NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth Alert : @AMAPresident calls for a national, overarching mental health “architecture”, and proper investment in both #prevention and #treatment of mental illnesses

 

“Almost one in three (30 per cent) of Indigenous adults suffered high or very high levels of psychological distress in 2012-13. Indigenous adults are 2.7 times as likely as non-Indigenous adults to suffer these levels of distress.

General practitioners manage mental health problems for Indigenous Australians at 1.3 times the rate for other Australians, and mental health-related conditions accounted for 4.4 per cent of hospitalisations of Indigenous people in 2012-13.”

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon – Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Download the AMA 2018 Position Paper

Mental-Health-2018- Position-Statement

Read over 168 NACCHO Mental Health articles published over 5 Years

The AMA is calling for a national, overarching mental health “architecture”, and proper investment in both prevention and treatment of mental illnesses.

Almost one in two Australian adults will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, yet mental health and psychiatric care are grossly underfunded when compared to physical health, AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said today.

Releasing the AMA Position Statement on Mental Health 2018, Dr Gannon said that strategic leadership is needed to integrate all components of mental health prevention and care.

“Many Australians will experience a mental illness at some time in their lives, and almost every Australian will experience the effects of mental illness in a family member, friend, or work colleague,” Dr Gannon said.

“For mental health consumers and their families, navigating the system and finding the right care at the right time can be difficult and frustrating.

“Australia lacks an overarching mental health ‘architecture’. There is no vision of what the mental health system will look like in the future, nor is there any agreed national design or structure that will facilitate prevention and proper care for people with mental illness.

“The AMA is calling for the balance between funding acute care in public hospitals, primary care, and community-managed mental health to be correctly weighted.

“Funding should be on the basis of need, demand, and disease burden – not a competition between sectors and specific conditions. Policies that try to strip resources from one area of mental health to pay for another are disastrous.

“Poor access to acute beds for major illness leads to extended delays in emergency departments, poor access to community care leads to delayed or failed discharges from hospitals, and poor funding of community services makes it harder to access and coordinate prevention, support services, and early intervention.

“Significant investment is urgently needed to reduce the deficits in care, fragmentation, poor coordination, and access to effective care.

“As with physical health, prevention is just as important in mental health, and evidence-based prevention can be socially and economically superior to treatment.

“Community-managed mental health services have not been appropriately structured or funded since the movement towards deinstitutionalisation in the 1970s and 1980s, which shifted much of the care and treatment of people with a mental illness out of institutions and into the community.

“The AMA Position Statement supports coordinated and properly funded community-managed mental health services for people with psychosocial disability, as this will reduce the need for costly hospital admissions.”

The Position Statement calls for Governments to address underfunding in mental health services and programs for adolescents, refugees and migrants, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and people in regional and remote areas.

It also calls for Government recognition and support for carers of people with mental illness.

“Caring for people with a mental illness is often the result of necessity, not choice, and can involve very intense demands on carers,” Dr Gannon said.

“Access to respite care is vital for many people with mental illness and their families, who bear the largest burden of care.”

The AMA Position Statement on Mental Health 2018 is available at https://ama.com.au/position-statement/mental-health-2018

Background

  • 7.3 million Australians (45 per cent) aged 16 to 85 will experience a common mental health disorder, such as depression, anxiety, or substance use disorder, in their lifetime.
  • Almost 64,000 people have a psychotic illness and are in contact with public specialised mental health services each year.
  • 560,000 children and adolescents aged four to 17 (about 14 per cent) experienced mental health disorders in 2012-13.
  • Australians living with schizophrenia die 25 years earlier than the general population, mainly due to poor heart health.
  • Almost one in three (30 per cent) of Indigenous adults suffered high or very high levels of psychological distress in 2012-13. Indigenous adults are 2.7 times as likely as non-Indigenous adults to suffer these levels of distress.
  • General practitioners manage mental health problems for Indigenous Australians at 1.3 times the rate for other Australians, and mental health-related conditions accounted for 4.4 per cent of hospitalisations of Indigenous people in 2012-13.
  • About $8.5 billion is spent every year on mental health-related services in Australia, including residential and community services, hospital-based services (both inpatient and outpatient), and consultations with GPs and other specialists.

(Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare)

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health @SNAICC @NationalFVPLS respond to the Royal Commission Into Child Sex Abuse : 14.3% of survivors were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

“Strong cultural identity, connections to family and community, and cultural care practices are non-negotiable factors in keeping our children safe.

It is imperative that, especially following such a thorough process, all of the recommendations from this report are accepted and implemented,” said Ms Williams.

The pain and injustices of the past have been acknowledged, and must now be redressed. At the same time, we must tackle current challenges to ensure our children are kept safe in family and culture.”

Sharron Williams, SNAICC Chairperson. 14.3% of survivors were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Those that shared their stories with the Royal Commission spoke not only of sexual physical and emotional abuse, but also of racism and cultural abuse. See Part 2 below

 ” The National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum (National FVPLS Forum) welcomes the landmark findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The report identified the need for specific initiatives to be developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who experience child sexual abuse, as well as to prevent the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families and communities.”

Antoinette Braybrook, Convenor of the National FVPLS Forum.See Part 3

” We must focus our efforts on the future, but we must also ensure we properly deal with the past. Perhaps the single most important aspect of this is the redress scheme.

What happens now with redress?

The national redress scheme is behind schedule and must be finalised with sufficient funding, and government and institutional commitment.

What happens now with redress? See Part 4 Below

Part 1 Here’s What The Royal Commission Into Child Sex Abuse Said About Survivors

From Buzzfeed

Thousands of stories, and statistical insights, about Australians who suffered as children at the hands of sexual abusers have come to light in the 1000-plus page, 17-volume final report of Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Childhood Sexual Abuse, handed down on Friday.

The report paid tribute to the bravery of survivors for speaking out, in more than 8,000 private hearings, about what had been done to them, and the destruction and chaos it had wrought upon their lives.

“Many spoke of having their innocence stolen, their childhood lost, their education and prospective career taken from them and their personal relationships damaged,” the report said. “For many, sexual abuse is a trauma they can never escape. It can affect every aspect of their lives.”

The commissioners wrote that without the personal stories of survivors they could not have done their work.

“These stories have allowed us to understand what has happened,” the report said. “They have helped us to identify what should be done to make institutions safer for children in the future.

“The survivors are remarkable people with a common concern to do what they can to ensure that other children are not abused. They deserve our nation’s thanks.”

The report published statistics based on the experiences, where information was available, of 6,875 survivors who testified at the commission up to May 31, 2017.

It found that the majority of survivors (64.3%) were male.

More than half said they were aged from 10 to 14 when they were first sexually abused.

Female survivors tended to be younger when they were first sexually abused than male survivors.

14.3% of survivors were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

4.3% of survivors said they had a disability at the time of the abuse.

3.1% of survivors were from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds.

93.8% of survivors said they were abused by a man.

83.8% of survivors said they were abused by an adult.

10.4% of survivors were in prison at the time they gave evidence to the royal commission.

The average duration of child sexual abuse in institutions was 2.2 years.

36.3% of survivors said they were abused by multiple perpetrators.

These stories were told in private sessions, with one or two commissioners present to give survivors as safe as possible an environment to share their distressing and traumatic stories.

Almost 4,000 of those stories have been published with the final report in the form of short, de-identified narratives.

One published narrative was about “Keenan”, an Aboriginal man who was abused as a child and has spent most of his adult life in prison.

He is one of the 10.4% of survivors who spoke to the commission from prison, where he was serving a lengthy sentence for attacking a man he thought was a paedophile.

“I’ve got a deadset hatred of sex offenders,” he told the commission. “An absolute hatred.”

Keenan told the commission that he was fostered by a “nice white family” in the mid-1980s when he was five, who he loved and who became his adoptive parents. But he felt different in the white neighbourhood as an Aboriginal child: “I was a bit worried about what people would think when my family is white and I was black.”

He started going to the local Catholic church when he was nine to learn about Holy Communion. It was here that the parish priest took an interest in him.

“He asked my parents if he could do private studies with me at the church and my parents thought, you know, the sun shined out of his arse, they thought he was the top bloke,” he said.

The priest abused Keenan when they were alone together, touching Keenan’s thigh and penis. Keenan said he didn’t want to do it, but the priest “roared” at him that no matter what he told his parents, they wouldn’t believe him.

After two more instances of abuse, Keenan tried to tell his father about what was happening, but was dismissed. “No, you’re probably looking at it the wrong way. He’s probably just mucking around with you”.

Keenan refused to go back to see the priest, and changed churches. The abuse shattered him — he lost faith in God, and felt betrayed by his father.

“The two main things I believed in the strongest weren’t there for me,” he said.

After that, Keenan decided to suppress the abuse, saying: “I’ll find a little part of my body I can fold it up into and I don’t have to talk about it anymore.”

But as with so many survivors, it dramatically changed the course of Keenan’s life. He said he became “a prick of a kid” and at 15 moved out of home with a girlfriend and lost touch with his adoptive family for years. In the ensuing years, he wound up in juvenile detention and later adult prison.

Keenan told his girlfriend about the abuse, and she was supportive. In his mid-20s, he told his mother, and she was upset he hadn’t told he earlier. His relationship with his father remained difficult.

Other than those conversations, sharing his story with the commission was the first time Keenan had spoken about the abuse in 30 years.

“Even now in court they asked if I’ve been touched as a kid I said ‘No’. ‘Cause it’s got nothing to do with them. It’s taken me a long time to talk about this. Opening up again today about it, it makes me feel like I’m a kid again. It’s bringing back a lot in my mind I’ve learnt how to put away,” he said.

“At the age I am now I’ve got to get rid of that burden that’s sitting inside me, I think that’s the thing that keeps bringing me back to jail. ‘Cause jail’s a good place to hide.”

The support services page for the Royal Commission is here.

If you or someone you know needs help contact your nearest ACCHO or , you can call 1800 Respect (1800 737 732) or visit www.1800respect.org.au, or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au.

Part 2 ROYAL COMMISSION REPORT RECOGNISES CULTURE AS A PROTECTIVE FACTOR FOR CHILDREN AND CALLS FOR HEALING FOR ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER SURVIVORS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

 SNAICC welcomes the release of the final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. We take this opportunity to acknowledge those who bravely shared their stories with the Royal Commission, and the barriers to disclosure that prevent many other survivors from coming forward.

The Royal Commission’s final report confirms the lived pain of past and present effects of child removal. The Royal Commission heard from many survivors who had been forcibly removed from their families as children and then sexually abused in institutions that should have kept them safe.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors who shared their stories with the Royal Commission spoke not only of sexual physical and emotional abuse, but also of racism and cultural abuse.

It is clear that child sexual abuse in institutions is not only a thing of the past; it is still a problem today.

As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are significantly overrepresented in out-of-home care systems today, addressing vulnerabilities and implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendations must be guaranteed as a matter of urgency.

The Royal Commission recognised the alarming over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home and called for reform of the contemporary system ensure children are safe from abuse in the future. It recognised that culture is an important protective factor for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The Royal Commission’s final report recognises the importance of the full and proper implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle, and recommends partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and community representatives to ensure this is met.

The Royal Commission also makes important recommendations to fund Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing approaches and improve support for kinship carers, including ensuring that financial support and training are equivalent to that provided to foster carers.

“It is imperative that, especially following such a thorough process, all of the recommendations from this report are accepted and implemented,” said Ms Williams.

“The pain and injustices of the past have been acknowledged, and must now be redressed. At the same time, we must tackle current challenges to ensure our children are kept safe in family and culture.”

The publication of the final report concludes an extensive and exhaustive process, spanning several years, thousands of private sessions with survivors, and close examination of traumatic personal experiences by six Commissioners, including Professor Helen Milroy, who has brought specific expertise and understanding to issues relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

SNAICC thanks the all those involved in the Royal Commission for their dedicated and sensitive approach to the examination of this national tragedy – one that has been unresolved for far too long.

Part 3 Greater investment into supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities’ essential to preventing institutional child sexual abuse, says landmark Royal Commission report

The National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum (National FVPLS Forum) welcomes the landmark findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The report identified the need for specific initiatives to be developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who experience child sexual abuse, as well as to prevent the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families and communities.

“The Royal Commission has acknowledged the importance of culture and developing specific initiatives to keep our children safe,” said Antoinette Braybrook, Convenor of the National FVPLS Forum.

“We work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children nationally who have experienced family violence, the Royal Commission identified that many of those have been victims of child sexual abuse.”

The National FVPLS Forum played a pivotal role in raising awareness of the Royal Commission and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to share their stories, receiving Federal Government funding to work in partnership with Knowmore Legal Services.

“It’s the trust and confidence that our people have in us that takes us into those communities to raise awareness and provide support. We engage and work with many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people nationally who experience ongoing trauma resulting from child sexual abuse” said Ms Braybrook. “Our people’s access to Aboriginal community controlled organisations, like FVPLSs, is essential”.

“Aboriginal community controlled organisations, like FVPLSs, are best placed to provide this support” said Ms Braybrook “Our services are holistic and culturally safe.”

“Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have shared their stories, now we need greater investment in Aboriginal community controlled organisations to provide the support that our people need.”

Part 4 The royal commission’s final report has landed – now to make sure there is an adequate redress scheme

From The Conversation

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has performed its task magnificently. Its scale, complexity and quality is unprecedented. Its work is already being acknowledged internationally as a model of best practice.

As a nation, we can be proud of the commissioners and their staff. We should acclaim the courage of all survivors, including those who informed the commissioners about their experiences, and we should honour those who have not lived to see this day.

We must recognise the integrity and strength of those who advocated for the inquiry, including survivors, their families, journalists and police. We should applaud former prime minister Julia Gillard for initiating the commission, and the current federal government for ensuring it was adequately resourced.

But this is not the end. The real work begins now. Australian governments and major social institutions now have not only the opportunity, but the responsibility, to create lasting social change. Their responses will be monitored here, including through requirements to report on their actions, and around the world.

The royal commission’s impact

This watershed inquiry has created the conditions for a seachange in how society deals with child sexual abuse in institutions, which can flow to our treatment of sexual abuse in other settings.

Our society’s leaders can build progress from the pain of former failings. Not meeting this responsibility would surely stick as a lifelong regret for those in positions to cement change. Fulfilling this imperative can leave a legacy of which these government and institutional leaders can be proud.

Substantial progress has already been made. The commission’s earlier reports have influenced important changes to civil justice systems, criminal justice systems, organisational governance, and prevention, including situational prevention in child and youth-serving organisations.

The Child Safe Standards now promoted by the commission are substantially embedded in legislation in several states, requiring organisations to adopt comprehensive measures to prevent, identify and respond appropriately to child sexual abuse.

Civil laws have been amended in most jurisdictions to allow claims for compensation, holding individuals and organisations accountable.

In some states, new requirements to report known and suspected cases apply through special “failure to report” and “failure to protect” offences in criminal laws. They also apply through separate reportable conduct schemes that add essential independent external oversight.


Read more: Royal commission recommends sweeping reforms for Catholic Church to end child abuse


Yet much remains to be done. The reforms already made in some states must be adopted elsewhere to create national consistency.

Accountability of individuals and organisations is essential to create cultural change, and needs to be achieved through both civil systems (such as following Western Australia’s recent bill enabling lawsuits against organisations that previously could not be sued, such as the Catholic Church), and criminal systems (for example, prosecuting those who harbour offenders, and removing criminal law principles that compromise criminal prosecutions).

Other state and territory mandatory reporting laws need to be harmonised, as recommended by the commission. Many of the commission’s new 189 recommendations are rightly directed towards prevention, especially through the Child Safe Standards, including their requirements for education, codes of conduct, situational prevention, and the commitment required of organisations’ leadership.

 

The bill for the scheme remains before parliament, awaiting a committee report due in March 2018. It is yet to receive the commitment of all states, territories, and relevant organisations.

The commission recommended the scheme be operational by July 1, 2017, with an upper cap of A$200,000 and an average redress payment of $65,000. Under the bill, the scheme’s cap is $150,000, substantially below the recommendation, and even further below the average payment awarded in Ireland of more than €60,000 (about A$92,200). In Ireland, the highest payment was more than €300,000 (about A$461,000).

The Australian scheme contains three elements. First, a monetary payment as tangible recognition of the wrong suffered by a survivor. Second, access to counselling and psychological services (estimated at an average of $5,500 per person). Third, if requested, a direct personal response from the responsible institution(s), such as an apology.

Not all survivors will apply to the scheme, as many are not financially motivated. However, it is an essential part of a healing response. This has been shown internationally in Canada, Ireland and elsewhere.

Redress schemes are more flexible and speedy, with less formality and cost, and less trauma and confrontation, than conventional legal proceedings. Payments are not intended to replicate the amount that would be payable under a formal civil compensation claim, and instead are far lower.

Accordingly, institutions should recognise the lower financial commitment required to discharge their ethical obligation to participate compared with their liability in formal civil compensation amounts, especially since recent reforms to civil statutes of limitation have removed time limits and allow a claim to be commenced at any time.

Ten key aspects of the proposed Australian scheme are:

  1. People are eligible to apply to the scheme if they experienced sexual abuse in an institution while they were a child, before July 1, 2018.
  2. A lower evidentiary threshold applies, meaning that eligibility for a redress payment is assessed on whether there was “a reasonable likelihood” the person suffered institutional sexual abuse as a child.
  3. Applicants who have received redress under another scheme or compensation through a settlement or court judgment are still eligible, but prior payments by the institution will be deducted from the amount of redress.
  4. Only one application per person can be made; where a person was abused in more than one institution, provisions enable the decision-maker to determine the appropriate share of each institution.
  5. Applicants can access legal assistance to help determine whether to accept the offer of redress.
  6. A person who accepts an offer of redress must sign a deed of release, meaning the institution(s) responsible for the abuse will not be subject to other civil liability.
  7. Payments are not subject to income tax.
  8. Reviews of decisions are limited to internal review, and not to merits review or judicial review.
  9. Criminal liability of offenders is not affected.
  10. The scheme is intended to open on July 1, 2018, and operate for ten years; applications need to be made at least 12 months before the closing date of June 30, 2028.

Read more: When it comes to redress for child sexual abuse, all victims should be equal


Five further factors need to be accommodated by the scheme to ensure it functions properly and complies with the clear recommendations of the royal commission.

  1. The upper cap should be $200,000 to ensure sufficient recognition of severe cases.
  2. To ensure equal access to the scheme, legal assistance must be made available to assist people in making applications.
  3. Governments and institutions should opt in as soon as possible and commit resources to discharge their duty to participate in the scheme.
  4. Governments – federal or state – should be the funder of last resort in all cases where the institution is unable to reimburse the Commonwealth (for example, where the institution no longer exists, or lacks resources to participate).
  5. The method of determining the amount of the payment, based on the severity of the abuse, its impact, and other relevant factors, must be made available as soon as possible so it can be adequately debated.

The commission’s work contributes a historic, international legacy. The sexual abuse of children in institutions will be revealed in more nations in coming years. This will involve some of the same religious institutions in which it has been found here to be so prevalent, and so heinously concealed and facilitated. Simply due to population, countless children will be shown to be affected.

For this reason, our governments and institutions must now ensure their actions add to the royal commission’s example, and demonstrate to other countries how civilised societies should respond.

Aboriginal Health News : Our final 2017 #NACCHO Members #Deadly good news stories #NT #NSW #QLD #WA #SA #VIC #ACT #TAS @IndigenousWFPHA

1.International : Our Indigenous public health takes a leap forward on the international stage

2. National : NACCHO Sol Bellear AM tribute and Bellear family thank you 

3.1 NSW : Katungul ACCHO Our thanks to CEO Robert Skeen providing this years ”  Secret Santa “

3.2 NSW : Wellington ACCHO to feature in ‘Break it Down’ Mental Health Series

3.3 NSW : Tharawal ACCHO Dr Josie Guyer is the inaugural winner of the RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Growing Strong Award

4. Nganampa Health Council operates a Smoking Cessation and Healthy Lifestyles program encouraging Anangu to lead healthy lifestyles

5.VIC : @VACCHO_CEO Jill Gallagher AO named Treaty Advancement Commissioner

6.AHCWA :Western Australia joins the nationally delivered National Disability Insurance Scheme NDIS

7. NT : AMSANT : Racism likely at play in low Indigenous kidney transplants

8.QLD ATSICHS Brisbane Reports record Health Checks

9.Tasmania : Ida West Aboriginal Health Scholarship closes 21 December

10.ACT : Winnunga News : Download November 2017 Edition

 View hundreds of ACCHO Deadly Good News Stories over past 5 years

How to submit a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

Our First News Post in 2018 will be January 18 

 Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media    

Mobile 0401 331 251

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication each Thursday

 

1.International : Our Indigenous public health takes a leap forward on the international stage

The World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) is pleased to announce the formation of its first Indigenous Working Group.

Watch Video Here

In April 2017, at the 15th World Congress on Public Health, over 40 Indigenous delegates at the Yarning Circle supported the formation of an Indigenous Working Group. This working group was ratified by the Governing Council of the WFPHA on the 15th of November 2017.

It is estimated that there are 370 million Indigenous People across 70 countries around the world. Many Indigenous Peoples are a minority in their own country, experience poorer health, have lower life expectancy and are among the most disadvantaged people in their population.

Michael Moore, President of the WFPHA, said “The formation of this group demonstrates the WFPHA commitment to working with Indigenous peoples from around the world to improve their health and wellbeing.”

The group will be co-chaired by Adrian Te Patu from New Zealand who is also a member of the Governing Council, and Carmen Parter from Australia who is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Vice President for the Public Health Association of Australia. Emma Rawson from New Zealand and Summer May Finlay from Australia are co-vice chairs.

“The Indigenous Working Group aims to assist in reducing the health disparity and inequities experienced by Indigenous people globally,” said Mr Te Patu.

Mr Te Patu recognizes the “differences among Indigenous peoples but also our similarities which are the strengths of this group.”

The Working Group is underpinned by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Self-determination is a key component of the Declaration; therefore the Indigenous Working Group will be led by Indigenous peoples.

“It is important to recognize that this group embodies Indigenous self-determination and will be led by Indigenous peoples,” said Mr. Moore.

“To address public health concerns among Indigenous peoples culturally appropriate solutions are required. The Governing Council understands that Indigenous Nations know what is required and have the skills and capacity to address the issues they face,” said Mr Moore.

Carmen Parter, Co-Chair said “This is an opportunity for Indigenous peoples to come together to support each other and seek out research collaborations that develop the evidence base that informs global Indigenous public health policies.”

The Working Group’s objectives are: to bring together Indigenous peoples from around the world to share and learn from each other, engage in collective advocacy, partner with existing international groups working in Indigenous affairs, and source any funding or in-kind support to support the work of the Indigenous Working Group.

Indigenous members of WFPHA are invited to join the Working Group, with non-Indigenous people invited to join as associate members.

The Working Group hopes to hold its first face to face meeting in May 2018 at the WFPHA General Assembly in Geneva.

More information about the Working Group can be found on the WFPHA website: http://www.wfpha.org/about-wfpha/working-groups/indigenous-working-group.

Please follow the Working Group on Twitter @IndigenousWFPHA

2. National : NACCHO Sol Bellear AM tribute and Bellear family thank you 

#SolsLastMarch #StateFuneral for Sol Bellear AM ” Remembered as a giant of a man “ 

3.1 NSW : Katungul ACCHO Our thanks to CEO Robert Skeen providing this years ”  Secret Santa ”

3.2 NSW : Wellington ACCHO to feature in ‘Break it Down’ Mental Health Series

 ” Wellington’s Indigenous community left a film crew inspired as they took part in a workshop aimed at creating conversation about mental health for Indigenous people. 

Charity organisation, Desert Pea Media (DPM), spent two weeks in Wellington recently working on a media project with around 20 local students, councilors, community members and organisations.”

Originally published here

‘Break it Down’ – a story-telling project funded by NSW Primary Health Network – involves six communities around Western NSW. Participants assist crew in writing and recording a song, before shooting a music video and creating a series of short films with a focus on community members.

The material will be compiled into a mental health awareness campaign using a ‘90s hip hop approach. It will be worked into the curriculum, across social media and other broadcast opportunities.

Creative director, Toby Finlayson, said the content produced in Wellington was nothing short of amazing.

“Both the high schools have been involved which isn’t a common thing, but a really fantastic example of the community coming together to do something positive,” he said.

Toby said the stories shared by William Hill, Kristy White and Mary Henderson were particularly inspiring.

“One of the films we created was with William Hill who tells his story about his reconnection with culture and country, and how that helped him grow as a person,” he said.

“Mary grew up in Wellington on Nanima Reserve and shared her story of what life was like during the mission days, how things are different and the shameful treatment of Indigenous people in NSW, and especially Wellington in the past.

“It is very important for young people to understand the context of their community and history of their older community members still here in Wellington.”

Toby said participants were very responsive to discussing mental health in what was a challenging but creative process.

“It’s not easy talking about this stuff, and not a lot of people want to talk about it, so young people who live and breath the trauma and grief associated with life in Indigenous communities I think were really brave and inspirational to see them taking leadership and responsibility for change,” he said. “We were really inspired by the Wellington Indigenous community.”

3.3 NSW : Tharawal ACCHO Dr Josie Guyer is the inaugural winner of the RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Growing Strong Award.

‘As the Aboriginal parent that I have, Mum has always inspired me, She’s had quite a tough life; things haven’t been easy for her but she’s always very encouraging. Seeing how proud my mum is of me for winning this award, it just makes me feel like everything is worth it.

’Aboriginal people seem to have a different level of connection when you tell them that you’re Aboriginal as well,’ And I certainly have a different level of empathy and understanding, coming from an Aboriginal family with similar health problems that I see my patients having.”

‘That’s really rewarding and I think allows me to be a better doctor.’

When discussing the kind of emotions stirred by winning the Growing Strong Award, Dr Guyer is definite in her response.

Originally published HERE

RACGP President Dr Bastian Siedel presented Dr Guyer with the Growing Strong Award at GP17 in October.

The Growing Strong Award was established in 2017 to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander general practice registrars.

Winning this award is a particularly significant feat for someone who is relatively new to the world of general practice. Dr Guyer worked as a nurse for the best part of 20 years before deciding she wanted a new challenge.

Now in her second year as a general practice registrar, Dr Guyer works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients at the Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation in Airds, on the outskirts of Sydney, where she strives to contribute to closing the healthcare gap.

Dr Guyer feels that developing a close connection with her patients is one of the most important steps to improve health outcomes.

‘Aboriginal people seem to have a different level of connection when you tell them that you’re Aboriginal as well,’ she said.

‘That’s really rewarding and I think allows me to be a better doctor.’

Dr Guyer has found that connecting on this level also helps to educate her patients on preventive health measures.

‘It does take a lot of perseverance, but I think [educating patients about] preventive health is really important and empowers them to make changes to their lifestyle,’ she said.

‘I talk to kids and parents about valuing education, because I really think that’s the only way we can make changes.’

Dr Guyer cites the people with whom she has worked during her own education as invaluable throughout her journey as a general practice registrar.

‘I’ve met doctors who have been fantastic mentors. Especially because they are quite open and honest about sharing their journey with us as registrars, and often medicine is not an easy road,’ she said.

‘It’s really good to know that sometimes it’s tough and that’s okay, you just keep persevering. That has been really encouraging.’

Dr Guyer’s determination is supported through her passion for general practice.

‘I love the diversity in general practice, and the challenges that come with chronic and complex care,’ she said. ‘Also dealing with the social determinants of health, because they obviously play a big part in the general wellbeing of people.’

Dr Guyer is grateful for having had the opportunity to attend GP17 in Sydney in October, where she was inspired by the people she met and heard speak during presentations. She was humbled to be the first recipient of the Growing Strong Award, which was presented to her by RACGP President Dr Bastian Siedel.

Dr Guyer hopes this type of honour will instil ambition in future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander general practice registrars.

‘Aboriginal [and Torres Strait Islander] people can become doctors, because I’ve done it,’ she said. ‘That’s a really powerful story to tell people

4. Nganampa Health Council operates a Smoking Cessation and Healthy Lifestyles program encouraging Anangu to lead healthy lifestyles.

The Tjitkita Nyuntu Ngayuku Malpa Wiya – Smoking Cessation program have created this incredible painting to be used for health promotion and as a resource on the APY Lands.

The painting tells the story of smoking and its effect on children.

We are committed to reducing smoking rates and making all houses and cars smoke free to protect children from the health effects of smoking.

It is possible for Anangu to give up smoking and if you would like help, talk to our clinic staff. #NHCPeople

5.VIC : @VACCHO_CEO Jill Gallagher AO named Treaty Advancement Commissioner

 

Aboriginal Health, Healing , Self Determination Reconciliation and a #Treaty

6.AHCWA :Western Australia joins the nationally delivered National Disability Insurance Scheme NDIS

The State Government has confirmed that Western Australia will be joining the nationally delivered National Disability Insurance Scheme.

This will see the end of the WA NDIS trial.

All current participants in the WA NDIS trial will transfer to the nationally delivered Scheme from April 2018 until 31 December 2018.

For more information, please visit

7. NT : AMSANT : Racism likely at play in low Indigenous kidney transplants

Low kidney transplant rates for Indigenous Australians are “shocking”, “unacceptable”, and are likely to be driven by racism, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has said.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dialysis patients are less likely than other Australians to receive a transplant — remote patients have a tenth of the chance, and urban patients a third of a chance, research suggests.

“I’m shocked by those figures. A ten-fold gap is entirely unacceptable,” AMA president Dr Michael Gannon said.

“The topic of racism in our health system is an uncomfortable one for doctors, nurses, but it has to be one of the possible reasons for this kind of disparity.

“If there’s reasons why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are not being transplant-listed, they need to be investigated, but the problems need to be fixed.”

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt said he was disheartened by the disparities, and will urge the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Board to look into the issue.

“I’d describe it as extremely disappointing,” Mr Wyatt said.

“It’s something I want to focus on for the next 12 months of starting to heighten the awareness — we have to have more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing organs.”

A patient must undergo a “work-up” of health tests to be accepted on to the active waiting list for a new kidney, and each state and territory operates a separate wait list.

Read full article here

8.QLD ATSICHS Brisbane Reports record Health Checks

Our community accessed our primary health more than ever in 2017. This year you mob had 4857 health checks which is a 36% increase and we saw 2863 new patients. A healthy choice is a deadly choice!

Each year we prepare a series of publications highlighting our achievements.

We are proud to present Our Community, Our Work, Our Stories, our 2016-17 Annual Report

We believe it provides valuable insights into the key issues affecting our community in Brisbane and Logan and how we are working towards reinstating the wellbeing of our people – person by person, family by family, generation by generation.

Take a look at what we have achieved over the past 12 months.

http://e.issuu.com/embed.html#27714854/55404302

Download our 2016-17 Annual Report

Download our 2016-17 Financial Statements

To get a hard copy of our annual report or financial statements email marketing@atsichsbrisbane.org.au

9.Tasmania : Ida West Aboriginal Health Scholarship closes 21 December

10..ACT : Winnunga News : Download November 2017 Edition

DOWNLOAD PDF HERE

Winnunga AHCS Newsletter November 2017

Thank you for your support of our NACCHO Good News Stories in 2017

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Prison System: New Ground breaking partnership for ACT Government and Winnunga having an ACCHO deliver health and wellbeing services to prison inmates

“ACT Corrective Services recognises that increasing Aboriginal led services within the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) a minimum to maximum security prison is essential to maintaining cultural connection for Aboriginal detainees and improving overall wellbeing and safety.”

Speaking at the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) board meeting ACT Minister for Justice Shane Rattenbury announced that Winnunga Aboriginal Health and Community Services (AHCS) will move soon into full service delivery at the AMC

Photo above Minister with some of the new NACCHO Board December 2017 : Pic Oliver Tye

Julie Tongs pictured above with Shane Rattenbury and NACCHO CEO John Singer  

‘Importantly, Winnunga will continue to be a separate independent entity, but will work in partnership with the ACT Government to complement the services already provided by ACT Corrective Services and ACT Health to deliver better outcomes for Indigenous detainees.

It is ground breaking to have an Aboriginal community controlled and managed organisation delivering health and wellbeing services within its own model of care to inmates in prison in this capacity’ Ms Tongs said.

‘Winnunga delivering health and wellbeing services in the AMC and changing the way the system operates is the legacy of Steven Freeman, a young Aboriginal man who tragically died whilst in custody in the AMC in 2016

It is also ground breaking for our sector, so it needs to be given the recognition it deserves’

Julie Tongs, CEO of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services (Winnunga AHCS) welcomed the announcement by Minister Shane Rattenbury

Winnunga has commenced enhanced support at the AMC focused on female detainees, and will move to full delivery of standalone health, social and emotional wellbeing services in the AMC in 2018.

The Independent Inquiry into the Treatment in Custody of Steven Freeman highlighted the need for improvements in a range of areas including cultural proficiency to more effectively manage the welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees.

The ACT Government is working to develop a safer environment for all detainees, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees.

Minister Rattenbury welcomed the involvement of Winnunga AHCS in the delivery of health services within its culturally appropriate model of care in the AMC.

To achieve this ACT Corrective Services and Justice Health have been working closely with Winnunga AHCS to enhance their presence in the AMC. Winnunga AHCS has begun delivering social and emotional wellbeing services to female detainees who choose to access Winnunga AHCS in the AMC.

Over time, all detainees will have the option to access Winnunga AHCS services.

Winnunga AHCS will over time deliver services to all inmates in the AMC who choose to access this option, however the services will be implemented through a staged process initially focussed on female detainees. This will help inform system changes as we operationalise the model of care within the AMC.

‘In 2018, we will expand our role to deliver GP and social and emotional wellbeing services to all detainees who choose to access Winnunga AHCS in the AMC, Monday to Friday, between the hours of 9am to 5pm’, Ms Tongs noted.

‘Winnunga does not want to be divisive in the AMC, we will be inclusive.

Obviously, there will be some issues particularly around – strong identity and connection to land, language and culture, and how the impact of colonisation and stolen Generations affects unresolved trauma, grief and loss that will be specific to Aboriginal people, however we will work with all inmates’, said Ms Tongs.

Ms Tongs stated, ‘The priority for us is to ensure in time all Aboriginal people are provided with an Aboriginal health check and care plan…the goal is for Winnunga to provide all services we do outside in the community, to prisoners also on the inside and this is a very good starting point’.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #WhiteRibbonDay : @HealingOurWay @WhiteRibbonAust Report calls for overhaul of #violenceprevention programs for #Indigenous men and boys

 

 

Awr

 Australia needs to overhaul violence prevention programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and boys .

  A discussion paper released today by White Ribbon and the Healing Foundation said, “inappropriate and ill-targeted strategies” are not working to change the behaviour of violent Indigenous men.

Co-author Dr Mark Wenitong, a respected Aboriginal GP and men’s health expert from North Queensland, said generational trauma was not being addressed.”

Report

Download the Report Here

HF_Violence_Prevention_Framework_Report_Oct2017_V9_WEB 

“I think if you look at the current discourse in Australia it’s just heavier prison sentences and better policing,” he said.

“We can build lots more women’s shelters, but that’s not the point, we want it to stop.

Dr Wenitong, who works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in prison, said programs in jails did not appear to be effective.

“The prison offender programs are mostly mainstream programs … I talk to men in prison who go ‘that anger management program doesn’t mean anything when I go back to my community’,” he said.

The report said an urgent priority was “elevating the voice of men in family violence prevention”.

“Men do need to lead this, because it’s men who are the main perpetrators of violence,” Healing Foundation chief executive Richard Weston said.

The paper recommend that Indigenous men and women have a greater say over new behaviour-change programs — including consulting with reformed perpetrators of domestic violence.

“We have high levels of violence, we have high levels of substance abuse, we have a whole range of challenging social issues in our community,” Mr Weston said.

“Mainstream programs are failing us because we’re not involved in the design.”

Dr Wenitong said Indigenous mothers and children were often left in unsafe situations.

“When there’s violence in a community — in a household — why do we take the women and children out of the house for their safety, why aren’t we taking the men out?”

The paper said there had been “little opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to influence the policies and programs designed to improve safety for them and their children”.

“Arguably, the voice and perspective of men is absent, and sometimes excluded in this domain,” Dr Wenitong said.

Aside from family breakdown, alcohol and drug abuse was the most significant factor associated with family violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the report said.

An effective framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and boys to prevent and reduce family violence needs to include the following critical elements:

  • violence should be understood within a historical context, recognising the effects of foundational and structural violence, and the wide ranging continued impacts on the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and boys
  • the many strong Aboriginal and Torres Islander men must be supported to lead work with men and boys, and reconnect men to their core cultural practices and protocols as a central factor to creating change
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women should be involved in the design and development, and evaluation of the effectiveness of the framework
  • prevention strategies must be positioned within broader community strategies that address intergenerational trauma through individual, family and community healing approaches – drawing from both local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and western therapeutic practice
  • all work should be developed in partnership with communities through a genuine co-design process that respects and supports local cultural governance and self-determination, and empowers communities to drive change
  • a focus on collective wellbeing should be supported through referral pathways to trauma-informed holistic health and wellbeing services. Crucially, any strategy must be adequately resourced; implemented in a safe

A taskforce led by the Victorian Aboriginal Children’s Commissioner in 2016 found that in nine-out-of-ten cases, family violence had been present in the home when an Indigenous child was removed.

Mr Weston said the discussion paper also refuted claims by some Aboriginal men that violence against women and children had “a cultural basis”.

NACCHO Aboriginal #AMS #MentalHealth Funding 2016-19 @KenWyattMP announces $9.1 Million funding for Aboriginal Health Services

“The nine Aboriginal Medical Services in the North Coast region of NSW , such as Bulgarr Ngaru, Jullums and Bullinah are doing some outstanding work to support their patients.

This includes ensuring that community members with chronic disease get to see the health practitioners they need to, are provided with specialised medical aids where necessary and are assisted with transport to attend medical appointments.

The tremendous work being done by the Aboriginal Community Controlled organisations such as Durri and Rekindling The Spirit, and the other organisations who have received funding, will go a long way to improving health and wellbeing,”

The Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, Mr Ken Wyatt AM, has announced that the Commonwealth has invested more than $9.1 m in a range of health services specifically for Aboriginal communities across the North Coast.

See full list below or Download

20171107-Commissioning-Summary-Aboriginal-Health

North Coast NSW – comprising Northern NSW and the Mid North Coast – has an average Aboriginal population of 4.5%, nearly double that of other areas of Australia (2.5%).

Funding distributed through North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN) enables 14 different service providers to deliver a range of services and programs from Tweed Heads down to the Clarence Valley. These services help fill identified health service gaps and provide specialised training for both health professionals and community members.

In the Needs Assessment conducted by NCPHN last year, health service providers said that mental health and drug and alcohol counselling were the two health services that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people found most difficult to access.

Mr Wyatt said he was delighted that a significant amount of the funding had been distributed to deliver such services and programs to meet the needs of the Aboriginal population.

He also praised the work being done by Aboriginal Medical Services.

See Quotes above

North Coast Primary Health Network Chief Executive Dr Vahid Saberi said it is pleasing that NCPHN had been successful in commissioning such a range of health services specifically for Aboriginal people.

“Our commissioning process has resulted in selecting excellent providers to deliver these services. There is some exciting work happening and I look forward to seeing what is achieved, recognising that more work needs to be done.”

The funding is also providing much needed training in suicide prevention for both community members and health professionals, as well as specialist support for clinicians working with people with drug and/or alcohol issues.

Key North Coast PHN Indigenous investments:

  • Integrated Team Care: $5.029 million (2016-18) to improve access to coordinated care for chronic conditions and culturally appropriate care.
  • Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders: $2.095 million (2016-19) to increase capacity of the drug and alcohol treatment sector though improved regional coordination and by commissioning additional drug and alcohol treatment services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • Indigenous Mental Health Flexible Funding: $2.006 million (2016-18) to improve access to integrated, culturally appropriate and safe mental health services that holistically meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Source: Ice dependence, chronic disease among targets of North Coast health blitz

Click here to download a summary of current NCPHN commissioned services.


EXAMPLES OF CURRENT ABORIGINAL HEALTH PROJECTS LISTED BELOW:

INTEGRATED TEAM CARE & OUTREACH PROGRAM

Providers: Jullums Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) Lismore, Bullinah AMS, Ballina, Bulgarr Ngaru Aboriginal Medical Corporation; Durri Aboriginal Medical Corporation; Werin Aboriginal Corporation Medical Clinic; Bawrunga Coffs Harbour GP Super Clinic Ltd.

This program is run through Aboriginal Medical Services and supports Aboriginal patients with chronic disease in purchasing specialised medical aids and with transport and support to attend GP and specialist medical appointments. Delivered across the entire region.


DRUG AND ALCOHOL SERVICE REDESIGN PROJECT

Provider: Jullums AMS and Rekindling The Spirit

The project aim is to align the Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) service delivered by Jullums to national guidelines for managing people with co-occurring alcohol and drug issues and mental health conditions in community settings. The guidelines will be amended to ensure that the service is culturally appropriate and is tailored to meet the needs of each patient.


ADDICTION SPECIALIST CLINICAL SUPPORT SERVICE

Provider: Bulgarr Ngaru Aboriginal Medical Corporation

Addiction specialist support to the clinicians working in Bulgarr Ngaru medical clinics, located in Grafton, Casino and Tweed Heads.


CLINICIAN SUPPORT FOR MANAGEMENT AND TREATMENT OF DRUG/ALCOHOL ISSUES

Provider: Bulgarr Ngaru Aboriginal Medical Corporation

Clinician support for management and treatment of drug/alcohol issues – Grafton and surrounds.


HEALTHY LIFESTYLE PROGRAM

Provider: Bulgarr Ngaru Aboriginal Medical Corporation

A holistic and culturally appropriate cardiac health prevention and management program – Clarence Valley


KIDNEY HEALTH PROJECT

Provider: Bulgarr Ngaru Aboriginal Medical Corporation

The Kidney Health Project aims to improve early identification and interventions to achieve better kidney health, thus preventing the onset of chronic kidney disease. Run in collaboration with Northern NSW Local Health District. To be run across Northern NSW.


CLINICIAN SUPPORT FOR MANAGEMENT AND TREATMENT OF DRUG/ALCOHOL ISSUES

Provider: Jullums Aboriginal Medical Service

Clinician support for management and treatment of drug/alcohol issues. Delivered in Lismore and surrounds.


HEALTHY LIFESTYLE PROGRAM

Provider: Werin Aboriginal Corporation Medical Clinic

A holistic and culturally appropriate cardiac health prevention and management program. Delivered in the Port Macquarie LGA.


BOWRAVILLE FAMILY THERAPY

Provider: Durri Aboriginal Medical Corporation

Assisting families with a range of health related matters, identifying ways to improve health outcomes. Delivered in the Nambucca region.


MENTAL HEALTH IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

Provider: Galambila Aboriginal Health Service Corporation

Working with Mid North Coast LHD staff to improve mental health and wellbeing. Mid North Coast region.


MAAYU MALI (GROW STRONG PROGRAM)

Provider: Galambila Aboriginal Health Service Corporation

Maayu Mali means to “make better”. It offers a 3-month residential rehabilitation program followed by after-care services, delivered in a culturally sensitive context to people experiencing drug and alcohol addiction. Hastings-Macleay region.


EXTENSION OF NAMATJIRA HAVEN “GULGIHWEN” RESIDENTIAL POGRAM & WITHDRAWAL MANAGEMENT SERVICE

Provider: Namatjira Haven

This is a program for Aboriginal men with both alcohol and/or other drug issues and mental health problems. It works to re-connect Indigenous men to their history, culture and community. Delivered for residents in Ballina, Lismore, Byron Bay, Casino and Kyogle.


MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID TRAINING

Provider: Namatjira Haven

Mental Health First Aid courses teach mental health first aid strategies to community members. The first aid is given until appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves. Delivered in Alstonville.


ALCOHOL AND DRUG TREATMENT INTEGRATION PROJECT

Provider: The Buttery

Aboriginal workforce development, capacity building, information and education for health professionals to improve the coordination and integration of drug and alcohol treatment services. Delivered across Northern NSW.


GARIMALEH WERLA NA (TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF PROGRAM)

Provider: University Centre for Rural Health, Lismore

Enhances social and emotional wellbeing, particularly with complex health needs in relation to disconnection, trauma and substance misuse. Delivered in Lismore, Alstonville and Ballina.


THE LIFE TREE MENTAL HEALTH & SUICIDE PREVENTION TRAINING FOR ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY MEMBERS

Provider: CRANES

The Life Tree Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Training Program for Aboriginal community members. Delivered across North Coast.


THE LIFE TREE MENTAL HEALTH & SUICIDE PREVENTION TRAINING FOR CLINICIANS WORKING IN ABORIGINAL HEALTH

Provider: CRANES

The Life Tree Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Training Program for clinicians working in Aboriginal Health. Delivered across North Coast.


ART ON BUNDJALUNG COUNTRY

Provider: North Coast Primary Health Network

A creative arts project to nurture local Indigenous artists and to prepare work for a special exhibition at the new Lismore Regional Gallery late in the year. It’s well known that engagement in the arts can enhance health and wellbeing. Delivered in the Northern Rivers region.


HEALTHY MINDS

Provider: North Coast Primary Health Network

A free, referral-based psychological service for those needing access to mental health services who are financially disadvantaged, including members of the Aboriginal community. Delivered across North Coast.


MENTAL HEALTH NURSING SERVICES

Provider: North Coast Primary Health Network

For people with a mental illness impacting severely on their lives, including members of the Aboriginal community. Delivered across North Coast.


“WE YARN” ABORIGINAL SUICIDE AWARENESS & PREVENTION WORKSHOPS

Provider: Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, University of Newcastle

For Aboriginal community members interested in suicide prevention. Delivered across the region

Aboriginal #MentalHealthWeek @GregHuntMP launches 5th National #MentalHealth and #SuicidePrevention Plan

 

” For the first time this plan commits all governments to work together to achieve integration in planning and service delivery at a regional level. Importantly it demands that consumers and carers are central to the way in which services are planned, delivered and evaluated.

Furthermore this plan recognises the tragic impact of suicide on the lives of so many Australians and sets a clear direction for coordinated actions by both levels of government to more effectively address this important public issue.

This plan is also the first to specifically outline an agreed set of actions to address social and emotional wellbeing, mental illness and suicide amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a priority, as well as being the first to elevate the importance of addressing the physical health needs of people who live with mental illness and reducing the stigma and discrimination that accompanies mental illness.”

The Hon Jill HennessyChair, COAG Health Council

” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership in mental health services is fundamental to building culturally capable models of care. Governance, planning processes, systems and clinical pathways will be more effective if they include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers at key points in the consumer journey, such as assessment, admission, case conferencing, discharge planning and development of mental health care plans.

Strong ACCHSs are an important component of a culturally responsive mental health service system.

These organisations can play a vital role in:

  1. prevention and early intervention to address risk of developing mental health problems
  2. enabling access to primary and specialist mental health services and allied health
  3. facilitating the transition of consumers across the primary and specialist/acute interface
  4. connecting consumers with the range of community-based social support services
  5. working with mainstream community mental health and hospital services to enhance cultural capability through provision of cultural mentorship, advice and training placements for non-Indigenous staff
  6. working as part of multi-agency and multidisciplinary teams aimed at delivering shared care arrangements.

Building a culturally competent service system also requires a well-supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health workforce.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health workers require opportunities and support to attain advanced qualifications and recruitment and retention processes that maximise opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and workforces should be complemented by mainstream services and clinicians that are responsive to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

From Page 30 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 

Download 84 page Plan PDF HERE

 Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan

Health Minister Greg Hunt Press Release 14 October

Around four million Australians who experience a mental health condition will benefit from a strengthened mental health system under the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

The Plan, which was endorsed in August by all health ministers at Council of Australian Governments Health Council, has been released as Mental Health Week comes to a close

The Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring people with mental health challenges get the support and treatment they need and this Plan will see a more coordinated national approach to mental health from all governments and stakeholders.

More than 2,800 Australians take their lives each year and the Plan will provide an additional focus of suicide prevention.

Evidence-based approaches and strategies to prevent suicide will be implemented through a community-wide approach, including more effective follow-up support for people who have attempted to take their own lives.

The Turnbull Government recently committed $47 million for more frontline services for suicide prevention.

Last week as part of our over $4 billion annual investment in mental health we launched the Head to Health website, which is a one-stop shop for services and resources delivered by some of Australia’s most trusted mental health service providers.

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealthDay : Australia’s new digital #mentalhealth gateway now live

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealthDay 2/2 @KenWyattMP Minister Scullion : Download Building a Better Understanding of Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health

And yesterday the Turnbull Government announced a wide ranging package of reforms to make private health insurance simpler and more affordable for Australians, including better access for mental health services without a waiting period.

A particular focus of the Plan is addressing eating disorders. These can have a catastrophic impact on both individuals and their families. It will be a personal priority as we frame further policy in the future.

The Plan includes eight nationally agreed priority areas and 32 coordinated actions for the next five years with a view to achieving an integrated mental health system.

What will we do?

From Page 3o + Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 

Action 10 Governments will work with PHNs and LHNs to implement integrated planning and service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at the regional level. This will include:

  1. engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the co-design of all aspects of regional planning and service delivery
  2. collaborating with service providers regionally to improve referral pathways between GPs, ACCHSs, social and emotional wellbeing services, alcohol and other drug services and mental health services, including improving opportunities for screening of mental and physical wellbeing at all points; connect culturally informed suicide prevention and postvention services locally and identify programs and services that support survivors of the Stolen Generation
  3. developing mechanisms and agreements that enable shared patient information, with informed consent, as a key enabler of care coordination and service integration
  4. clarifying roles and responsibilities across the health and community support service sectors
  5. ensuring that there is strong presence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership on local mental health service and related area service governance structures.

Action 11 Governments will establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Subcommittee of MHDAPC, as identified in the Governance section of this Fifth Plan, that will set future directions for planning and investment and:

  1. provide advice to support the development of a nationally agreed approach to suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for inclusion in the National Suicide Prevention Implementation Strategy
  2. provide advice on models for co-located or flexible service arrangements that promote social and emotional wellbeing incorporating factors, including a person’s connection to country, spirituality, ancestry, kinship and community
  3. identify innovative strategies, such as the use of care navigators and single care plans, to improve service integration, support continuity of care across health service settings and connect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with community-based social support (non-health) services
  4. provide advice on suitable governance for services and the most appropriate distribution of roles and responsibilities, recognising that the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to self-determination lies at the heart of community control in the provision of health services
  5. oversee the development, dissemination and promotion in community, hospital and custodial settings of a resource that articulates a model of culturally competent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health care across the health care continuum and brings together (a) the holistic concept of social and emotional wellbeing and (b) mainstream notions of stepped care, trauma-informed care and recovery-oriented practice
  6. provide advice on workforce development initiatives that can grow and support an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health workforce, incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff into multidisciplinary teams and improve access to cultural healers
  7. provide advice on models of service delivery that embed cultural capability into all aspects of clinical care and implement the Cultural Respect Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2016–2026 in mental health services
  8. provide advice on culturally appropriate digital service delivery and strategies to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to register for My Health Record and to understand the benefits of shared data.

Action 12 Governments will improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander access to, and experience with, mental health and wellbeing services in collaboration with ACCHSs and other service providers by:

12.1. developing and distributing a compendium of resources that includes (a) best-practice examples of effective Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health care, (b) culturally safe and appropriate education materials and resources to support self-management of mental illness and enhance mental health literacy and (c) culturally appropriate clinical tools and resources to facilitate effective assessment and to improve service experiences and outcomes

12.2. increasing knowledge of social and emotional wellbeing concepts, improving the cultural competence and capability of mainstream providers and promoting the use of culturally appropriate assessment and care planning tools and guidelines

12.3. recognising and promoting the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and supporting implementation of the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration (Appendix B)

12.4. training all staff delivering mental health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly those in forensic settings, in trauma-informed care that incorporates historical, cultural and contemporary experiences of trauma.

Action 13 Governments will strengthen the evidence base needed to improve mental health services and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through:

13.1. establishing a clearinghouse of resources, tools and program evaluations for all settings to support the development of culturally safe models of service delivery, including the use of cultural healing and trauma-informed care

13.2. ensuring that all mental health services work to improve the quality of identification of Indigenous peoples in their information systems through the use of appropriate standards and business processes

13.3. ensuring that future investments are properly evaluated to inform what works

13.4. reviewing existing datasets across all settings for improved data collection on the mental health and wellbeing of, and the prevalence of mental illness in, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

13.5. utilising available health services data and enhancing those collections to improve services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

How will we know things are different?

What will be different for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers and carers?

  • Both your clinical and social and emotional wellbeing needs, and the needs of your community, will be addressed when care is planned and delivered.
  • Your care will be coordinated, and you will be supported to navigate the health system.
  • You will receive culturally appropriate care.
  • Services will actively follow up with you if you are at a higher risk of suicide, including after a suicide attempt.
  • If you are at risk of suicide, you will have timely access to support and be clear about which services in your area are responsible for providing you with care and support.

Press Release Continued

A key priority area is strengthening regional integration of mental health services to support more effective treatments for those in need.

In partnership with consumers and carers, Primary Health Networks and Local Hospital Networks will plan and design mental health services to meet specific local needs.

An implementation plan has been developed to guide and monitor implementation efforts of governments.

Improving the mental health system and outcomes for people with mental illness can only be done in partnership with the community, sector and all governments.

For people looking for mental health and suicide prevention support, I encourage them to visit the newly launched Head to Health website.

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealthDay 2/2 @KenWyattMP Minister Scullion : Download Building a Better Understanding of Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health

“Social and emotional wellbeing is the foundation for physical and mental health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and is essential for them to  lead successful and fulfilling lives.

“This framework will help shape the way we consider and deal with social and emotional wellbeing and mental health issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

Professor Pat Dudgeon

The framework was developed under the auspices of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group, co-chaired by Professor Pat Dudgeon and Professor Tom Calma AO.

“ The Framework recognises the importance of connection to land, culture, spirituality and ancestry and how these affect individuals and their mental health. This is about working with, and respecting, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.”

Minister Wyatt noted that the framework provides a dedicated focus on improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders by providing holistic care.

See also our previous NACCHO post today

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealthDay 1/2  : Australia’s new digital #mentalhealth gateway now live

Today is World Mental Health Day – a day to raise awareness and educate people and communities about mental health issues.

This is especially important for First Australians who experience higher levels of mental health issues than other Australians.

Today saw the public release of the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing 2017-2023.

Download the Framework HERE

MHSEWB framework 17-23

This framework sets out a comprehensive and culturally appropriate guide for use by Indigenous specific and mainstream health services.

It will also inform the development of social and emotional wellbeing and mental health programs and activities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion, noted that this will be an invaluable resource for policy makers, Primary Health Networks, service providers, and health professionals.

“The Australian Government is committed to improving the social and emotional wellbeing and mental health outcomes for First Australians” Minister Scullion said.

“The framework has been developed to help direct social and emotional wellbeing and mental health programs and reforms and has been endorsed by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealthDay : Australia’s new digital #mentalhealth gateway now live

 ” Today we are launching our new digital mental health gateway – Head to Health.

Head to Health is an essential tool for the one in five working age Australians who will experience a mental illness each year.

The website helps people take control of their mental health in a way they are most comfortable with and can complement face-to-face therapies.

Evidence shows that for many people, digital interventions can be as effective as face-to-face services.

Head to Health provides a one-stop shop for services and resources delivered by some of Australia’s most trusted mental health service providers.

They include free or low-cost apps, online support communities, online courses and phone services.

Head to Health provides a place where people can access support and information before they reach crisis.

The Hon. Greg Hunt MP Minister for Health launching www.headtohealth.gov.au

See full press release from Minister Part 3 below

 ” For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the strength of personal identity is often connected to culture, country and family.

Like all of us, however, you can have problems with everyday things like money, jobs and housing that can impact your social and emotional wellbeing. On top of that, you might have to deal with racism, discrimination, bullying, gender-phobia, and social inequality ”

READ MORE ON THIS TOPIC HERE

 ” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing combines mental, physical, cultural, and spiritual health of not only the individual, but the whole community. For this reason, the term “social and emotional wellbeing” is generally preferred and better understood than terms like “mental health” and “mental illness”.

Addressing social and emotional wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples requires the recognition of human rights, the strength of family, and the recognition of cultural diversity – including language, kinship, traditional lifestyles, and geographical locations (urban, rural, and remote).”

READ MORE ON THIS TOPIC HERE  

Part 1 NACCHO BACKGROUND

Read over 160 NACCHO Aboriginal Mental Health Articles published over 5 yrs

Read over 115 NACCHO Suicide Prevention Articles published over 5 yrs Including

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : #ATSISPEP report and the hope of a new era in Indigenous suicide prevention

Our NACCHO CEO Pat Turner as a contributor to the report attended the launch pictured here with Senator Patrick Dodson and co-author Prof. Pat Dudgeon

After almost two years of work, ATSISPEP released a final report in Canberra on the 10th of November 2016.

Download the final #ATSISPEP report here

atispep-report-final-web-pdf-nov-10

Part 2 Mental Health Australia campaign

We need to see tackling stigma around mental health as a way to improve the health of the nation, improve our productivity, improve our community engagement, and improve our quality of life.”

“Yes we’ve come a long way to challenge and change perceptions, and paved the way for many to tell their story, but there is still great stigma associated with mental illness.”

“This year, my #mentalhealthpromise is to challenge Australia to look at mental health through a different light. Let’s look at the positives we can achieve as a community by reducing stigma and changing our approach to improving someone’s health.”

Mental Health Australia CEO Mr Frank Quinlan

Today World Mental Health Day – Tuesday 10 October – and Mental Health Australia is calling on the nation to further reduce stigma and promise to see mental health in a positive light.

‘Do you see what I see?’ challenges perceptions on mental illness aiming to reduce stigma.

‘Do you see what I see?’ promotes a positive approach to tackling an issue that affects one in five Australians.

‘Do you see what I see?’ aims to put a new light on the conversation… from dark to bright. Incorporating the successful #MentalHealthPromise initiative, which last year saw both the

Prime Minister and Opposition Leader make a mental health promise to the nation, ‘Do you see what I see?’ will also feature a series of photos from across Australia, shedding light and colour on an issue which is still cloaked in darkness.

“We’ve all seen it before… The stock black and white photo of someone sitting with their head in their hands signifying mental illness. That’s stigma… and stigma is still the number one barrier to people seeking help. Help that can prevent and treat,” said Mental Health Australia CEO Mr Frank Quinlan.

“We have to see things differently, and see the positive outcomes of tackling this issue if we are to see real benefits and reductions in the rate of mental illness affecting the nation.”

“We need to see mental health, and mental wealth through our own eyes, through the eyes of a family member or close friend and through the eyes of those in our community who don’t have that support around them.”

‘What will your #MentalHealthPromise be?

Making and sharing a mental health promise is easy and takes just a few minutes at www.1010.org.au

Part 3 The Hon. Greg Hunt MP Minister for Health press release Continued

Australia’s new digital mental health gateway now live

As part of our over $4 billion annual investment in mental health, the Turnbull Government is today launching our new digital mental health gateway – Head to Health.

Head to Health provides a place where people can access support and information before they reach crisis.

And it will continue to grow with additional services, a telephone support service to support website users, and further support for health professionals to meet the needs of their patients.

I encourage not only people seeking help and support, but anyone wanting to learn more on how to maintain good mental health wellbeing, to visit the website at: www.headtohealth.gov.au.

The Turnbull Government supports the need for a long term shift in mental health care towards early intervention, and the Head to Health gateway will help with this.

We have recently announced $43 million in funding for national suicide prevention leadership and support activity to organisations across Australia such as R U OK?, Suicide Prevention Australia and Mindframe.

This year we are investing $92.6 million in the headspace program to improve access for young people aged 12–25 years who have, or are at risk of, mental illness.

In addition, we have provided $52.6 million to beyondblue, which will partner with headspace and Early Childhood Australia to provide tools for teachers to support kids with mental health concerns and provide resources to help students deal with challenges.

Digital mental health services are an important part of national mental health reform and have been identified in the recently endorsed Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

Building a digital mental health gateway was a key part of the Government’s response to the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Mental Health Programs and Services.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Alcohol and other Drugs #GAPC2017 Download @AIHW National drug household survey

  ” The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) have released the National drug household survey: detailed findings 2016 report.

The report aims to provide insight into Australians’ use of, and attitudes to, drugs and alcohol in 2016.

A key finding of the report is around mental health and alcohol and other drug (AOD) use. ( see Part 2 below for full details )

Download the full 168 page report

National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016

Read over 186 NACCHO Alcohol and other Drug articles published over 5 years

This report expands on the key findings from the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) that were released on 1 June 2017.

It presents more detailed analysis including comparisons between states and territories and for population groups. Unless otherwise specified, the results presented in this report are for those aged 14 or older.

Indigenous Australians

As Indigenous Australians constitute only 2.4 per cent of the 2016 NDSHS (unweighted) sample (or 568 respondents), the results must be interpreted with caution, particularly those for illicit drug use.

Smoking

In 2016, the daily smoking rate among Indigenous Australians was considerably higher than non-Indigenous people but has declined since 2010 and 2013 (decreased from 35% in 2010 to 32% in 2013 and to 27% in 2016) (Figure 8.7). The NDSHS was not designed to detect small differences among the Indigenous population, so even though the smoking rate declined between 2013 and 2016, it was not significant.

The Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (AATSIHS) and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) were specifically designed to represent Indigenous Australians (see Box 8.1 for further information).

After adjusting for differences in age structures, Indigenous people were 2.3 times as likely to smoke daily as non-Indigenous people in 2016 (Table 8.7).

Read over 113 NACCHO Smoking articles published last 5 years

Alcohol

Overall, Indigenous Australians were more likely to abstain from drinking alcohol than non-Indigenous Australians (31% compared with 23%, respectively) and this has been increasing since 2010 (was 25%) (Figure 8.8).

Among those who did drink, a higher proportion of Indigenous Australians drank at risky levels, and placed themselves at harm of an alcoholrelated injury from single drinking occasion, at least monthly (35% compared with 25% for non-Indigenous).

The (rate ratio) gap in drinking rates was even greater when looking at the consumption of 11 or more standard drinks at least monthly. Indigenous Australians were 2.8 times as likely as non-Indigenous Australians to drink 11 or more standard drinks monthly or more often (18.8% compared with 6.8%).

About 1 in 5 (20%) Indigenous Australian exceeded the lifetime risk guidelines in 2016; a slight but non-significant decline from 23% in 2013, and significantly lower than the 32% in 2010. The proportion of non-Indigenous Australians exceeding the lifetime risk guidelines in 2016 was 17.0% and significantly declined from 18.1% in 2013.

Illicit drugs

Other than ecstasy and cocaine, Indigenous Australians aged 14 or older used illicit drugs at a higher rate than the general population (Table 8.6). In 2016, Indigenous Australians were: 1.8 times as likely to use any illicit drug in the last 12 months; 1.9 times as likely to use cannabis; 2.2 times as likely to use meth/amphetamines; and 2.3 times as likely to misuse pharmaceuticals as non-Indigenous people. These differences were still apparent even after adjusting for differences in age structure (Table 8.7). There were no significant changes in illicit use of drugs among Indigenous Australians between 2013 and 2016.

Read over 64 NACCHO Ice drug articles published last 5 years

1 in 8 Australians smoke daily and 6 in 10 have never smoked

  • Smoking rates have been on a long-term downward trend since 1991, but the daily smoking rate did not significantly decline over the most recent 3 year period (was 12.8% in 2013 and 12.2% in 2016).
  • Among current smokers, 3 in 10 (28.5%) tried to quit but did not succeed and about 1 in 3 (31%) do not intend to quit.
  • People living in the lowest socioeconomic areas are more likely to smoke than people living in the highest socioeconomic area but people in the lowest socioeconomic area were the only group to report a significant decline in daily smoking between 2013 and 2016 (from 19.9% to 17.7%).

8 in 10 Australians had consumed at least 1 glass of alcohol in the last 12 months

  • The proportion exceeding the lifetime risk guidelines declined between 2013 and 2016 (from 18.2% to 17.1%); however, the proportion exceeding the single occasion risk guidelines once a month or more remained unchanged at about 1 in 4.
  • Among recent drinkers: 1 in 4 (24%) had been a victim of an alcohol-related incident in 2016; about 1 in 6 (17.4%) put themselves or others at risk of harm while under the influence of alcohol in the last 12 months; and about 1 in 10 (9%) had injured themselves or someone else because of their drinking in their lifetime.
  • Half of recent drinkers had undertaken at least some alcohol moderation behaviour. The main reason chosen was for health reasons.
  • A greater proportion of people living in Remote or very remote areas abstained from alcohol in 2016 than in 2013 (26% compared with 17.5%) and a lower proportion exceeded the lifetime risk guidelines (26% compared with 35%).

About 1 in 8 Australians had used at least 1 illegal substance in the last 12 months and 1 in 20 had misused a pharmaceutical drug

  • In 2016, the most commonly used illegal drugs that were used at least once in the past 12 months were cannabis (10.4%), followed by cocaine (2.5%), ecstasy (2.2%) and meth/amphetamines (1.4%).
  • However, ecstasy and cocaine were used relatively infrequently and when examining the share of Australians using an illegal drug weekly or more often in 2016, meth/amphetamines (which includes ‘ice’) was the second most commonly used illegal drug after cannabis.
  • Most meth/amphetamine users used ‘ice’ as their main form, increasing from 22% of recent meth/amphetamine users in 2010 to 57% in 2016.

Certain groups disproportionately experience drug-related risks

  • Use of illicit drugs in the last 12 months was far more common among people who identified as being homosexual or bisexual; ecstasy and meth/amphetamines use in this group was 5.8 times as high as heterosexual people.
  • People who live in Remote and very remote areas, unemployed people and Indigenous Australians continue to be more likely to smoke daily and use illicit drugs than other population groups.
  • The proportion of people experiencing high or very high levels of psychological distress increased among recent illicit drug users between 2013 and 2016—from 17.5% to 22% but also increased from 8.6% to 9.7% over the same period for the non-illicit drug using population (those who had not used an illicit drug in the past 12 months).
  • Daily smoking, risky alcohol consumption and recent illicit drug use was lowest in the Australian Capital Territory and highest in the Northern Territory.

The majority of Australians support policies aimed at reducing the acceptance and use of drugs, and the harms resulting from drug use

  • There was generally greater support for education and treatment and lower support for law enforcement measures.

‘In 2016, 42% of meth/amphetamine users had a mental illness, up from 29% in 2013, while the rate of mental illness among ecstasy users also rose from 18% to 27%,’ said AIHW spokesperson, Matthew James. ‘Drug use is a complex issue, and it’s difficult to determine to what degree drug use causes mental health problems, and to what degree mental health problems give rise to drug use.’

About 1 in 20 Australians reported misusing pharmaceuticals, with 75% of recent painkiller users reporting misusing an ‘over the counter’ codeine product in the past 12 months. The AIHW will be publishing more detailed data on pharmaceutical misuse later in 2017.

In addition to illicit drugs, the report also provides insights into Australians’ use of alcohol and tobacco, and notes some improvements in risky behaviour (such as driving while under the influence of alcohol), as well as improved smoking rates among people living in lower socioeconomic areas.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

 Part 3 Mental illness rising among meth/amphetamine and ecstasy users

Mental illnesses are becoming more common among meth/amphetamine and ecstasy users, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, National Drug Strategy Household Survey: detailed findings 2016, builds on preliminary results released in June, and gives further insight into Australians’ use of, and attitudes to, drugs and alcohol in 2016.

The report shows that among people who had recently (in the last 12 months) used an illicit drug, about 27% had been diagnosed or treated for a mental illness—an increase from 21% in 2013. Rates of mental illness were particularly high—and saw the most significant increases—for meth/amphetamine and ecstasy users.

‘In 2016, 42% of meth/amphetamine users had a mental illness, up from 29% in 2013, while the rate of mental illness among ecstasy users also rose from 18% to 27%,’ said AIHW spokesperson Matthew James.

‘Drug use is a complex issue, and it’s difficult to determine to what degree drug use causes mental health problems, and to what degree mental health problems give rise to drug use’.

Similarly, the report also reveals a complex relationship between employment status and drug use.

‘For example, people who were unemployed were about 3 times as likely to have recently used meth/amphetamines as employed people, and about 2 times as likely to use cannabis or smoke tobacco daily. On the other hand, employed people were more likely to use cocaine than those who were unemployed,’ Mr James said.

Today’s report also shows higher rates of drug use among people who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual, with the largest differences seen in the use of ecstasy and meth/amphetamines.

‘Homosexual and bisexual people were almost 6 times as likely as heterosexual people to use each of these drugs, and were also about 4 times as likely to use cocaine as heterosexual people, and 3 times more likely to use cannabis or misuse pharmaceutical drugs.’ Mr James said.

Overall, about 1 in 20 Australians reported misusing pharmaceuticals, with 75% of recent painkiller users reporting misusing an ‘over the counter’ codeine product in the past 12 months. The AIHW will be publishing comprehensive data on pharmaceutical misuse later in 2017.

‘Our report also shows that more Australians are in favour of the use of cannabis in clinical trials to treat medical conditions—87% now support its use, up from 75% in 2013. We also found that 85% of people now support legislative changes to permit its use for medical purposes in general, up from 69% in 2013,’ Mr James said.

In addition to illicit drugs, today’s report also provides insights into Australians’ use of alcohol and tobacco, and notes some improvements in risky behaviour (such as driving while under the influence of alcohol), as well as improved smoking rates among people living in lower socioeconomic areas.

The report also contains data for each state and territory in Australia, and shows differences in drug use between the jurisdictions. For example, recent use of meth/amphetamine was highest in Western Australia, but the use of cocaine was highest in New South Wales.