NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alert  : How you can watch and support new documentary @InMyBloodItRuns in Australian cinemas Feb 20. Follow ten-year-old Dujuan as he discovers the resilience and resistance of many generations

” Werte. That means “hello” in my first language, Arrernte.

My name is Dujuan, I am 12 years old. I am from Arrernte and Garrwa Country. I came here to speak with you because our government is not listening. Adults never listen to kids – especially kids like me. But we have important things to say.

I grew up at Sandy Bore outstation and at Hidden Valley Town Camp in Alice Springs. Now I live in Borroloola.

Something special about me is that I am an Angangkere, which means I am a traditional healer. It is my job to look after my family with my healing powers.

I am the star in a new documentary, In My Blood It Runs. “

Dujuan Hoosan : From speech given to the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva on 11 September : See Part 1 below : 

Meet ten-year-old Dujuan, a child-healer, a good hunter and speaks three languages, as he discovers the resilience and resistance of many generations of his people and faces the history that runs straight into him.

Check out the In My Blood It Runs Website 

How you can share promote In My Blood it Runs  : See Part 3 below

From director Maya Newell (Gayby Baby), in collaboration with Arrernte and Garrwa families onscreen, you won’t want to miss this essential story about the strength and resilience of First Nations communities.

Where can you see the film national from February 20

” We begin to realize that Dujuan’s world does not exist in a vacuum, but is a microcosm of a much larger political and historical battle being waged in Australia. This event offers a stark insight into a potential future for Dujuan. How will his family and community rise above?

In My Blood It Runs looks beyond the ‘problem’ to see the people. Instead of seeing this Aboriginal boy as a ‘criminal’, we see a child who has experienced systematic abuse; instead of ‘bad parents’, we see a family who has been systematically stripped of all agency yet undeniably love their kids; instead of a ‘failure’ at school, we see a child whose talents have been completely overlooked.

And crucially, this child observes the inequality of the world he is presented with.”

Read full synopsis Part 2 below

Our children have to leave their identity at the school gate”

Felicity Hayes, Senior Traditional Owner of Mparntwe, Alice Springs and Executive Producer

Part 1 : Edited speech given to the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva on 11 September

It was filmed when I was 10 years old. It shows what it feels like to be an Aboriginal kid in Australia and how we are treated every day.

Many things happen to me in this film.

In school, they told me Captain Cook was a hero and discovered Australia. It made me confused. It’s not true because before cars, buildings and houses there were just Aboriginal people.

I want Australia to tell the truth that Aboriginal people were the first people who had the land.

My school report cards said that I was a failure.

Every mark was in the worst box.

I thought “is there something wrong with me?”.

I felt like a problem.

The film shows me working to learn Arrernte and about being an Angangkere.

I say, “If you go out bush each week you learn how to control your anger and control your life.”

I feel strong when I am learning my culture from my Elders and my land.

I think schools should be run by Aboriginal people.

Let our families choose what is best for us.

Let us speak our languages in school.

I think this would have helped me from getting in trouble.

The film shows Aboriginal kids tortured in juvenile detention. I know lots of kids that have been locked up. Police is cruel to kids like me. They treat us like they treat their enemies. I am cheeky, but no kid should be in jail.

I want adults to stop being cruel to 10-year-old kids in jail.

Welfare also needs to be changed. My great-grandmother was taken from her family in the stolen generation. My other great-grandmother was hidden away. That story runs through my blood pipes all the way up to my brain.

But I was lucky because of my family. They know I am smart. They love me.

They found a way to keep me safe. I am alright now, but lots of kids aren’t so lucky.

I think they should stop taking Aboriginal kids away from their parents – that’s wrong.

What I want is a normal life of just being me. I want to be allowed to be an Aboriginal person, living on my land with my family and having a good life.

My film is for all Aboriginal kids. It is about our dreams, our hopes and our rights.

I hope you think of me when you are telling the Australian government how to treat us better.

Thank you for listening to my story.

Baddiwa – that’s goodbye in my other language, Garrwa.

Dujuan Hoosan is 12 years old. This is an edited speech given to the Human Rights Council at the United Nationsin Geneva on 11 September

Part 2 Synopsis

Ten-year-old Dujuan is a child-healer, a good hunter and speaks three languages. As he shares his wisdom of history and the complex world around him we see his spark and intelligence. Yet Dujuan is ‘failing’ in school and facing increasing scrutiny from welfare and the police.

As he travels perilously close to incarceration, his family fight to give him a strong Arrernte education alongside his western education lest he becomes another statistic. We walk with him as he grapples with these pressures, shares his truths and somewhere in-between finds space to dream, imagine and hope for his future self.

Director Maya Newell’s first feature Gayby Baby (Hot Docs, Good Pitch Aus, London BFI), sparked a national debate in Australia when it was banned in schools. Told through the lens of four children in same-sex families during the fight for Marriage Equality, the film offered the voice of those being ignored. Made in collaboration with Dujuan and his family My Blood It Runs tackles another heated topic, First Nations education and juvenile justice and places the missing voice of children front and centre.

Filmed candidly and intimately, we experience this world on the fringes of Alice Springs through Dujuan’s eyes. Dujuan’s family light candles when the power card runs out, often rely on extended family to drop around food and live alongside the ingrained effects of colonization and dispossession.

Every day in the classroom, Dujuan’s strength as a child-healer and Arrernte language speaker goes unnoticed. While he likes school, his report card shows a stream of ‘E’s, which make him feel stupid. Education is universally understood as a ticket to success, but school becomes a site of displacement and Dujuan starts running away from the classroom.

In stark contrast to his school behaviour, on his ancestral homeland surrounded by is family, Dujuan is focused, engaged and learning.

We begin to see Country as a classroom and a place where the resilience can grow and revolution is alive.

But the pressures on Dujuan in Alice Springs are ever encroaching – educational failure, domestic violence, child removal and police. In May 2016, images of children being tortured at the Northern Territory’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre are leaked and spike global uproar. In fact, 100% of children detained in the Northern Territory are Indigenous.

We begin to realize that Dujuan’s world does not exist in a vacuum, but is a microcosm of a much larger political and historical battle being waged in Australia. This event offers a stark insight into a potential future for Dujuan. How will his family and community rise above?

In My Blood It Runs looks beyond the ‘problem’ to see the people. Instead of seeing this Aboriginal boy as a ‘criminal’, we see a child who has experienced systematic abuse; instead of ‘bad parents’, we see a family who has been systematically stripped of all agency yet undeniably love their kids; instead of a ‘failure’ at school, we see a child whose talents have been completely overlooked. And crucially, this child observes the inequality of the world he is presented with.

In the end, when Dujuan cannot run nor fight alone, he faces the history that runs straight into him and realises that not only has he inherited the trauma and dispossession of his land, but also the strength, resilience and resistance of many generations of his people which holds the key to his future.

Part 3 How you can share promote In My Blood it Runs

Here are links to some assets below and sample copy that you can use – but please tweak as you see fit for your audience.

SAMPLE SOCIAL COPY

In My Blood It Runs hits Australian cinemas Feb 20!

Meet ten-year-old Dujuan, a child-healer, a good hunter and speaks three languages, as he discovers the resilience and resistance of many generations of his people and faces the history that runs straight into him. From director Maya Newell (Gayby Baby), in collaboration with Arrernte and Garrwa families onscreen, you won’t want to miss this essential story about the strength and resilience of First Nations communities.

In My Blood It Runs: a personal and moving film that should inspire us all.

Book your tickets now >>https://bit.ly/39TpM2j

Please don’t forget to follow/tag  on socials @inmyblooditruns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Originally published The Australian 15 February

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

Part 1 Stan Grant 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Without entrenching ­racism in our laws?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Originally published HERE

Image above sourced from HERE

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Age Editorial 9 February Ancestry squabble damages Indigenous cause

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pascoe categorically denies this allegation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

History matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All of this is well known in Aboriginal communities.

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

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

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

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

Health implications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow on Twitter: @SummerMayFinlay

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download full 2019 Youth Report

Mission Australia Youth Survey FULL Report 2019

Download 2019 Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people Report

MA Youth Survey 2019 ATSI-Web

Profile of respondents

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

Gender breakdown

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

Language background other than English

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

Disability

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

Education

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

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

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

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

1 of 2 Interviews from our NACCHO Youth Conference Darwin 2019

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

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

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

What issues are of personal concern to our young people?

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

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

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

2 of 2 Interviews from our NACCHO Youth Conference Darwin 2019

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

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

Have our young people experienced bullying?

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

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

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

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

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

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #JustJustice : Leading #NT Aboriginal organisations like @CAACongress and @AMSANTaus call for an “immediate and exhaustive” investigation into recent shooting and closure of health clinics

” Congress, the Central Australian Aboriginal Health Service, said there were so many unanswered questions around the shooting that the inquest into Walker’s death in the town of Yuendumu should be given priority over all others and report within three months.

The Congress CEO, Donna Ah Chee, told the rally the NT Health department should also investigate why the Yuendumu medical clinic was closed and “why it has not been immediately reopened with full services, given increase of police in the community” since the shooting.

 “Clinic closures are a disturbing trend with life-threatening consequences – as we have seen this weekend,” 

From the Guardian report continued Part 1 below

Read all Aboriginal and Just Justice articles published by NACCHO Here

Photo above : NT police shooting: Quentin Walker Jurrah, whose grandson Kumanjayi Walker was killed on Saturday, demonstrates outside Alice Springs police station during a second day of protests . Photograph: Rhett Hammmerton

“We can’t afford to have remote clinics closed, especially during this time of year with the extreme heat.

It’s not like when you close them, the patients living with chronic conditions in those communities go away either.

The NT Government needed to restore the medical services in Yuendumu immediately.”

Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT chief executive John Paterson told the NT News he wanted answers from the Government on why they had to evacuate the entire clinic.

So a known aggressive criminal caucasian man can shoot up Darwin CBD and kill people and only gets tasered while still holding a gun in his hand, then gets taken into protective custody by police!!

Yet a young Aboriginal man in his own home on his community gets dragged out of his bed and shot because of what?

 A breach of bail! Tell me that’s not racism. #BlackLivesMatter

Social media post from concerned NT Citizen

Watch Skynews report

Part 1

Leading Aboriginal organisations in the Northern Territory are calling for an “immediate and exhaustive” investigation into the police shooting death of 19-year-old Warlpiri man Kumanjayi Walker at his family home on Saturday night.

The calls came as community members and supporters protested outside Alice Springs police station for a second day to demand answers about the shooting. Another rally is scheduled for tomorrow.

The Central Land Council has called for police to release the body camera footage.

“We want full transparency, we want to see the body camera evidence, we want it out in the open,” CEO, Joe Martin-Jard said.

“I call on the coroner to have this inquiry at Yuendumu and give families the chance to talk to him,” he said.

NAAJA, the Aboriginal legal service of the NT, said Walker’s death was “tragic and unnecessary”.

“The investigation of the police shooting in Yuendumu must be open, thorough and transparent and one that informs the family and community,” David Woodroffe, the service’s principal legal officer, said.

“NAAJA expects the independent coronial investigation into the death in custody to be immediate and exhaustive.”

Meanwhile, a Northern Territory MP is calling on the chief ministerto go to Yuendumu to meet with elders, as an “appropriate cultural response” to the shooting of Walker in the town, almost 300km north west of Alice Springs.

The independent member for Stuart, Scott McConnell, told ABC Radio on Monday it “would be helpful with the healing process” for Michael Gunner to sit down at Yuendumu with elders to explain how the inquiry into Walker’s death will involve them.

Organisers of Monday’s rally said they were concerned the increase in police presence in the community would only upset people further.

Walker was shot by police when they attempted to arrest him for an outstanding warrant. They took him to the police station, where he died while waiting for medical assistance to arrive.

His family were not told of his death on Saturday night.

Senior police officers visited the community on Sunday to speak to residents, who had been remarkably calm, McConnell said, despite their distress.

“There has been incredibly good leadership from elders who kept people calm in an absolute vacuum of information [from police],” McConnell said.

He said the government and the NT police needed to “explain and justify the inquiry” they were undertaking because “the community don’t believe it is independent enough and I support them in that”.

The health clinic was closed over the weekend, meaning there were no medical staff in the community at the time of the shooting. McConnell said the closure of the health clinic was an “inadequate” response to the needs of Yuendumu.

“Yuendumu is a difficult place to live and work at the moment. We do have an issue with law and order and crime in the NT, and I have been concerned about these things for a long time,” McConnell said. “I feel for health staff at Yuendumu … but the government’s response to that seem to have been inadequate.

“The police station has never been fully operational and [the government] is too willing to close community clinics. It’s not a minor community, it’s 1,000 people. The citizens of Yuendumu need to be kept safe with their clinic kept open.”

The clinic will open today during business hours, staffed by workers from nearby Yuelamu.

A spokesman for the chief minister said Gunner would visit “subject to consultation with the family and community leaders”.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media coverage from AJP 

More info from Jean Hailes Website 

Download 35 Page Survey Results

2019_Womens_Health_Survey_Full_Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth Download @NMHC National Report 2019 Released today : The Australian Government encourages PHNs to position Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services as preferred providers for mental health and suicide prevention services for our mob

” Working to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a priority area for PHNs.

The PHN Advisory Panel Report recommended that PHN funds for mental health and suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be provided directly to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) as a priority, unless a better arrangement can be demonstrated.

The Senate Inquiry into the accessibility and quality of mental health services in rural and remote Australia also made a similar recommendation.

PHNs should continue to work on formalising partnerships with ACCHS.

The NMHC supports the recommendations made by both these reports and recommends that the Australian Government encourages PHNs to position ACCHS as preferred providers for mental health and suicide prevention services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people “

Extract from Page 14 

Recommendation 16: The Australian Government encourages PHNs to position Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services as preferred providers for mental health and suicide prevention services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The National Mental Health Commission today released its National Report 2019 on Australia’s mental health and suicide prevention system, including recommendations to improve outcomes.

Download the full 97 Page Report HERE 

National_Report_2019

or 9 Page Summary HERE 

National Report 2019 Summary – Accessible PDF

The Commission continues to recommend a whole-of-government approach to mental health and suicide prevention.

This broad approach ensures factors which impact individuals’ mental health and wellbeing such as housing, employment, education and social justice are addressed alongside the delivery of mental health care.

National Mental Health Commission Advisory Board Chair, Lucy Brogden, said we are living in a time when we’re seeing unprecedented investment and interest in making substantial improvements to our mental health system.

“Current national reforms are key, but complex, interrelated and broad in scope, and will take time before their implementation leads to tangible change for consumers and carers,” Mrs Brogden said.

“The National Report indicates while there are significant reforms underway at national, state and local levels, it’s crucial that we maintain momentum and implement these recommendations to ensure sustained change for consumers and carers.”

National Mental Health Commission CEO Christine Morgan said the National Report findings align with what Australians are sharing as part of the Connections Project, which has provided opportunities for the Commission to hear directly from consumers, carers and families, as well as service providers, about their experience of the current mental health system.

“What’s clear is we must remain focused on long term health objectives. Implementation of these targeted recommendations will support this focus,” Ms Morgan said.

The NMHC recommendations require collaboration across the sector.  As part of its ongoing monitoring and report role, the NMHC will work with stakeholders to identify how progress of the recommendations can be measured.

For your nearest ACCHO contact for HELP 

NACCHO and ACCHO Members Deadly Good News Stories : #NSW @ahmrc #VIC @VACCHO #OchreDay #QLD @QAIHC_QLD @GidgeeHealing Goolburri #SA Nunkuwarrin Yunti #WA @TheAHCWA #NT @AMSANTaus #ACT @WinnungaACCHO #TAS

1.1 National : Watch NACCHO CEO appearance on the ABC TV the Drum for NAIDOC week

1.2 National : Federal Department of Health launches a new website

1.3 National : NACCHO support of Adam Goodes 2014-2019 ” Aboriginal Health and Racism “ #TheFinalQuarter

2.1 Armajun Aboriginal Health Service Armidale hold NAIDOC Week celebration

2.2 NSW : AHMRC The July Edition of Message Stick is out now!

2.3 NSW : Barrier between NSW Indigenous patients and hospital staff: report

3.1 VIC : VACCHO to co-host 2019 OCHRE DAY Men’s Health Conference in Melbourne 

4.1 Qld : QAIHC welcomes Minister Ken Wyatt to their new offices in Brisbane

4.2 QLD : Renee Blackman CEO of Gidgee Healing ACCHO Mt Isa on fact finding road trip 

4.3 QLD : Goolburri ACCHO : Jaydon Adams Foundation Indigenous Jets Ipswich Jets 2019

5.SA : Tackling Tobacco Team – Nunkuwarrin Yunti  the mob going smoke-free in Adelaide’s Prisons.

6.WA : AHCWA : Derby Aboriginal Health Service (DAHS) in Derby completed their final block of training in our Cert II Family Wellbeing Training Course

7.1 NT : Team AMSANT travelled to Sydney this week for national NACCHO workshop

7.2 : NT Katherine West Health Board traveling with our friend Healthy Harold to the schools talking about smoking 

8. ACT : Julie Tongs CEO Winnunga ACCHO Canberra congratulates Aunty Thelma Weston the 2019 National NAIDOC Female Elder of the Year

9. Tas: Tasmanian NAIDOC Aboriginal award winners 

How to submit in 2019 a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media 

Mobile 0401 331 251 

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication Thursday /Friday

1.1 National : Watch NACCHO CEO appearance on the ABC TV the Drum for NAIDOC week

Watch ABC TV IView Friday 12 July Edition 

1.2 National : Federal Department of Health launches a new website

Welcome to the new health.gov.au website

We think you’ll find it a better website. We’ve:

  • changed the way it looks and works so it’s easier to use
  • reorganised our content so it’s easier to find
  • rewritten our content so it’s easier to understand
  • improved navigation and search
  • begun consolidating our other Health websites into this one, so more of our information is in one place

Department Press Release

The new website has been developed through comprehensive research and testing with our stakeholders.

Health.gov.au users told us they couldn’t find what they were looking for and when they did, it was often out of date and hard to read. Content was also often replicated and spread across more than 90 Health-owned websites.

The new website has better functionality and content has been written in plain English to improve the experience of all users.

An improved search function will search the new and old website during the transition period to ensure all relevant content is picked up. Better analytics will help us understand our users and continue to respond to their needs.

This project has been, and will continue to be, a major exercise. We expect it will take up to 12 months to completely rewrite our content.

In the meantime, Health topics that have not yet been fully revised will have a short introduction on the new site and links to old content for detail. Links to the old website will still work until we decommission our old website.

We won’t decommission the old site until we are satisfied the new website is complete.

Preview the new site

1.3 National : NACCHO support of Adam Goodes 2014-2019 ” Aboriginal Health and Racism “ #TheFinalQuarter

In 2015 NACCHO supported our good friend of NACCHO Adam Goodes with a ” Racism is a driver of Aboriginal ill health ” campaign that attracted a record 50,000  Likes and shares on our Facebook page reaching 846,848 followers

READ OUR NACCHO RACISM Post HERE

Watch to Final Quarter HERE

This followed our 2013 sponsorship of the first All-Indigenous team to represent Australia that Adam co captained with Buddy Franklin

Missed the Channel 10 Broadcast ? Watch HERE

2.1 Armajun Aboriginal Health Service Armidale hold NAIDOC Week celebration

More than 40 people attended the Armajun Aboriginal Health Service in Armidale on Thursday morning, but it had nothing to do with anything medical and everything to do with their NAIDOC Week morning tea.

Armajun program manager Deb Green said the day was fantastic.

“As the day gets on, we’ll get more community members who will just wander in,” she said.

“There will be an area left open so they can just come in and have a meal, and have a chat if other people are around.

“The whole week has been absolutely brilliant. We should be very, very proud of our community, and every service provider that has hosted an event over the last two weeks, it’s just been amazin

See Photo Album 

2.2 NSW : AHMRC The July Edition of Message Stick is out now!


Read about AH&MRC staff celebrating NAIDOC Week 2019, wrap-ups for Yarn Up, Your Health Your Future and the Dubbo Symposium and an update on the 2019 flu season.
Read about it here >> http://bit.ly/2XQldhR

2.3 NSW : Barrier between NSW Indigenous patients and hospital staff: report

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in NSW hospitals have reported being treated with less respect and dignity than non-Indigenous patients.

The Bureau of Health Information surveyed about 36,000 patients in hospitals and emergency rooms between 2017 and 2018.

The bureau’s chief executive, Diane Watson, said nearly all of the 1,000 First Nation patients were happy with their overall care, but some clear trends emerged.

Director for Aboriginal Health Geri Wilson-Matenga said new training programs would be designed to help medical staff with cultural communication and understanding.

3.1 VIC : VACCHO to co-host 2019 OCHRE DAY Men’s Health Conference in Melbourne 

 

The NACCHO Ochre Day Health Summit provides a national forum for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male delegates, organisations and communities to learn from Aboriginal male health leaders, discuss their health concerns, exchange share ideas and examine ways of improving their own men’s health and that of their communities.

REGISTER and other information on this years Ochre Day Men’s Health Conference

Please visit the NACCHO website.

3.2 VIC : Aboriginal Victorians are twice as likely to be hospitalised for mental health issues, compared to the wider population

A history of marginalisation and cultural dispossession has contributed to lower emotional and social wellbeing among Aboriginal Victorians, the state’s mental health royal commission has heard.

Key points:

  • Aboriginal Victorians are twice as likely to be hospitalised for mental health issues, compared to the wider population
  • Almost half of the state’s Aboriginal population has a relative who was removed under the policies which lead to the Stolen Generations
  • One elder told the commission the western concept of mental health was neither familiar, nor helpful for Aboriginal people

Wemba Wemba elder Auntie Nellie Flagg ( Pictured above ) described the mental anguish that accompanied the relentless racism she experienced growing up in the north-west Victorian town of Swan Hill in the 1960s. See Full Report 

Helen Kennedy, from the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, said: “They’re losing their life to suicide at twice the rate.”

“We’re not seeing improvements.”

Ms Kennedy told the commission part of the problem was a lack of recognition of the profound trauma arising from a long history of marginalisation and the dispossession of land, culture and children.

Almost half of all Aboriginal Victorians have a relative who was removed under policies which lead to the Stolen Generations.

“These impacts have been brutal,” Ms Kennedy said.

“They have left a legacy of enduring trauma and loss that continues to affect Aboriginal communities, families and many individuals is in many compounding ways.”

Culturally appropriate services critical

Ms Kennedy told the inquiry that developing culturally appropriate services staffed by Aboriginal people was critical.

She said Victoria had only eight Aboriginal mental health workers statewide.

“We are lagging behind other states,” she said.

“We need a massive reinvestment to support a growing skilled Aboriginal workforce.”

Ms Kennedy said one approach proving successful elsewhere was the creation of trauma-informed community “healing centres” aimed at helping individuals build stronger connections to culture, community, family, spirituality, their mind and emotions.

“What we’re doing now is not working. We have to have a different approach,” she said.

“Looking after people’s social and emotional wellbeing and supporting protective factors … we know that works.”

See Full Report

4.1 Qld : QAIHC welcomes Minister Ken Wyatt to their new offices in Brisbane

QAIHC CEO Mr Neil Willmett  was pleased to welcome Ken Wyatt MP to their new office this week. They discussed a range of topics including the great work QAIHC Members were doing, the work QAIHC leads in the Sector, and the importance of strong partnerships with government and stakeholders.

4.2 QLD : Renee Blackman CEO of Gidgee Healing ACCHO Mt Isa on fact finding road trip 

Setting off yesterday to Burketown to meet with Council, Aboriginal Land Council and Consumers re health services. Robust discussions- great feedback – NWHHS, Gidgee Healing and WQPHN working with the community to improve health outcomes

Renee Blackman second from LEFT

4.3 QLD : Goolburri ACCHO : Jaydon Adams Foundation Indigenous Jets Ipswich Jets 2019

 Big thank you to photographer for these amazing pictures. see more HERE

5.SA : Tackling Tobacco Team – Nunkuwarrin Yunti  the mob going smoke-free in Adelaide’s Prisons.

 

There have been some inspiring stories and changes going on. #BeHealthyBeSmokefree #Rewriteyourstory

6.WA : AHCWA : Derby Aboriginal Health Service (DAHS) in Derby completed their final block of training in our Cert II Family Wellbeing Training Course

Last month, students from the Derby Aboriginal Health Service (DAHS) in Derby completed their final block of training in our Cert II Family Wellbeing Training Course, all graduating successfully with ease.  The course runs over a 4 day period and is part of the Family Wellbeing program at AHCWA that aims to support the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal people and their communities within WA. The aim of the program is to increase awareness of the contributing factors that impact on family wellbeing and identify strategies to help build better foundations to overcome these factors.

Congratulations to the students from DAHS!

For more information on the training please contact our Family & Wellbeing Program Coordinator, Ken Nicholls on (08) 9227 1631 or email ken.nicholls at ahcwa.org.

7.1 NT : Team AMSANT traveled to Sydney this week for national NACCHO workshop 

7.2 : NT Katherine West Health Board traveling with our friend Healthy Harold to the schools talking about smoking 

We have been traveling with our friend Healthy Harold to the schools in the Katherine West region. Healthy Harold has been yarning to the kids about their dreams when finishing school and how smoking could affect their dreams.

More Pics Here

What’s your Smoke Free Story?

8. ACT : Julie Tongs CEO Winnunga ACCHO Canberra congratulates Aunty Thelma Weston the 2019 National NAIDOC Female Elder of the Year

Thelma Weston, a descendant of the Meriam people of the Torres Strait, is like no other. Her life is a story of survival, achievement, hope, love and celebration.

Despite only having a limited education, Aunty Thelma trained as a nurse and became a fully qualified health worker.
At age 83, Aunty Thelma still works full time at Winnunga Aboriginal Health and Community Services in Canberra, using her skills to manage the needle exchange program.

She has a long history of outstanding involvement and achievements in the community and has sat on a number of local and national committees and boards.
Aunty Thelma is on the board of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA) and regularly travels across Australia to attend board meetings.

As a breast cancer survivor, Aunty Thelma has worked with Breast Cancer Network Australia to encourage other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to connect, seek support and information about the disease.

Aunty Thelma is much loved, admired and well respected, not only in her workplace and amongst her clients, but in the wider ACT community and across Australia.  She is a wonderful example of a wise and caring Torres Strait Islander woman who has achieved much for her family and community.

9. Tas: Tasmanian NAIDOC Aboriginal award winners 

Congratulations Rob Braslin Aboriginal of the year. Congratulations Zack Riley-youth of the year; Adam Thompson-artist of the year; Taylah Pickett-scholar of the year (award accepted on her behalf by Raylene); Sherrin Egger-sportsperson of the year. Congratulations to all nominees and all award winners 🖤💛❤️

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Racism : Aboriginal Health promotion footage use by Sunrise Breakfast Show @sunriseon7 could be seen by some in the Yirrkala community as “damaged goods” says judge

 

“ The group alleges that by using the footage in conjunction with the discussion on child abuse, Sunrise implied they abused or neglected children.

They also claim Seven breached their confidence and privacy in using the footage, originally filmed for the promotion of Aboriginal health, for its unintended purpose; and that the network breached Australian consumer laws by acting unconscionably.

Yolngu woman Kathy Mununggurr and 14 others filed the lawsuit in February, claiming they had been defamed after blurred footage of them was broadcast in the background of the panel discussion.

Watch CEO Pat Turner , Olga Havnen CEO Danila Dilba and James Ward appear on #Sunrise to respond to Indigenous child protection issues #wehavethesolutions March 2018

Plus Read Extra Coverage HERE

Aboriginal children shown in footage that accompanied a breakfast television segment on child abuse in Indigenous communities could be seen by some in the community as “damaged goods”, a judge has said.

A group of Aboriginal people from a remote community in the Northern Territory is suing Channel Seven over the Sunrise “Hot Topics” panel discussion hosted by Samantha Armytage on March 13 last year.

Originally published HERE

The segment followed public commentary by then-Assistant Minister for Children David Gillespie on non-Indigenous families adopting at-risk Aboriginal children and featured commentator Prue MacSween, who said a “fabricated PC outlook” was preventing white Australians from adopting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

“Don’t worry about the people that would cry and hand-wring and say this would be another Stolen Generation. Just like the first Stolen Generation where a lot of people were taken because it was for their wellbeing … we need to do it again, perhaps,” MacSween said during the discussion, which also featured Brisbane radio host Ben Davis.

The segment sparked an intense backlash, including protests outside the Sunrise studios at Sydney’s Martin Place and condemnation from the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

During a strike-out application brought by Seven on Wednesday, Seven’s barrister, Kieran Smark, SC, said there were issues with claiming those in the footage could be identified.

But Justice Steven Rares said Aboriginal communities in remote parts of Australia, particularly the Northern Territory, were “much more integrated than the suburbs of this country”.

“You’ve got a whole community up there, most of whom will be able to recognise each other, some of whom watch Sunrise,” Justice Rares said.

The group from the Yirrkala community allege the children in the footage were also defamed, but Mr Smark said a reasonable person would not shun and avoid a person they perceived to be a child victim of assault.

Mr Smark said ordinary people would react to victims of abuse with sympathy and it would be “counter-intuitive” to avoid them.

But Justice Rares said members of the community “might not be as sympathetic as you say”.

“The fact is imputations of abuse reflect on, as I understand it as a member of the community, whether you want to associate with people who are victims of abuse, because they are going to be disturbed by that abuse,” Justice Rares said.

“People are not going to associate with people they feel are damaged goods.”

Justice Rares said Aboriginal people had “by far” the highest rates of incarceration in Australia and many of those imprisoned came from traumatised backgrounds.

He dismissed Seven’s application to strike out the group’s pleadings.

Barrister Louise Goodchild, representing the group, said interpreters would need to be brought down for the trial and foreshadowed expert evidence in relation to cultural shame being heard.

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Ice #ClosingTheGap : Some call it an epidemic, others call it the “Ice Age”. What ever you call it , it is destroying families, and Indigenous culture

“You need to trust us to be able to deliver a service to our own people linked in with culture. Who are the right people to deliver that? Our people.

I have seen it a thousand times over. Once they are addicted to ice, culture’s gone, you don’t care about your kids, your primary focus is ‘I need this drug.’ It is worse than heroin.

Ice has a terrible impact on the family. Yet there was nothing to explain to families “why all your stuff is being sold at the pawn shop” and how to get help “

Tanya Bloxsome, a Waddi Waddi woman of the Yuin, who is chief executive of a residential rehabilitation service for men, Oolong House

Read over 60 Aboriginal Health and Ice articles published by NACCHO

Originally published SMH Julie Power

It makes Nowra grandmother Janelle Burnes’ day when her grandson Lucas* says, “Nanny, you’ve got a beautiful smile. I love you.”

The Wiradjuri woman has been punched and kicked by eight-year-old Lucas, who hears voices and suffers psychosis.

Janelle Burnes had to give up work to care for her eight-year-old grandson. He suffers from a range of mental illnesses, including psychosis, attributed to his parents’ ice addictions.

Abandoned by his mother as a baby, Lucas has fetal alcohol and drug syndrome attributed to his parents’ ice use when he was conceived.

Experts told the NSW special commission of inquiry into ice in Nowra last week that they were increasingly seeing multiple generations of users living together, exposing children to violence, neglect, abuse and witnessing sex and drug use by intoxicated adults.

Some call it an epidemic, others call it the “Ice Age”.

When Lucas hit his grandmother over the head with a guitar, she didn’t yell at him. Determined to stop the boy from becoming part of another generation broken by ice, Ms Burnes ignored the blood running down her face and the waiting ambulance.

“I walked back to him, I hugged him, I cuddled him, I told him, ‘You are going to hurt Nanny if you do stuff like that.’ And I gave him a kiss and I told him I still loved him.”

Ice is a stronger and more addictive stimulant than speed, the powder form of methamphetamine, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation says. It causes aggression, psychosis, stroke, heart attacks and death. It causes confusion, making it nearly impossible to get a rational response from someone under the drug’s influence.

Tanya Bloxsome, chief executive of Oolong House, a residential rehabilitation service where more than 90 per cent of its male residents have been addicted to ice. CREDIT:LOUISE KENNERLEY

Ms Burnes doesn’t blame Lucas for his behaviour, but ice. It is destroying Indigenous and non-Indigenous families across the Shoalhaven region. It is also destroying Indigenous culture.

To recover, Indigenous leaders say they have to develop role models and restore pride in their identity.

“You need to trust us to be able to deliver a service to our own people linked in with culture. Who are the right people to deliver that? Our people,” said Tanya Bloxsome, a Waddi Waddi woman of the Yuin, who is chief executive of a residential rehabilitation service for men, Oolong House.

“I have seen it a thousand times over. Once they are addicted to ice, culture’s gone, you don’t care about your kids, your primary focus is ‘I need this drug.’ It is worse than heroin.

“Ice has a terrible impact on the family,” she said. Yet there was nothing to explain to families “why all your stuff is being sold at the pawn shop” and how to get help.

Nearly two-thirds of 52 Indigenous and non-Indigenous children placed in out-of-home care in the Nowra region in the past year were removed because of ice use by their parents. It was also a “risk factor” in about 40 per cent of the 124 families working with Family and Community Services’ case managers.

When Indigenous groups met the commission last week, they said they needed more culturally appropriate programs, rehabilitation places and detoxification units (the closest are in Sydney, Canberra and Dubbo).

Indigenous Australians are more than 2.2 times as likely to take meth/amphetamine than other Australians.

In the opening address to the commission, Sally Dowling, SC, said the impacts of colonisation and dispossession, intergenerational trauma and socio-economic disadvantage had continued to contribute to high levels of amphetamine use in Indigenous communities.

Ice use in Nowra is not as bad as out west. But the region has seen the biggest year-on-year growth in arrests for possession and use since 2014, with a 31 per cent increase compared with 6 per cent across the state.

Cheaper than Maccas

Getting high on ice was “cheaper than going for Maccas”, said Nowra’s Aboriginal Medical Corporation’s substance abuse counsellor Warren Field, who runs a weekly men’s group for recovering addicts.

Ice had also become a “rite of passage” for some young people after they had received their first Centrelink payment or wage.

Mr Field said “99 per cent” of ice users had suffered some form of trauma. Nearly all had other mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.

“Everyone says there is nothing [like it] that will numb the pain and take the grief and loss away,” he said. It also makes women lose weight and gives men incredible sexual prowess.

“Most people are vulnerable when they go through a traumatic event and the Aboriginal community has had more than its fair share of that,” he said.

He argues they know what works – culturally appropriate rehabilitation which develops strong role models and a sense of identity. But there had to be more support when people came out of rehabilitation to stop them from relapsing.

The first year of rehabilitation was particularly hard. People in recovery were often depressed and their ability to feel happiness or pleasure without the drug was dulled.

Mr Field said “black fellas” were also unfairly targeted by police who, he argued, should spend more time closing the crack houses that “everyone” knew about.

 

At Oolong House, 21 men – 18 of whom were Indigenous – were getting themselves breakfast while 42-year-old Bobby McLeod jnr played guitar and a mate accompanied him on the didgeridoo.

More than 90 per cent of men in the program had been using ice, very often with other drugs, and increasingly with heroin, Ms Bloxsome said.

“Every addicted person who comes in here has a mental health issue,” she said. And residents addicted to ice were more psychotic than those addicted to other drugs.

Most residential programs are 12 weeks, but Oolong offers 16 weeks, and Ms Bloxsome believes even longer programs would be better. But like services up and down the South Coast, it can’t keep up with demand.

The program offered cognitive behavioural therapy, addressed mental and physical health, and encouraged the men to undertake training that would help them get work. Nearly all the men arrived with hepatitis C and those released from jail were, with few exceptions, addicted to the drug, bupe (buprenorphine).

The most powerful medicine, though, was getting back to culture by doing traditional dance, learning language and going on bush walks. After a lifetime in prison, Mr McLeod  said painting and writing songs about his life had helped his recovery.

When everything else was bad, ice had made him “feel invincible”. But it cost him his family and caused anxiety and depression, which made him feel suicidal.

His old man was a successful singer, his brother had travelled around the world with an Indigenous dance group, but he was the one who “went to jail”, Mr McLeod said.

Raising money for a funeral 

Ms Burnes lives in fear of a phone call telling her that Lucas’ 39-year-old mother is dead.

In anticipation of the inevitable – her nephew died earlier this year from a heart attack caused by his ice addiction – she is raising money for anticipated funeral costs.

Lucas’ mother has had three heart attacks caused by decades of addiction.

Janelle Byrnes is planning a funeral for her ice-addicted daughter. In a Facebook post, her 39-year-old daughter asks others to stop using ice. CREDIT:FACEBOOK

In a Facebook post, her daughter wrote about how her “huge addiction” had caused two heart attacks in two weeks.

“Now I’ve got to plan my funeral just in case I don’t make the next,” she wrote. “That’s not the saddest thing. It is listening to my mum cry and plan it with me. ”

“If U love your family reconsider having that pipe or putting that needle in your arm,” Ms Burnes’ daughter said.

In the meantime, Ms Burnes does everything she can to provide a stable home for Lucas.

She quit her job of 22 years as an Aboriginal education officer to care for her grandson, to ensure he gets to doctors’ appointments and maintain his schooling.

She’s been working with him to maintain his good results in reading and spelling, despite frequent suspensions for getting into fights, so he has a chance of fulfilling his dream of becoming a police officer.

* name changed

With additional reporting by Louise Kennerley.