So what they’ve been doing is using existing resources and dollars to be able to expand into different regions.

“But since then (Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken) Wyatt has accused metropolitan services of neglecting rural and remote Aboriginal communities, hence why we’re kind of taking the lead to try to establish some services.”

A report on the forum held earlier this month was planned to be drafted and released to the community for a review, Ms Cox said.

“I’m hoping that as a part of this process we can get commitment from the State Government and I know that Minister Wyatt has certainly highlighted that he’s certainly for community-driven approaches and solutions,” she said.

“So hopefully, the report that comes out of this will be something that is listened to.”

Mr Riley said although change would be slow, it was definitely in progress.

“I think people are ready for change,” he said.

“People are ready to combat this division and just start moving forward as a community.

Part 4 Indigenous leaders welcome $5.5 million social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention initiatives

Indigenous leaders welcomed Health Minister Greg Hunt’s $4.5 million announcement of Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia – a national independent and inclusive Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention leadership body – at a Parliament House Poche Indigenous Health Network (PIHN) breakfast this morning.

Further welcome was given to Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt’s announcement of a $1 million Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience Network within the Black Dog Institute to provide a national representative voice for Indigenous people with lived experience of suicide.

PIHN Chair and Patron, and founder of the Close the Gap Campaign for Indigenous Heath Equality, Professor Tom Calma AO said:

“I thank the Prime Minister and Ministers Hunt and Wyatt for both announcements today and their recognition that the overall Indigenous health and life expectancy gap cannot be closed without significant focus on strengthening Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing and mental health, and on reducing our suicide rates”

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH) Chair Mr Tom Brideson said:

“I add my thanks to the Australian Government for these announcements today. Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia will provide an inclusive, representative and complementary voice for the Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention sector

It will, in particular, focus on implementation of the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration developed by NATSILMH and that Australian governments are required to implement by the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia will be a national advocate for a ‘best of both worlds’ approach to our wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention, encompassing cultural and clinical elements to benefit all our diverse communities: remote, regional and urban, and including our young people, our LGBTIQ, and our Stolen Generations.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience Network Head Ms Leilani Darwin said:

“The Black Dog Institute and I are excited to establish the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience Network to inform, influence and enhance culturally-appropriate suicide prevention activities and mental health support programs that work for our First Nations people.”

“The Lived Experience Network will be the conduit that links existing networks together and mobilises, connects and enables Indigenous people with lived experience of suicide to have a seat at

the national table and to help deliver culturally fitting and safe Indigenous -led suicide prevention and mental wellbeing reform.”

Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association Chair Ms Tania Dalton said:

“ I am particularly pleased that the work of Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia, supported by the Lived Experience Network, will include leading an inclusive development process for a dedicated Indigenous suicide prevention plan with a strong youth component. “

In closing, Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP) Director Professor Pat Dudgeon affirmed:

“Indigenous leadership – inclusive and accountable to our communities – is critical if efforts to close the mental health outcome and suicide rate gaps are to be effective. With today’s announcements Indigenous leadership of Indigenous mental health, social and emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention is – at last – cemented into the national policy space,”

“I take this opportunity to pay tribute to 40-years and more of tireless work by Indigenous leaders in this space. In particular, I acknowledge the work of NATSILMH since 2013. The naming of Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia after its Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration is a testament to NATSILMH’s influence.”

“Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia and the Lived Experience Network will also promote a new generation of leaders in this space to ensure indigenous leadership of the sector into the future.”

END

  • For media enquiries on for Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia: Tanja Hirvonen (CBATSISP) and Professor Tom Calma are available for and interview requests. Please contact Jessica Weiland, 0468969041 or via Jessica.weiland@health.nsw.gov.au
  • For media enquiries on The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience Network: Leilani Darwin is available for interview requests. Please contact: Natalie Craig 02 9382 3712 or 0448 144 999 or via Natalie.craig@blackdog.org.au,
  • For more information about NATSLMH and the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration see: https://natsilmh.org.au/
  • For more information about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience Network see: https://blackdoginstitute.org.au/lived-experience-network · For more information about CBPATSISP see https://www.cbpatsisp.com.au/ · For more information about AIPA see: http://www.indigenouspsychology.com.au/
  • The Poche Indigenous Health Network is a network of Poche centres, focused on closing the gap in life expectancy and seeking solutions to address the complex health issues faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. For more info see: http://pochehealth.edu.au/ ·
  • For reporting guidelines around mental illness and suicide see Mindframe: http://www.mindframe.org.au · For information around national suicide prevention see Life in Mind: http://www.lifeinmindaustralia.com.au
  • Lifeline: 131 114
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
  • Mensline: 1300 78 99 78

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth and #SuicidePrevention : Read and Watch @beyondblue Chair The Hon Julia Gillard AC speech @UniofAdelaide Truth-telling and reconciliation will enhance the social and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous Australians.

” Suicide in our Indigenous communities is one of the greatest challenges of our times and its causes are complex.

Beyond Blue cannot claim or seek to be a specialist or comprehensive provider of social and emotional wellbeing or suicide prevention services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

That is a role which is more appropriately the domain of Aboriginal-led and community-controlled organisations.

But we can apply what we have learnt so far through our Reconciliation Action Plan, our growing cultural competencies, and strong relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, leaders and organisations.

We can complement the work of the Aboriginal organisations and others by ensuring our major interventions are suitable for, and accessible to, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people wherever possible, and use our well-known brand and strength in communications to fight racism and discrimination.

We will recognise those inherent protective factors of Indigenous cultures and communities – those powerful forces of resilience, humour, spirituality and connectedness – that can and should be utilised as sources of strength and healing.

We are ready to work alongside Indigenous people and communities in co-designing solutions to provide better outcomes for health and wellbeing.

We intend to be the best ally we can be, lend our voice when required and listen to learn.

We need to educate ourselves and ask questions when we need to; to commit, to support, to ally.

We pledge to be a positive force for change as the nation addresses the issue of constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have always resisted actions designed to destroy their culture, disperse their families and sever their connections to Country.

The day will come when we look with pride upon that determination, and indeed celebrate it as a complete history.

The Hon Julia Gillard AC University of Adelaide public lecture 2019 3 September 2019

Yellaka Dance Group 

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

Read over 150 Aboriginal Suicide Prevention articles published by NACCHO in Past 7 years

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and in the spirit of reconciliation, pay my respects to Elders past and present. Yellaka, thank you for your warm Greeting to Country.

Introduction

The is the second time I have had the privilege of being so welcomed by Yellaka. The first time was at the recent South Australian State dinner to celebrate 125 years of women’s suffrage in our State – a milestone to be inspired by.

In fact, that dinner was very important for me in preparing for this lecture.

It caused to me to reflect on the complexity of history; on our achievements and failings. In that speech I spoke about the need to erect a permanent monument to celebrate the fight for women’s suffrage and all that was gained here in South Australia in 1894.

But in doing so, I said care must be taken to tell the whole story, not part of it.

Despite Aboriginal men and, as a result of women’s suffrage, Aboriginal women having the right to vote, it was common for them neither be told about it nor supported to enrol. Sometimes this oppressive neglect morphed into a more active discouragement from participating.

This pernicious repudiation of a human right was compounded by a direct legal bar, when in the 1902 Commonwealth Franchise Act, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were excluded from voting in federal elections. It was not until 1962 that Indigenous Australians could have a say in who governed our nation.

We cannot tell the history of how our democracy developed without looking squarely at how equality was denied for so long.

This is just one example of the need to tell the deeper truths that lie beyond the surface.

To quote the words of Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating in his famed Redfern Speech, we need:

Recognition that it was we who did the dispossessing.

We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life. We brought the diseases. The alcohol.

We committed the murders.

We took the children from their mothers.

We practised discrimination and exclusion.

It was our ignorance and our prejudice.

And our failure to imagine these things being done to us.

With some noble exceptions, we failed to make the most basic human response and enter into their hearts and minds.

We failed to ask – how would I feel if this were done to me?

Friends, this question is as profoundly challenging today as it was when Paul spoke those words almost thirty years ago. Trying to answer it requires honesty, empathy, intellectual understanding, spiritual depth.

Today, I am asking you to bring those characteristics with you as we discuss the tragic topic of suicide and Indigenous Australians.

Honesty

First, with honesty, let’s confront the facts.

Since 2012, suicide has been the leading cause of death among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 to 34.

The suicide rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teenagers aged 15 to 19 of both genders is around four times that of their non-Indigenous peers.

Despite Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprising around three per cent of the Australian population, they account for thirty per cent of the suicide deaths among those under 18 years of age.

There are significant suicide or self-harming clusters that can occur within a single community or locale over a period of weeks or months.

For example, In February, Western Australia’s State Coroner handed down her report on a cluster of 13 deaths that occurred in less than four years in the Kimberley region and included five children aged 10 to 13.

The Coroner spoke of the deaths as profoundly tragic, individually and collectively, of dysfunction, alcohol, domestic violence and grief.

But she added:

to focus only upon the individual events that occurred shortly before their deaths would not adequately address the circumstances attending the deaths. These tragic individual events were shaped by the crushing effects of inter-generational trauma and poverty upon entire communities. That community-wide trauma, generated multiple and prolonged exposures to individual traumatic events for these children and young persons.

Watch video 

Please note : Julia Gillard starts her talk at about 27 minutes into the 1hr 10 min event, and talks for just under 30 minutes. It finishes with a Q&A session (of about 20 minutes).

Empathy

The Coroner here is calling to our ability to show empathy. To walk alongside our First Peoples and try to understand how history and lived reality come together and can create circumstances of despair.

Great damage has been done to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through two centuries of discrimination, dislocation and cultural disruption.

Culture is a word that is often tangled up with nationality, but it entails much more.

Our culture determines so much of our identity; our values, the way we view the world, the way we interact with others, our sense of belonging.

And if the foundations of culture are systemically disrupted – connection to land, traditional places and practices, languages, spirituality, family and kinship ties – it causes devastation across generations.

But honesty also requires us to recognise that there is both deep lingering pain from our history, and new pain that arises in the present.

Imagine not getting the job you’re qualified for because of the colour of your skin; to know you are being followed by a store detective just for being you; to feel the stranger sitting beside you slip sideways to create greater distance.

These are everyday situations – the constant but subtle cues of difference – and where being racially different is nearly always positioned as a liability.

Put simply, racism, including these kinds of behaviours, is not only bad for mental health and wellbeing – it both causes and perpetuates high levels of social and emotional distress for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. In addition, there is a ‘dose’ effect for psychological distress caused by racism: the more a person is exposed to it, the greater the impact.

That was why Beyond Blue launched its Stop, Think, Respect invisible discriminator campaign in 2014 with a repeat run in 2016.

The campaign – the most viewed and shared in Beyond Blue’s history – highlights the routine everyday impact of subtle racism on the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The campaign aimed to change behaviour by encouraging non-Indigenous Australians to think about their often, unconscious behaviours and to think again before they act.

  • To think before they laughed along – even uncomfortably – at a racist joke in the pub.
  • To challenge why they may not sit beside an Aboriginal person on a crowded bus.

But it was the reaction from Indigenous people that was most revealing.

They told us they loved the campaign because finally somebody had noticed that, for them, every day could be a little tougher than it should be.

Over half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who experience racial discrimination report feelings of psychological distress, meaning they are at elevated risk of anxiety and depression, substance use and contemplating or attempting suicide.

Empathy requires us to recognise that the threads of the past and the attitudes shown in the present day are woven together. For non-Indigenous Australians, our collective failure to face up to all of the brutal truth of our history and its ongoing effects holds us back from full understanding today.

For Indigenous Australians, the interconnected issues of cultural dislocation, personal trauma and the ongoing stresses of disadvantage, racism and exclusion are absolutely contributing to the heightened risk of mental health problems, substance misuse and suicide.

All this was acknowledged by the Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Deaths In Custody. That report was tabled in 1991.

Intellectual understanding

Driven by empathy, we also need to engage intellectually on the best ways to provide culturally appropriate services and supports to prevent Indigenous suicide.

Nothing less than profound systemic reform is needed to improve social and emotion wellbeing.

Such major change must be culturally informed and co-designed. As many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to remind us, Indigenous policies and responses must be led by Indigenous people, which might mean solutions that look different to anything that has been implemented before.

Innovation and new efforts are needed nationally and locally.

In 2009 the Rudd Government launched the ‘Closing the Gap’ response as a measurable account of Indigenous disadvantage that would be reported to parliament annually on progress.

In the 10 years since launch most of the indicators of disadvantaged have remained stubbornly unmoved. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can expect to live 10 to 17 years less than other Australians.

While there have been some improvements against some performance indicators, these have been small and incremental.

And babies born to Indigenous mothers still die at more than twice the rate of other Australian babies.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience higher rates of preventable illness such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.

And a major contributing factor to the life expectancy gap is suicide.

There are no mental health or suicide prevention targets in Australia’s Closing the Gap strategy despite the alarming statistics on Indigenous suicide and psychological distress, but as a member of the steering committee, Beyond Blue is adding our voice to rectifying this.

At the same time, we are calling for this act of national leadership, as an organisation we are trying to be a good partner in locally led change models.

In November 2018, Beyond Blue launched Be You: a Commonwealth-funded national initiative that aims to strengthen the mental health literacy, resilience, self-care and help-seeking of every member of Australia’s school communities and early childhood settings.

In January, Minister Wyatt announced $2.3 million over two years to pilot and evaluate a culturally appropriate, place-based adaptation of Be You for schools in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions of WA, in partnership with Aboriginal communities.

That work is now underway. And we are taking a very different approach to this work than what we would normally.

Local stakeholder engagement has confirmed that we must be guided by local communities to genuinely co-design the project; to employ people with community relationships and credibility; and to engage Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to support implementation and delivery of the program.

It’s still very early days, but we are gaining much from partnering with Indigenous communities.

Spiritual depth – Uluru Statement from the Heart

Honesty, empathy, intellectual understanding, all are necessary in the cause of tackling the rate of Indigenous suicide.

But so is spiritual depth, the ability to transcend a divided past, address the dispiriting inequalities of the present and embrace a united future.

Just over two years ago, 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders endorsed by standing ovation the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

In burning prose it describes that the sovereignty of this nation’s First peoples is ‘a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty.’

It goes on to say:

Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future.

These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.

We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.

We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.’

As we all know, changing our constitution is difficult in every sense. Conducting and carrying a referendum by a special majority is hard to do. Our history books are littered with the stories of failed referendums. Nineteen referendums proposing 44 changes to the Constitution have been held since Federation but the Australian people have agreed to only eight changes with the last ‘yes’ vote occurring in 1977.

Of course, the Indigenous leaders who gave us the Uluru statement from the heart know this history. They neither underestimate how hard it is to have voters accept change, nor the joy that can come when they do. Many of them were alive when more than 90 percent of Australians voted in the 1967 referendum to allow First Nations people to be included in the census and for the Federal Parliament to have the power to legislate for an improved future.

In the Uluru statement, Indigenous leaders are specifically calling for a comparable act of national unity. There is some reason to believe that voting Australians in their millions are prepared to answer that call.

The Australian Reconciliation Barometer is a national research study conducted every two years to measure and compare attitudes and perceptions towards reconciliation.

In 2018 the Barometer found:

  • 90 per cent of Australians believe the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is important;
  • 95 per cent believe that it is important for our First Peoples to have a say in matters that affect them;
  • and 80 per cent support a formal truth telling process.

That there is a public mood for change is further confirmed by the Australian Constitutional Values Survey of 2017 released by the Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Griffith University.

It found 61 per cent of respondents would vote “yes” in a referendum to add an Indigenous voice to Parliament.

So, we increasingly desire a richer understanding of our shared history and some form of national reconciliation, but change can be hard to achieve, even when the majority is willing.

Successive Prime Ministers and governments, Indigenous leaders and organisations have tried to advance this cause.

The government I led set out to bring a referendum on constitutional recognition to the people by the 2013 election. I appointed an Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians to advise on the wording.

On that panel were some of our most persuasive and respected Indigenous leaders, including The Hon. Ken Wyatt AM, the first Indigenous Australian to serve in the House of Representatives.

The panel’s recommendations were sensible and smart.

But before we could proceed, we needed to diagnose the prospects of success at a referendum. The very worst thing we could do would be to put a referendum proposal forward only to have it fail.

The consensus was we did not have time to build momentum for change ahead of a 2013 election.

That need for certainty remains a critical issue for today’s leaders as they move towards a proposal to put to the people.

But much has changed since 2013 and we can all be heartened by that.  I am especially heartened that we have, for the first time, extremely talented and respected Aboriginal people from both sides of politics leading Indigenous policy and discussion on this issue.

With bi-partisan support, shared commitment and collaboration, change is achievable.

We know wellbeing is intrinsically linked to a strong sense of self, connections to community, and recognition of culture.

That is why I and my Beyond Blue Board colleagues recently approved a comprehensive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy to guide our contribution for the next five years. Through the Strategy, we have resolved to continue to advocate on national issues of importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We are particularly determined to raise our voice in support of an openhearted and respectful response to the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Beyond Blue acknowledges that there are still community and political discussions occurring about constitutional change and recognition. As that conversation continues, Beyond Blue advocacy will be aimed at our nation adopting the kind of far-sighted change that can bring a new era of healing and unity.

This isn’t a mental health organisation dabbling in politics. We do it because structural discrimination has a profound and proven negative impact on individual and community wellbeing and mental health.

This is absolutely about ‘sticking to our knitting’.

This is about the Board of Beyond Blue supporting action on the basis there will be significant benefit to a population group at higher risk of mental health conditions and suicide, and who experience discrimination and disadvantage.

The Board of Beyond Blue also accepts the invitation issued in the Uluru Statement from the Heart to walk with you in ‘a movement of the Australian people for a better future’.

To our federal parliamentarians who are working through how best to respond to the Uluru statement my personal message is this; I know what it is like to be beset with doubts about the best way to respond to a call to address trauma and despair. To worry about making the wrong decision, one that risks more damage.

I went through every painful permutation of that in my head when I worked through whether to call a Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings. I am not ashamed to say here that in the face of such a major decision, I was afraid.

Specifically, I was afraid that holding a Royal Commission would retraumatise, rather than heal.

As history records, I worked through those fears and called the Commission. I know now from my own observations of the impact of the Royal Commission that great healing can come from heeding the call, truth-telling and acknowledgement of past trauma.

I ask our current leaders on all sides of the parliamentary chamber to work through their fears and concerns. I ask our current leaders to heed the call of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Conclusion

Suicide in our Indigenous communities is one of the greatest challenges of our times and its causes are complex.

Beyond Blue cannot claim or seek to be a specialist or comprehensive provider of social and emotional wellbeing or suicide prevention services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

That is a role which is more appropriately the domain of Aboriginal-led and community-controlled organisations.

But we can apply what we have learnt so far through our Reconciliation Action Plan, our growing cultural competencies, and strong relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, leaders and organisations.

We can complement the work of the Aboriginal organisations and others by ensuring our major interventions are suitable for, and accessible to, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people wherever possible, and use our well-known brand and strength in communications to fight racism and discrimination.

We will recognise those inherent protective factors of Indigenous cultures and communities – those powerful forces of resilience, humour, spirituality and connectedness – that can and should be utilised as sources of strength and healing.

We are ready to work alongside Indigenous people and communities in co-designing solutions to provide better outcomes for health and wellbeing.

We intend to be the best ally we can be, lend our voice when required and listen to learn.

We need to educate ourselves and ask questions when we need to; to commit, to support, to ally.

We pledge to be a positive force for change as the nation addresses the issue of constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have always resisted actions designed to destroy their culture, disperse their families and sever their connections to Country.

The day will come when we look with pride upon that determination, and indeed celebrate it as a complete history.

I look forward with hope to that day and I thank you.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SuicidePrevention : @KenWyattMP Unprecedented commitment to reducing suicide – – particularly youth suicide – in the Kimberley, national, state and local representatives came together to commit to action

“The intention is to sustain this groundswell of support from the community and government, with everyone indicating their strong commitment to delivering sustainable change.

It was recognised that reducing suicide is not just about health and mental health; it is about looking at broader community issues and addressing those that put Aboriginal people at a higher risk.

It was heartening to see emerging young leaders, like Jacob Smith, Bianca Graham and Trent Ozies, speak confidently about the willingness of our young people to lead and action positive change to improve their future and that of future generations.”

Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Deputy CEO and Trial Working Group Co-Chair, Rob McPhee, said it had been a unique opportunity to bring together community and government agencies with a common goal.

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

This week, national, state and local representatives, came together to commit to action to reduce the unacceptably high rate of suicide, particularly youth suicide, in the Kimberley.

Community members and leaders, health and social services organisations, and Federal and State Government representatives reaffirmed their commitment to suicide prevention at two landmark meetings. These pulled together many distinct but overlapping themes, including youth social and emotional wellbeing.

A Youth Wellbeing Workshop, a joint initiative of the Western Australian Government and the Australian Government funded Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trial (the Trial), was the first of several opportunities for community input on the State Government’s Statement of Intent on Aboriginal Youth Suicide.

A subsequent meeting of the Trial’s Working Group, co-chaired by Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt and attended by Western Australian Deputy Premier, Roger Cook and recently appointed National Suicide Prevention Advisor, Christine Morgan, was an opportunity to further build on this momentum, receive feedback from the preceding day’s youth forum, and hear more about the Trial’s progress, as it enters its fourth and final year.

Photo Above L to R: WA Deputy Premier, Roger Cook; Member for the Kimberley, Josie Farrer; youth leader, Jacob Smith; Australian Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt; Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Deputy CEO, Rob McPhee; WA Department of Premier and Cabinet, Director Aboriginal Policy, Kate Alderton; National Suicide Prevention Advisor, Christine Morgan; Acting WA Mental Health Commissioner, Jennifer McGrath; and youth leader, Bianca Graham.

Part of the solution, is the need for young people to be empowered, upskilled and employed, and to have a strong representational voice and structures to support their work.

The Trial has made significant progress in recent months, with work completed or well underway on:

  • Eight community action plans in the East and West Kimberley
  • Two Empowered Young Leaders’ forums, an impact statement and report with recommendations
  • A regional “no wrong door’ approach for people seeking help from mental health and social and emotional wellbeing services
  • A traditional healers’ model to work with mental health services
  • Upskilling GP capacity and confidence in suicide prevention.

There are also plans to run a workshop to explore safe spaces for young people.

A strong cultural framework underpins all the Trial’s activities and all the projects identified by the communities must fit within the systems-based approach, guided by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP).

The outcomes will be evaluated by the Australian Government, as part of a national evaluation to find the most effective approaches to suicide prevention for at-risk populations and share this knowledge across Australia.

Helplines

If you find yourself in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 000. Other 24-hour services include: Lifeline on 13 11 14 and Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Save a Date Conferences and Events : Features 12 September #RUOKDay Download resources #RUOKStrongerTogether : This week #OCHREDay and next months @QAIHC Youth Summit

Upcoming feature NACCHO SAVE A DATE events

12 September R U OK Day

This week

29th  – 30th  August 2019 NACCHO #OCHREDAY

2- 5 September 2019 SNAICC Conference

12 September 2019 QAIHC YOUTH HEALTH SUMMIT

15-19 September 50 year of PHAA Annual Conference Adelaide 17 – 19 September #AustPH2019

23 -25 September IAHA Conference Darwin

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

2- 4 October  AIDA Conference 2019

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand

 

12 September R U Ok Day

 

Regardless of where we live, or who our mob is, we can all go through tough times. Times when we don’t feel great about our lives or ourselves. That’s why it’s important to always be looking out for each other. Together, we’re stronger right?’

Download the full kit

Ask the question – R U OK?

If someone you know – a family member, someone from your community, a friend, neighbour or workmate – is doing it tough, they won’t always tell you. Sometimes it’s up to us to trust our gut instinct and ask someone who may be struggling, R U OK? By asking and listening, we can help those we care about feel more supported and connected, which can help stop them from feeling worse over time.

Help to start the conversation.

The Conversation Guide contains lots of valuable information on how to go about asking R U OK? as well as the importance of listening with an open mind, encouraging action, and checking in. Posters are available too, to put up in your workplace, school or community group as a reminder to ask people, R U OK?

Don’t forget! R U OK?Day – 12 September 2019

It’s important to ask the question every day. We need to trust the signs and your instinct if you feel someone might be struggling. R U OK?Day is a national reminder, to reach our to your mob. Learn more about the signs to watch our for that something might be up

A conversation can change a life. 

Watch these videos to hear personal stories from mob across the country, talking about how being asked R U OK? helped them through a tough time. Use the links below to view and share these stories with your friends and community.

Connect on social media #RUOKStrongerTogether

Make sure your mob know that they can talk to you if they need to. Share your support by posting our social media graphics on you social networks. These graphics promote the importance of checking in with people and asking R U OK? Sometimes we all need a reminder.

We’ve developed a range of resources to help you start the conversation.

Download the Digital Kit – link this to Stronger Together page , or you can order printed copies at merchandise@ruok.org.au

29th  – 30th  Aug 2019 NACCHO OCHRE DAY Registrations are now closed 

This year’s NACCHO Ochre Day men’s health conference will be held in Melbourne this week

You can follow all the action on social media ( Facebook , Twitter and Instagram ) using the hashtag #OCHREDay

 

Download the exciting 2 day program 

This year’s conference is being held on Thursday 29 and Friday 30 August and has some exciting keynote speakers that include National Camping on Country Ambassador Ernie Dingo and Coordinator Lomas Amini, Preston Campbell from The Preston Campbell Foundation and Associate Professor Ray Lovett from the Australian National University.

See full list of speakers HERE

Sponsored by Aboriginal Health TV

Website 

Full report on 2018 OCHRE DAY in Hobart with 15 NACCHOTV Interviews

2- 5 September 2019 SNAICC Conference

Preliminary program and registration information available to download now!

Less than 3 weeks until our discounted early bird offer closes.

Visit  for more information.

15-19 September 50 year of PHAA Annual Conference Adelaide 17 – 19 September 

The Australian Public Health Conference (formally the PHAA Annual Conference) is a national conference held by the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) which presents a national and multi-disciplinary perspective on public health issues. PHAA members and non-members are encouraged to contribute to discussions on the broad range of public health issues and challenges, and exchange ideas, knowledge and information on the latest developments in public health.

Through development of public health policies, advocacy, research and training, PHAA seeks better health outcomes for Australian’s and the Conference acts as a pathway for public health professionals to connect and share new and innovative ideas that can be applied to local settings and systems to help create and improve health systems for local communities.

In 2019 the Conference theme will be ‘Celebrating 50 years, poised to meet the challenges of the next 50’. The theme has been established to acknowledge and reflect on the many challenges and success that public health has faced over the last 50 years, as well as acknowledging and celebrating 50 years of PHAA, with the first official gathering of PHAA being held in Adelaide in 1969.

Conference Website 

12 September 2019 QAIHC YOUTH HEALTH SUMMIT

Expressions of interest closing soon!

Calm minds, Strong bodies, Resilient spirit

Are you an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander aged between 18 and 25 who is passionate about improving the health of your community?

Join us at the 2019 QAIHC Youth Health Summit in Brisbane on 12 September 2019. We want to hear from you about what is needed to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in your community thrive.

The Summit will be a powerful day of sharing and learning, and will cover a range of topics including:

  • Exercise
  • Healthy relationships
  • Support networks
  • Mental health
  • Nutrition
  • Sexual health
  • LGBTQI needs
  • Chronic disease.

All sessions will be facilitated in an environment of cultural safety to promote honest and free discussions between everyone in attendance.

This Summit will help us shape QAIHC’s Youth Health Strategy 2019-2022 which will support Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisations.

Website 

ATTEND

Express an interest in attending the Youth Health Summit

23 -25 September IAHA Conference Darwin

24 September

A night of celebrating excellence and action – the Gala Dinner is the premier national networking event in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health.

The purpose of the IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards is to recognise the contribution of IAHA members to their profession and/or improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards showcase the outstanding achievements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health and provides identifiable allied health role models to inspire all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to consider and pursue a career in allied health.

The awards this year will be known as “10 for 10” to honour the 10 Year Anniversary of IAHA. We will be announcing 4 new awards in addition to the 6 existing below.

Read about the categories HERE.

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

 

 

The 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference will be held in Sydney, 24th – 26th September 2019. Make sure you save the dates in your calendar.

Further information to follow soon.

Date: Tuesday the 24th to Thursday the 26th September 2019

Location: Sydney, Australia

Organiser: Chloe Peters

Phone: 02 6262 5761

Email: admin@catsinam.org.au

2- 4 October  AIDA Conference 2019

Print

Location:             Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin NT
Theme:                 Disruptive Innovations in Healthcare
Register:              Register Here
Web:                     www.aida.org.au/conference
Enquiries:           conference@aida.org.au

The AIDA 2019 Conference is a forum to share and build on knowledge that increasingly disrupts existing practice and policy to raise the standards of health care.

People with a passion for health care equity are invited to share their knowledges and expertise about how they have participated in or enabled a ‘disruptive innovation to achieve culturally safe and responsive practice or policy for Indigenous communities.

The 23rd annual AIDA Conference provides a platform for networking, mentoring, member engagement and the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of AIDA’S Indigenous doctor and students.

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

 

2019 Marks 10 years since the formation of NATSIHWA and registrations are now open!!!

During the 9 – 10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference will be celebrated at the Convention Centre in Alice Springs

Bursaries available for our Full Members

Not a member?!

Register here today to become a Full Member to gain all NATSIHWA Full Member benefits

Come and celebrate NATSIHWA’s 10 year Anniversary National Conference ‘A Decade of Footprints, Driving Recognition’ which is being held in Alice Springs. We aim to offer an insight into the Past, Present and Future of NATSIHWA and the overall importance of strengthening the primary health care sector’s unique workforce of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners throughout Australia.

During the 9-10 October 2019 delegates will be exposed to networking opportunities whilst immersing themselves with a combination of traditional and practical conference style delivery.

Our intention is to engage Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners in the history and knowledge exchange of the past, todays evidence based best practice programs/services available and envisioning what the future has to offer for all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners.

Watch this space for the guest speaker line up, draft agenda and award nominations

15-17 October IUIH System of Care Conference

15 October IUIH 10 year anniversary

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural conference, the 2019 System of Care Conference will be focusing on further exploring and sharing the systems and processes that deliver this life changing way of looking at life-long health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

This year IUIH delivers 10 years of experience in improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with proven methods for closing the gap and impacting on the social determinants of health.

The IUIH System of Care is evidence-based and nationally recognised for delivering outcomes, and the conference will share the research behind the development and implementation of this system, with presentations by speakers across a range of specialisations including clinic set up, clinical governance, systems integration, wrap around services such as allied and social health, workforce development and research evidence.

If you are working in:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled health services
  • Primary Health Networks
  • Health and Hospital Boards and Management
  • Government Departments
  • The University Sector
  • The NGO Sector

Watch this video for an insight into the IUIH System of Care Conference.

Download brochure HERE IUIH System of Care Conference 2019 WEB

This year, the IUIH System of Care Conference will be offering a number of half-day workshops on Thursday 17 October 2019, available to conference attendees only. The cost for these workshops is $150 per person, per workshop and your attendance to these can be selected during your single or group registration.

IUIH are also hosting a 10 years of service celebration dinner on Tuesday 15 October – from 6.30-10pm. Tickets for this are $150 per person and are not included in the cost of registration.

All conference information is available here https://www.ivvy.com.au/event/IUIH19/

15 October IUIH 10 year anniversary

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

The University of Melbourne, Department of Rural Health are pleased to advise that abstract
submissions are now being invited that address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and
wellbeing.

The Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference is an opportunity for sharing information and connecting people that are committed to reforming the practice and research of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health and celebrates Aboriginal knowledge systems and strength-based approaches to improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal communities.

This is an opportunity to present evidence-based approaches, Aboriginal methods and models of
practice, Aboriginal perspectives and contribution to health or community led solutions, underpinned by cultural theories to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.
In 2018 the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference attracted over 180 delegates from across the community and state.

We welcome submissions from collaborators whose expertise and interests are embedded in Aboriginal health and wellbeing, and particularly presented or co-presented by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and community members.

If you are interested in presenting, please complete the speaker registration link

closing date for abstract submission is Friday 3 rd May 2019.
As per speaker registration link request please email your professional photo for our program or any conference enquiries to E. aboriginal-health@unimelb.edu.au.

Kind regards
Leah Lindrea-Morrison
Aboriginal Partnerships and Community Engagement Officer
Department of Rural Health, University of Melbourne T. 03 5823 4554 E. leah.lindrea@unimelb.edu.au

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

The NACCHO Youth Conference will again take place the day before the Members Conference on Monday 4 November at the Darwin Convention Centre.

The conference theme is Healthy Youth – Healthy Futures and it is a day of learning, sharing, and connecting on health issues affecting young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This year we aim to have around 80 youth delegates attend to hear from guest speakers, voice their ideas and solutions and connect with the other future leaders in the sector.

Registrations will open in early September 2019, so please encourage the young people from your community who you think will benefit attending.

I strongly encourage those who can afford it to arrange for your youth delegates to remain for the Members Conference and AGM so they can increase their understanding of the Sector as a whole and learn how to network and build useful contacts.

Darwin Convention Centre

Website to be launched soon

Conference Co-Coordinators Ros Daley and Jen Toohey 02 6246 9309

conference@naccho.org.au

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

As you may be aware, this year’s conference is being held in Darwin on Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 of November at the Darwin Convention Centre.

The theme for our conference is Because of Them We Must: Improving Health Outcomes for 0 to 29 Year Olds and will focus on how our Sector is working to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes for children, youth and young adults.

Clearly those in the 0 – 29 year age bracket are a significant proportion of our total population. If we can get their health and wellbeing outcomes right, we should hopefully overtime reduce the comorbidity levels which are so debilitating for so many of our older people.

There are many amazing examples in our sector of how we work with young people. I would like to see us share them at the conference.

Please let us know if you have an idea for a presentation that will highlight innovative and successful work that you do in this area.

To make a submission please complete this online form.

If you have any questions or would like further information contact Ros Daley and Jen Toohey on 02 6246 9309 or via email conference@naccho.org.au

Darwin Convention Centre

Website to be launched soon

Conference Co-Coordinators Ros Daley and Jen Toohey 02 6246 9309

conference@naccho.org.au

7 November

On Thursday 7 November, following the NACCHO National Members Conference, we will hold the 2019 AGM. In addition to the general business, there will be an election for the NACCHO Chair and a vote on a special resolution to adopt a new constitution for NACCHO.

Once again, I thank all those members who sent delegates to the recent national members’ workshop on a new constitution at Sydney in July. It was a great success thanks to your involvement and feedback.

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

This years  whakatauki (theme for the conference) was developed by the Scientific Committee, along with Māori elder, Te Marino Lenihan & Tania Huria from .

To read about the conference & theme, check out the  website. 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SuicidePrevention @pat_dudgeon @TTanja23 : Download New @CBPATSISP guidelines to improve assessments for our mob presenting to hospital with self-harm and suicidal thoughts

There is now growing evidence that the legacy of colonisation has contributed to the disproportionate rat.   es of suicide and suicidal behaviours and other disadvantages experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The effects of colonisation are evident in the structural barriers and lack of access to culturally responsive hospitals and family support services that underscore the urgent need for these guidelines as part of a broader suicide prevention strategy.”

Professor Pat Dudgeon, Director of the Centre for Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention  ( CBPATSISP )

“Assessing risk of suicide is a complex task in any setting, but particularly in the hospital setting, as it can be a very discomforting time for people. There is a pressing need to respond adequately and carefully during this time.”

Aboriginal clinical psychologist, Tanja Hirvonen

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

The Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies), commissioned by CBPATSISP have developed evidenced-based the Guidelines for best practice psychosocial assessment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people presenting to hospital with self-harm and suicidal thoughts (the Guidelines) to improve the quality of care and outcomes for people presenting with suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

Download 30 Page PDF Copy 

CBPATSISP best practice_guidelines_FINAL

A history of self-harm is one of the strongest known risk factors for suicide and represents an important opportunity to engage with people in a preventive intervention.

The Guidelines contain 227 evidence-based recommendations that have been endorsed by an expert panel of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous professionals and those with lived experience using the Delphi method for establishing an expert consensus on best practice.

The Guidelines provide the principled basis for culturally appropriate health care. To better achieve cultural responsiveness in practice and improve the quality of care for Aboriginal and Torres Islander people presenting to hospital with self-harm and suicidal thoughts, the guidelines contains recommendations for appropriately and effectively interacting with and engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in ways that are empowering and de-stigmatising.

Tanja Hirvonen states,

“It was highlighted that the type of assessment tool that is used is significant, but just as critical is to ensure that the right information is gathered, and people are appropriately supported during a very critical time in their lives, within a culturally safe model of practice and care.”

Recommendations in the guidelines for evaluating risks, strengths and needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a strong grounding in the concept of social and emotional wellbeing to ensure that assessments inform the most appropriate and effective options for care in the hospital and recovery in the community.

A number of recommendations have also been included to help clinicians respond in developmentally and culturally appropriate ways to self-harm and suicidal thoughts amongst young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Professor Pat Dudgeon concluded:

“These new Guidelines have potential to make a genuine difference for Aboriginal people at risk of suicide or self-harm who present at emergency departments. CBPATSISP is committed to disseminating these guidelines widely and we will advocate to ensure that relevant agencies, such as the Australian Indigenous Psychology Association, are supported to develop cultural competence training and engage hospitals in embedding these guidelines into practice at a national level.”

The guidelines can be also be found online from CBPATSISP and Menzies websites

If you or someone you know needs help contact your nearest ACCHO or call:

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News : Minister @GregHuntMP launches Australia’s Long Term National Health Plan that charts the way forward over the next 3 and 10 years : Download HERE

Delivering the world’s best mental health system – stigma-free and focused on prevention, starting with children under 12 – is the major focus of the Australian Government’s Long Term National Health Plan, outlined today.

Under this Plan, we will build a mentally and physically healthy Australia. For the first time, mental health will be rated equally alongside physical health.

The Long Term National Health Plan recognises that depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and psychosis are health problems to be treated just like diabetes, asthma and broken bones.

It charts the way forward over the next three and 10 years in the key areas of mental health, primary care, hospitals, preventive health and medical research.

The Long Term National Health Plan includes:

  • The 2030 mental health vision, including a new strategy specifically for children under 12 years
  • The 10-year Primary Health Care Plan
  • Continued improvement of private health insurance
  • The 10-year National Preventive Health Strategy
  • The 10-year Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) investment plan.

To help inform the Plan, the Government is commissioning a multi-year study of more than 60,000 Australians to provide the most complete picture ever of our physical and mental health.

The Intergenerational Health and Mental Health Study will cover mental health, general health, nutrition and physical activity.

Health Minister Greg Hunt launching The Long Term National Health Plan at the National Press Club August 14

Download Read full 30 minute speech HERE

Transcript Minister Greg Hunt Launch Health Plan

Improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a top priority for the Government.

Over four years from 2019-20, we will invest $4.1 billion in dedicated health programs for Indigenous
Australians.

This represents an annual increase of around four per cent. This will improve access to culturally sensitive comprehensive primary health care, and target areas of critical need to accelerate progress
towards the Closing the Gap targets.

Our focus is on working with Indigenous communities and other governments to ensure programs are working effectively to improve health outcomes, by tackling the social factors which impact heavily on health.

All Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services now report against national key performance
indicators, which are critical for measuring progress towards the Government’s Closing the Gap targets.

We are also funding research and innovation in cooperation with Australia’s First Nations’ people,
including $160 million for a 10-year national Indigenous Health Research Fund.

Up to $25 million will be directed to communities and stakeholder groups to implement proposals at
a local level to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health “

Australia’s Long Term National Health Plan charts the way forward over the next 3 and 10 years in the key areas of mental health, primary care, hospitals, preventive health and medical research

Download the Plan HERE

australia-s-long-term-national-health-plan_0

Mental health

The Government will build a mental health system that is integrated, simplified, trusted and comprehensive.

The new Children’s Mental Health Strategy focuses on the 0–12 age group, and aims to maintain mental wellbeing and prevent mental ill health. It will improve delivery of supports for early childhood, parenting and early education.

We know that half of all symptoms of mental illness begin before the age of 14, and that neuropsychiatric conditions are the leading cause of disability in young people. If untreated, these conditions severely influence how children develop, and how they do at school and in life.

The Children’s Mental Health Strategy will provide a framework to embed protective skills in early childhood, create mentally healthy home environments, support parents, and prevent or treat early childhood trauma.

The expert working group developing the Strategy will be co-chaired by Professor Frank Oberklaid and Professor Christel Middeldorp. Two internationally recognised leaders in child mental health.

Professor Oberklaid, Director of the Centre for Community Child Health at The Royal Children’s Hospital, and Professor Middeldorp, conjoint Professor of Child and Youth Psychiatry at the Child Health Research Centre and Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service, are two of Australia’s leading child mental health experts.

The Government will continue to tackle stigma around mental illness and encourage people to seek help – and seek it early.

Enormous progress has been made on destigmatisation, but self-stigma – people’s self-consciousness about their own mental health concerns remains high. It is the main barrier to people seeking help.

As a Government, and through the nation’s leaders, organisations, schools and the community, we will work to ensure there will be no shame – in particular, no shame in our own mental health challenges – when we reach out for help.

The Government is undertaking unprecedented action to reduce the rates of suicide, particularly for our young people and Indigenous Australians. More than 3,120 recorded suicides in 2017 – part of an upward trend over the past decade – is a national tragedy.

The Government will establish a ‘towards zero’ suicide target and culture through a whole-of-government approach driven by Australia’s first National Suicide Prevention Adviser, Christine Morgan.

One of the specific priority areas for the next round of the Government’s Million Minds mental health research mission will be research on suicide prevention. Funding of $8 million will be made available to support this research with a round to be opened for competitive application in November 2019.

We will continue to improve service delivery. Funding of $111 million will establish 30 more headspace centres in this term, taking the total to 145 around Australia.

Funding of $110 million is allocated for the Early Psychosis Youth Services Program; $114.5 million to establish eight adult mental health centres; $63 million for residential eating disorder centres in each state and territory; and $36.7 million to expand Way Back services in selected regions, to support people after attempting suicide.

Between now and 2030, we will establish a network of adult mental health centres.

Australia’s mental health system needs to be better integrated. The Government will work towards a New National Mental Health Partnership with states and territories. This Partnership will be informed by the National Mental Health Commission and the Productivity Commission, which are currently working together on Vision 2030: Blueprint for the Future.

The Partnership will identify individual and shared responsibilities for states and territories, and the Commonwealth.

The goal of national partnerships with each of the states and territories is for a simplified mental health system from prevention to treatment to recovery.

Primary care

The Government will implement the 10-year Primary Health Care Plan.

A key reform is support for GPs to provide more flexible care for patients over 70 with chronic and complex conditions, through a new patient enrolment payment model rather than fee-for-service MBS items.

We will develop genomics testing as the new standard of care. Genomics will transform prevention, prediction, diagnosis and treatment by providing precision medical care, targeting the unique genetic makeup of individuals.

We will progressively roll out universal telehealth, modernising general practice, improving continuity and convenience, and particularly benefiting rural and remote Australia.

We will encourage more nurses to enter the primary care workforce.

We will make pharmacy an even more essential part of primary care. The Government is committed to early and inclusive negotiations for a new Community Pharmacy Agreement.

Through our Stronger Rural Health Strategy, we will better distribute the health workforce, with 3,000 new doctors and nurses and hundreds of allied health professionals to be located in areas of need, especially in regional and rural Australia.

Indigenous health is a key priority. We will complete the next iteration of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan by mid-2020.

Through Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), we will continue to ensure Australians have guaranteed access to subsidised health care and medicines. We have provisioned $40 billion for PBS medicines over the next four years. Of this, more than $10 billion is for cancer medicines. We are also looking at ways to improve subsidised access, including streamlining processes for medicines that offer a real therapeutic advance.

Hospitals and private health insurance

We have begun the next wave of private health insurance reforms. We are working collaboratively with insurers, hospitals and doctors to deliver a better outcome for consumers. Our first round of reforms delivered the lowest premium changes in 18 years.

With $131 billion in record public hospitals funding on the table for the next five years under the National Health Reform Agreement, we will work with states and territories to better coordinate care for complex and chronic conditions, keep people out of hospital, and improve management, including self-management, of people with chronic and complex conditions.

Under our landmark $1.25 billion Community Health and Hospitals Program, we will continue to allocate funds for important health and hospital projects. So far, $100 million in signed bilateral agreements with states and territories has been released for 65 projects, including the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre to bring CAR T – cell treatment to Australia ($80 million), Sydney Children’s Comprehensive Cancer Care Centre ($100 million), the Repat Brain and Spinal Centre, South Australia ($20 million), and the Logan Urgent and Specialist Care Centre, Queensland ($33.4 million).

Preventive health

The Government will develop and implement a 10-year National Preventive Health Strategy. This strategy will provide a better balance between treatment and prevention. It will be designed to keep people healthier and out of hospital.

We will continue to lift cancer screening rates across the three current population-based cancer screening programs – bowel, breast, and cervical – and have requested Cancer Australia to investigate the potential for a national lung cancer screening program.

Australia is set to be the first country in the world to eliminate cervical cancer through vaccination and screening.

We will continue to invest in the National Immunisation Program – $400 million for this year. We will develop a national obesity strategy with states and territories. A $20 million National Tobacco Campaign over four years will continue to reduce tobacco use. Our goal is to reduce smoking rates to below 10 per cent by 2025.

The National Preventive Health Strategy includes an Indigenous Preventive Health Plan. Under this plan, targets for improved health outcomes include:

  • Ending avoidable blindness by 2025
  • Ending avoidable deafness by 2025
  • Eradicating rheumatic heart disease by 2030
  • A 10 per cent annual increase in the number of people having at least one health check a year
  • 60 per cent of pregnant women to have at least one health check in the first trimester
  • Stopping the growth in type 2 diabetes among children and young people within five years.

Medical research

The 10-year, $5 billion MRFF investment plan and the $500 million Biomedical Translation Fund are giving funding certainty to our best and brightest researchers and start-ups. They are reaffirming Australia’s reputation as a world leader in the health and medical research.

A total of 54 clinical trials are now being funded through the MRFF. Within 10 years, we will have established Australia as a global centre for clinical trials.

Eight research missions covering brain cancer ($124.7 million), mental health ($125 million), genomics $500 million), ageing, aged care and dementia ($185 million), Indigenous ($160 million), stem cell ($150 million), cardiovascular ($220 million) and traumatic brain injury ($50 million) are funded through the MRFF. Over time, they will transform health care.

Work on breakthrough treatments includes the $20 million Mackenzie’s Mission to research rare genetic conditions like spinal muscular atrophy and fragile X syndrome, and the $50 million Genomic Cancer Medicine Program.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News : Read Barb Shaw AMSANT Chair keynote speeches at the inaugural Indigenous Health Justice Conference #NILCIHJC2019 Darwin 13 Aug and #AMSANT25Conf Alice Springs 7 Aug

” The conference represents the coming together of two strands of community endeavour—health and justice—that I think naturally belong together, and about which I have had a close association with, and passion for, since I was young.

From my sector’s perspective—the primary health care sector—you simply cannot talk about health without invoking the principles of justice.

It’s in our DNA as health professionals.

Even more so when we are talking about Aboriginal community controlled primary health care services.

For our services are—first and foremost—acts of self-determination. There is no stronger expression of our community’s desire and hunger for justice than the pursuit of our rights as First Nations peoples to be self-determining.

To have our people making the decisions about what we need and how we should do things.

And to have our people governing and being employed in the organisations that deliver programs and services to our communities.

And yet we have never accepted, and we will never accept, this imposed status quo.

Aboriginal community controlled health services embody this determination and resolve.” 

Barb Shaw keynote address delivered 13 August to the inaugural Indigenous Health Justice Conference held in Darwin in conjunction with the National Indigenous Legal Conference.

Read in full Part 1 Below

” AMSANT provides a strong and respected voice nationally, which is evidenced by the high regard that we are afforded by the politicians we seek to influence, the bureaucrats we spar with on a daily basis, and by our peers who we work with at the national level, including our national peak body, NACCHO. AMSANT has been a consistent and significant contributor to NACCHO.

I will finish by sounding a note of concern that we can’t take our achievements or position for granted. We need to be forever vigilant, for despite all our efforts, the system has not fundamentally changed and is still configured to marginalise and disempower Aboriginal people. We have to work harder and smarter.

And we know we can because AMSANT is all of us. When we work together, when we combine our voices, and when we share a vision, then nothing is going to stop us.

May the next 25 years of AMSANT be as wonderful as the first.

AMSANT Chair Barb Shaw Keynote address for AMSANT 25th Anniversary Conference
Alice Springs Convention Centre, 7th August 2019 

At the #AMSANT25Conf Dinner 25 years of Aboriginal health leadership cutting the 25 year celebratory cake Our Barb Shaw Chair and John Paterson CEO , Pat Anderson , June Oscar and Donna Ah Chee 

Read and or download 25 Anniversary address here 

Barb Shaw – Keynote address for AMSANT 25th Anniversary Conference_FINAL (2)

Good morning everyone.

I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land on which we’re meeting, the Larrakia people, and particularly their elders, past, present and emerging, and to thank James Parfitt for his warm welcome to country.

My name is Barb Shaw.

I am the Chairperson of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT—or AMSANT—and also the Chief Executive Officer of Anyinginyi Health Service.

I would like especially thank David Woodroffe for his insightful words of introduction, and particularly his highlighting of the importance of the words hope, optimism and resilience. These are qualities that have always been strong in our communities.

I am very grateful to the Winkiku [Win-kee-koo] Rrumbangi NT Indigenous Lawyers Association for their invitation to AMSANT to partner with them in holding the inaugural Indigenous Health Justice Conference, being held in parallel with this year’s National Indigenous Legal Conference.

The conference represents the coming together of two strands of community endeavour—health and justice—that I think naturally belong together, and about which I have had a close association with, and passion for, since I was young.

From my sector’s perspective—the primary health care sector—you simply cannot talk about health without invoking the principles of justice.

It’s in our DNA as health professionals.

Even more so when we are talking about Aboriginal community controlled primary health care services.

For our services are—first and foremost—acts of self-determination. There is no stronger expression of our community’s desire and hunger for justice than the pursuit of our rights as First Nations peoples to be self-determining.

To have our people making the decisions about what we need and how we should do things.

And to have our people governing and being employed in the organisations that deliver programs and services to our communities.

When we take a long, hard look at the many, many injustices our people face today, we can trace the path of injustice back to the persistent and variously callous, arrogant, or ignorant denials of our rights to self-determination that is our lived experience as First Nations peoples in this country.

And yet we have never accepted, and we will never accept, this imposed status quo.

Aboriginal community controlled health services embody this determination and resolve.

In the NT, we have been around more than 45 years, since Congress was first established in Alice Springs in 1974.

It was a time when one out of every four of our babies died before their first birthday! Just think about that.

It was a time when the life expectancy for Aboriginal males was just 52 years and for Aboriginal females, 54 years.

The community rallied—literally. It was a turning point and a movement was born.

Other communities followed and new community controlled services emerged—Urapuntja in 1977, Wurli Wurlinjang in the early 1980s, Pintupi and Anyinginyi in 1984, with more joining over the years.

As a sector, we didn’t sit back and wait for the government to do to us—we actively drove the agenda, took a leadership role, and did the hard work to advocate and lobby—and importantly—to provide the evidence and substance to what we were asking for.

Last week AMSANT held our 25th Anniversary celebrations in Alice Springs. One of our strong and amazing leaders, Pat Anderson, reminded us of our sector’s leadership in the early years, including in the international arena.

When primary health care leaders from around the world met in Russia in 1978, to set out a vision for primary health care, resulting in the historic Alma Ata Declaration—we were there—making our contribution to the Declaration’s drafting.

And in 1996, when the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations was drafting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—UNDRIP—we were there, advocating for community control.

Back in Australia, we led the campaign to remove health from ATSIC’s responsibilities—where it was chronically underfunded—and transfer it to the Commonwealth Department of Health, where Commonwealth bureaucrats were made accountable for our people’s health.

Importantly, this meant we were finally able to begin to access the mainstream resources and services due to us, that we were not receiving.

This brought significantly increased funding to our sector and transformed the Aboriginal health landscape.

Today, our services provide over 60% of all primary health care to our people in the Northern Territory.

And we do it better. In 2010, a major study concluded that when ACCHSs deliver health programs there is fifty percent more health gain or benefit than if those programs were delivered by mainstream primary care services.

The important point here is that this didn’t come from government. It came from us.

This history also illustrates two fundamental principles that our two disciplines, justice and health, also hold in common—Truth and Evidence.

For our sector, our truth existed in the history of disadvantage, neglect, exclusion and institutional racism that our communities were facing.

But in order to get action from government we needed to provide the evidence to support our case.

The battles we were fighting were, in fact, situated within a much longer history of struggle to establish and protect human rights.

Advances in public health achieved during the 19th century laid the foundations for a set of rights as citizens and communities that we now regard as standard entitlements and the responsibility of good government—if not to provide—then at least to regulate.

These advances depended on evidence.

For example, discovery of the causes of infectious diseases, such as cholera, provided crucial evidence for the need for public infrastructure for clean water supply and sewage disposal.

Evidence of the impacts on health caused by poor and overcrowded housing contributed to establishing a role for government in the provision of public housing and building standards—the concept of shelter as a basic human right.

Such advances in our knowledge of health determinants underpin the rights and laws that have developed around these issues, which we largely take for granted.

In stating this, it is also apparent to all of us here that these rights have not become automatic and universally available, and that those who most often lack them, come from the poorest and most marginalised sections of our society.

Here in the Northern Territory, particularly in remote communities, the lack of adequate housing, water and sewerage are major issues of concern.

For our people, connection to country and the ability to live on our ancestral lands are fundamental to our identity, to our cultural and spiritual wellbeing, and to our right to maintain our relationships and communities.

However, we cannot achieve this without basic infrastructure and services that are routinely provided in cities and towns, but which in many of our communities, are either inadequately provided or don’t exist.

Poor quality and inadequate sources of potable water have become issues of public health concern which in some cases are threatening community viability.

The significant shortfall in housing and high levels of overcrowding and homelessness experienced in Aboriginal communities are unacceptable in themselves, but all the more so, because the evidence tells us that inadequate housing and homelessness are determinants of poor health and wellbeing.

This includes transmitted diseases such as rheumatic heart disease, communicable diseases, effects on stress and wellbeing, family violence and even school attendance.

Whichever way you look at it, Indigenous housing is an area of significant government failure.

In a large part this is because government made a series of ill-considered decisions to cut us out of any significant or meaningful governance and decision-making role in housing.

Our Indigenous Community Housing Organisations were abolished.

The Commonwealth’s Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program or SIHIP, and National Partnership on Remote Indigenous Housing or NPARIH, burned through some $1.7 billion over 10 years without much troubling to get our input.

And the NT Intervention saw the Commonwealth take over responsibility for remote community leases and housing, with housing transferred to the NT Government.

The latter has been its own disaster, with evidence of incompetent management of residential tenancy leases and rents and an inadequate system for responding to repairs and maintenance, leading to significant hardship for residents.

Despite evidence of its own failures, it is perhaps unsurprising that the government is not happy that communities have recently exercised their rights to adequate housing by launching a class action against the NT Government in relation to rents and repairs.

This is a good example of a health justice partnership—the community partnering with a group of lawyers who provided the expertise to document and launch an action at the direction of the community.

It is hard to look at this example as anything other than a spectacular own goal by government.

They should have listened to us, perhaps!

In saying this, it needs to be acknowledged that there are encouraging developments in government policy on housing at both the NT and Commonwealth levels.

The NT Government’s Local Decision Making policy extends to Aboriginal housing and the new National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous housing struck between the NT and the Commonwealth, includes the four Northern Territory Land Councils in a significant role.

However, this falls well short of self-determination in Aboriginal housing.

Here, the leadership has once again come from the Aboriginal community. Four years’ work—supported by the Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT, or APO NT—has resulted in the development of a new Northern Territory Aboriginal peak housing body, Aboriginal Housing NT, or AHNT.

This was our initiative and our hard work—not government’s.

With in-principle agreement to support the new body, it is now a matter of negotiation about what formal role the new peak body will be afforded.

Occasionally an issue emerges that cuts like a knife through the national consciousness, requiring immediate and strong action.

Such was the situation when the 4-Corners program revealed the appalling abuse that was occurring inside the Don Dale youth detention centre. The revelations prompted the immediate establishment of the Royal Commission into the protection and detention of children in the Northern Territory.

This issue blew wide open the systemic failures that exist in the treatment of our young people, mostly Indigenous children, and provided a huge opportunity for reform.

Our sector’s response, alongside our APO NT partners, provided leadership to ensure an evidence-based, therapeutic, public health response was considered by the Royal Commission.

We also advocated for a new Tripartite Forum with an oversight role in relation to reforms in child protection and youth justice. AMSANT is represented on the Forum as one of three APO NT representatives.

The NT Government’s acceptance of the recommendations of the Royal Commission is commendable, however progress on the reforms is concerning and the lack of a commitment of funding from the Commonwealth is disappointing.

It is also disappointing to see the Northern Territory Government waver in the face of a recent campaign to water down the reforms.

We know only too well the politics that have long played out in the Northern Territory to scapegoat and demonise our people as problems to be managed, and punished.

We have seen the law and order and mandatory sentencing campaigns that have directly contributed to outcomes such as Don Dale.  We have suffered under the NT Intervention.

The low road of political opportunism dressed up as community concern.

Anything but focus on the neglect and structural racism that are key underlying determinants of the situation.

We can and must do better as a community.

This brings me to two other moments of national consciousness pricking that bring us—I believe—to a watershed moment in this nation’s history.

The first is Closing the Gap—a policy that was well-intentioned but also typically forged without our consent or input and delivered as a top-down initiative.

What could possibly go wrong?

Burdened with annual, very public demonstrations of its failure according to its own indices—only two of 10 targets achieving reasonable improvement—the Prime Minister sensibly called for a re-fresh of the policy.

Perhaps not so sensibly, the re-fresh consultations were centrally controlled and once again failed to engage us meaningfully.

However, this time, faced with concern expressed by a national Coalition of Peak Indigenous organisations, the Prime Minister asked for our solution.

The result is a formal Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap with the Coalition of Peaks, and the establishment of a Joint Council on Closing the Gap with the Coalition of Peaks represented as a member—the first time that a non-governmental body has been represented within a COAG structure.

APO NT is a member of the Coalition of Peaks and the NACCHO CEO, our very own Pat Turner, is leading the Coalition.

Importantly, the central ask of the Coalition of Peaks, is not around the new indicators—although these are important tools to get right—but for a fundamental change in the way governments work with our people and the full involvement of our people in shared decision-making at all levels.

This includes the need for a commitment to building, strengthening and expanding the formal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled sector to deliver Closing the Gap services and programs.

The second watershed moment was the release of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

That this considered and heart-felt gesture from our communities was summarily dismissed by the Prime Minister of the day—and that it continues to be undermined by baseless scaremongering—represents a moment of national shame.

But we have taken great heart from the many, many non-Indigenous organisations and individuals who have taken the Statement to their hearts.

This includes the AMA and the Australian Law Society.

And what did we ask for? We asked for:

  • a process of treaty-making to lay a firm basis for the future relationship of First Nations and those who came to this country later;
  • a process of truth telling about our shared past; and
  • a constitutionally enshrined voice to Parliament to ensure ongoing structures for our input into policy making and the life of the nation.

If we were to try to pinpoint the essence of what justice for our people means and what it will take to address the health disadvantage we face, then we would probably find it contained within the pregnant potential of these two initiatives—Closing the Gap and the Uluru Statement.

We are not going anywhere.

And we will not give up on our dreams.

All we ask is to be afforded the responsibility to make our own decisions about our own lives.

To have the opportunity to participate in decision-making over the policies that affect us; and to have our organisations and our people serve our communities.

To be afforded respect as equals, side-by-side, safe and secure in our cultures and identity.

To have the courage and the decency to face the truth of this nation.

Over the next two days, these and many other issues will be discussed and I know it will be done with passion and with goodwill.

I commend this conference to you.

Thank you.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth and #SuicidePrevention : Remote jobless ” CDP ” to be trained as Indigenous ‘crisis’ contacts says @KenWyattMP #Garma2019

 

“In the past we used to walk with our fathers and our grand­fathers and have a yarn with them.

If we had a proper look at the data we would find there were a lot less suicides when our communities were strong and our families were there all the time.

And then the policies of the past impacted that level of bonding, families have been broken in some instances.”

Mr Wyatt revealed his plan as he prepares to visit Garma and a remote Northern Territory community where leaders say jobs have helped save their young people.

On Saturday 3 August at 11.15 the Voices workshop at Garma

The official Program Booklet can be viewed HERE

Featuring

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt

Pat Turner : Coalition of Peak Organisations

Mick Dodson

June Oscar

From Today’s Australian 

Unemployed Indigenous people in remote towns and communities will be trained as round-the-clock emergency contacts for troubled young people as part of the Morrison government’s plan to address the scourge of indigenous suicide.

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt wants some of the 29,000 Aboriginal people in the Community Development Program — formerly work-for-the-dole — to serve as “permanent part-time youth engagement people”.

CDP participants are required to complete 20 hours a week of work-like duties that benefit their community, but so far none have performed this role.

Those indigenous people found suitable for the role would complete a mental health first aid course and be available to listen and mentor, Mr Wyatt said.

Aboriginal Australians take their own lives at twice the rate of other Australians, and the figures are even higher among indigenous youth.

The Arnhem Land community of Gunyangara was crippled by ­indigenous youth suicide in the years before the local Aboriginal corporation took control of the town’s services and began employing its young residents to run a diverse range of businesses. ­Locals now build their own houses, including by making bricks and milling the wood for frames.

Djawa Yunupingu said the community had survived “very bad times”. No resident had taken their own life for 10 years: “We made our own destiny,” he said.

Mr Wyatt will visit 10 newly built houses at Gunyangara today before facing some of the nation’s most respected backers of the Uluru Statement from the Heart at the Garma festival at nearby Gulkula.

He has pledged to take Australians to a referendum on constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians, one of the elements of the Uluru statement. He has not committed to what many consider the most important first step — a constitutionally enshrined voice. Woolworths — Australia’s biggest employer — and mining giants BHP and Rio Tinto are among corporate supporters of a constitutionally enshrined voice, and two former High Court chief justices have set out to explain why it can be achieved without compromising the authority of parliament. But yesterday Mr Wyatt made his strongest plea yet for Uluru backers to compromise.

“There are some things I have had to set aside from my younger days when I had fire in my belly,” he said. “We hope to have what we want, an optimum outcome. We also have to be pragmatic.”

Mr Wyatt warned that if the referendum failed, statistics showed it was unlikely to be resurrected. He indicated it was better to take the question of constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians to a referendum and win, than to ­include the question of a constitutionally enshrined voice and lose.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SuicidePrevention #MentalHealth #ClosingTheGap : Read full speech @BeyondBlue Chair The Hon. Julia Gillard AC opening #NSPC19

 ” I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet, the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, and, in a spirit of reconciliation, pay my respect to their Elders – past and present………….

Today, First Nations people are twice as likely to die by suicide than non-Indigenous people.

Since 2012, suicide has been the leading cause of death among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 to 34 years of age.

Improving social and emotional wellbeing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and reversing the suicide toll are inextricably linked to issues of post-colonial, intergenerational trauma, the need for secure housing, a fair go inside and outside the justice system, access to education and employment opportunities, and tackling racism.

And as many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to remind us, Indigenous policies must be led by Indigenous people whose solutions look different to ours. “

The Hon Julia Gillard Chair of Beyond Blue and 27th Prime Minister of Australia.

To read full speech 

Read over 140 + Aboriginal health and Suicide Prevention articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years 

Here are selected extracts

1.Today, First Nations people are twice as likely to die by suicide than non-Indigenous people.

In every part of our country, and for the sake of our society and economy, we need to continue to stress that maintaining good mental health and preventing suicide is a social, economic and political imperative.

As we all know, this imperative is especially vital for some groups who face significantly higher risk of suicide.

People of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, LGBTI communities, rural and regional Australians, and our young people and the most elderly.

Once again, I am drawn to the leadership of Professor De Leo who observed that great cultural sensitivity should be applied when designing effective suicide-prevention strategies to tackle social issues of such importance and magnitude.

That they must reflect the unique needs and experiences of communities and that the communities themselves must show us the way.

He points out that many risk factors for suicide are the same for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people: trauma, housing stress, substance abuse and unemployment among them.

But there are also personal issues that show more frequently in Indigenous suicide such as relationship breakdown and recent bereavement.

The significance of culture has never been as apparent to me as when I visited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Culture is a word that is often tangled up with nationality, but it entails much more.

Our culture determines so much of our identity; our values, the way we view the world, the way we interact with others, our sense of belonging.

Our culture protects us.

And if a single piece of our culture is taken away, erased or replaced, it leaves us feeling uncertain, disconnected.

Today, First Nations people are twice as likely to die by suicide than non-Indigenous people.

Since 2012, suicide has been the leading cause of death among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 to 34 years of age.

Improving social and emotional wellbeing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and reversing the suicide toll are inextricably linked to issues of post-colonial, intergenerational trauma, the need for secure housing, a fair go inside and outside the justice system, access to education and employment opportunities, and tackling racism.

And as many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to remind us, Indigenous policies must be led by Indigenous people whose solutions look different to ours.

I am heartened that we have, for the first time, Aboriginal people from both sides of politics leading Indigenous policy.

It is hard to believe that, despite the alarming statistics on Indigenous suicide and psychological distress, there are no mental health or suicide prevention targets in Australia’s Closing the Gap strategy.

Rectifying this is something Beyond Blue has been calling for.

2. Research and the #YouCanTalk Campaign 

In February 2018, Beyond Blue released research by the University of Melbourne and Whereto Research Based Consulting, which detailed what advice can be given to the public to increase the likelihood that they will ask about and support someone who may be at risk of suicide.

This was rigorous, scientific but also humanistic research that I hope Diego would approve of.

The research team spoke to experts, studied existing literature and surveyed over 3,000 Australians from all walks of life.

People who said they had not been affected in any way by suicide.

People who had been touched directly by suicide.

And people who had attempted suicide in the previous 12 months.

Those who had thought about or attempted suicide confirmed that having someone listen to them with empathy and show care and support was the most important and helpful thing to them.

The research confirmed a deep community concern about suicide, and that most people want to do more to prevent suicide in their communities, but don’t know how.

They were unsure where to start, how to identify the often very subtle verbal and non-verbal warning signs.

The words to use, or even whether they should say anything at all.

Because:

• 50 per cent of research participants believed only a professional can help prevent suicide;

• 40 per cent worried that talking about suicide made things worse;

• And 30 per cent believed discussing suicide would make it happen.

That research underpinned a collaborative response by the Black Dog Institute, Everymind, headspace, Lifeline, ReachOut, RU OK? and Beyond Blue.

The result was the #YouCanTalk campaign.

#YouCanTalk aims to debunk the myths, build up the confidence of the community, and equip individuals to have safe and helpful conversations about suicide and provide empathetic and practical support to people thinking about suicide.

It is about mobilising the community and empowering family and friends to act as ‘eyes and ears’, hopefully before their loved ones reach crisis point.

The first phase of the social media campaign went live in July last year.

Using the combined power and reach of the social networks and online communities of all seven organisations, the message reached an audience of over 18 million and was the top trending Twitter topic on launch day.

A second phase is in development with an expanded group that now includes SANE Australia, the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention and Roses in the Ocean.

#YouCanTalk is owned, and can be used, by everyone.

And it’s already having positive ripple effects.