NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #TopEndFASD18 : “Let’s Make #FASD History” says Top End Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) forum with 6 key messages to be taken into account addressing FASD:

 ” The forum delegates agreed that there was an urgent need for action to prevent FASD in our Top End communities, and across the Northern Territory.

It is essential that our responses do not stigmatise women or Aboriginal people.

It is important that we don’t lay blame, but instead work together, to support our women and young girls.

Everyone is at risk of FASD, so everyone must be informed the harmful effects of drinking while pregnant.

Our men also need to step up and support our mothers, sisters, nieces and partners, to ensure that we give every child the best chance in life.”

A landmark Top End Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) forum* was held in Darwin on 30-31 May 2018

Read over 25 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and FASD articles published over 6 years

“ Territorians want and deserve access to high quality health services,” Ms Fyles said.

Alcohol abuse impacts on individuals, families, businesses and our community in many different ways, including the risk of causing permanent and irreversible damage to a baby if alcohol is consumed during pregnancy.

That’s why reducing alcohol related harm is a key priority of the Territory Labor Government.

Our Government will develop a whole of government framework to prevent FASD with universal and targeted strategies to address FASD “

Minister for Health, Natasha Fyles, today welcomed 180 delegates to the inaugural Top End Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Forum in Darwin see Ministers Press Release Part 2 below

#TopEndFASD18  Bringing together Aboriginal leaders, FASD experts, Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, government representatives, medical professionals, and Non-Government organisations. Approximately 180 delegates representing 37 organisations across the Northern Territory.

FASD is often considered to be a ‘hidden’ disability, because more often than not, the physical characteristics of the individual are not easily recognised. Instead, an individual may present with learning and behavioural difficulties, which may present for a range of disorders.

As a result, FASD is not easily identified and individuals can go undiagnosed and receive inadequate treatment and support.

The forum heard from the NT Minister for Health and the Attorney General Natasha Fyles, NT Children’s Commissioner, Colleen Gwynne, Professor Elizabeth Elliott, Dr James Fitzpatrick, NOFASD and FASD Hub.

The forum also heard from Aboriginal community controlled organisations Danila Dilba, Wurli Wurlinjang, Anyinginyi Health Services, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory and the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency.

Over two days, the forum delegates discussed the impacts of FASD on individuals, families and communities and acknowledged that alcohol misuse and its consequences are an issue for all Territorians, particularly our most vulnerable. Delegates also heard the evidence on how the prevalence of FASD impacts many of our services, including health, education and justice. Delegates learnt that trauma runs deep, and healing and making the right connections is crucial.

The delegates raised the following key messages to be taken into account in addressing FASD:

 1.Prevention and raising awareness

FASD is entirely preventable, much of its impacts are also irreversible. The harms caused by alcohol in our communities are not acceptable and we will all work together to develop prevention and intervention strategies that are culturally appropriate and relevant for our 2

people and communities. It is acknowledged that current and proposed alcohol control measures in the NT are a critical component of prevention.

2. Collaborative Approaches

The forum identified an urgent need for Aboriginal organisations, government agencies, NGOs and local communities to work together to develop policies and programs for women, men, children and communities in the Top End communities and to contribute to the development of an NT FASD Strategy. This needs to be Aboriginal community-led by the health, education, justice and child protection sectors.

 3.Access to FASD resources

It was evident that there is a need for more investment in developing culturally appropriate tools and resources for local Aboriginal communities and key stakeholders working on the frontline and also at the strategic level.

4.Assessment and Treatment services

An identified priority need is for the establishment of multi-disciplinary neuro-developmental assessment and treatment services that are strategically linked with existing service settings, including primary health care, education, child protection and the justice system.

5.Support for children and families

Research is needed to better understand how best to support children and families with FASD and other related issues that also often affect families, such as trauma. We refer to the Fitzroy Valley as a best practice model, as many strong women and leaders in the community worked in partnership with FASD experts and research institutes.

6.Workforce

The skilling and expansion of the workforce needed for prevention, assessment and treatment of FASD, particularly the community based remote Aboriginal workforce, was identified as an important need.

From this forum, we have heard the experiences about the high levels of despair and sense of disempowerment and hurt of our people and these are sad stories. We were also enlightened by the enthusiasm, dedication, passion and hope from local communities, all professions and services, that want to do more and can do more to make FASD History!

*APO NT will be producing a full report on the outcomes of the FASD Forum over the coming weeks.

Generational Change: Putting the spotlight on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

30 May 2018

Minister for Health, Natasha Fyles, today welcomed 180 delegates to the inaugural Top End Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Forum in Darwin.

“Territorians want and deserve access to high quality health services,” Ms Fyles said.

“Alcohol abuse impacts on individuals, families, businesses and our community in many different ways, including the risk of causing permanent and irreversible damage to a baby if alcohol is consumed during pregnancy.

“That’s why reducing alcohol related harm is a key priority of the Territory Labor Government.

“Our Government will develop a whole of government framework to prevent FASD with universal and targeted strategies to address FASD.

“This strategy was supported by recommendations in the recent Riley Review into Alcohol Policy and Legislation Alcohol Report and is now an important part of the Territory Labor Government’s Alcohol Harm Minimisation Action Plan to deliver sweeping alcohol reforms for generational change.”

The NT Department of Health funded the Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT (APONT) to deliver the 2 day forum.

The themes of the Forum are:

  • Increase knowledge and raise awareness about FASD in Top End communities and the impact of alcohol during pregnancy on the developing baby;
  • Understand the impact of FASD on children, youth and their families
  • Identify the challenges, issues and solutions for governments, service providers and other key stakeholders;
  • Identify culturally appropriate resources, tools and protocols
  • Establish a Top End FASD Network.

Minister Fyles said that Forum provides an important consultation opportunity with the health sector and community to feed into the development of the NT’s FASD Strategy, for release later this year.

“Stories will be shared and ideas and actions generated to inform the Strategy, which in turn will help guide communities and Government to work together in partnerships to prevent FASD,” Ms Fyles said.

“The NT FASD Strategy will promote the screening of alcohol use before and during pregnancy; appropriate multi-disciplinary assessment; early intervention, support and case management; and will develop targeted education campaigns for those who are most at risk from alcohol-related harms.

“This work is supported in our Government’s 10-Year Early Childhood Development Plan to lead cultural change in reducing alcohol consumption and harms in the community.

“Our whole of government approach to respond to FASD will be crucial to preventing this completely preventable lifelong and permanent condition.”

 

@NACCHOChair Aboriginal Health Press Release #Apology10 #StolenGeneration Reflections from national Aboriginal community controlled health organisations

The Apology Excerpt  – 13 February, 2008

 ” The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.”

1.1 National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Mr John Singer reflects on the momentous day

2.1 Vic: Ten years ago, VACCHO CEO  Ian Hamm welcomed words he had been waiting a lifetime to hear

2.2 Vic Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative (BADAC) commemorates Apology – Ten Years anniversary

2.3 VIC : VAHS community commemorates the 10th Anniversary of the National Apology of the Stolen Generation 

3.NSW:  AHMRC reflects on progress that has been made since the National Apology was delivered by the Prime Minister in 2008

4. WA : Treasurer and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt, says his father never recovered from being a Stolen Generations child

5. ACT : For a community to make any kind of good, strong progress, the solutions need to come says Harry Williams

6. NT : Danila Dilba ACCHO staff Darwin came out in force to attend the 10th Anniversary of the Apology Day

7. QLD : Apunipima ACCHO : Coen Well Being Centre FNQ hold their annual acknowledgement of Sorry Day/ Apology Day

7.2 QLD Wuchopperen ACCHO Cairns Helping to Close the Gap

8.Tas : A decade on from the national apology to the Stolen Generations, Aboriginal children in Tasmania continue to be removed at unacceptable rates.

Warning Intro Picture above and The ‘Stolen Generations’ Testimonies’ project website

The ‘Stolen Generations’ Testimonies’ project is an initiative to record on film the personal testimonies of Australia’s Stolen Generations Survivors and share them online.

The Stolen Generations’ Testimonies Foundation hopes the online museum will become a national treasure and a unique and sacred keeping place for Stolen Generations’ Survivors’ Testimonies.

By allowing Australians to listen to the Survivors’ stories with open hearts and without judgment, the foundation hopes more people will be engaged in the healing process.

View HERE

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers should exercise caution when viewing this website as it contains images of deceased persons.The people speaking in this website describe being removed from family and community. They regard themselves as belonging to the Stolen Generations.

1.1 National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Mr John Singer reflects on the momentous day.

“2008 was a time that the Government seriously committed to doing better by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into the future, where we committed to Closing the Gap in life expectancy between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.

Today we commemorate this significant milestone whilst reflecting on the work that still needs to be done – the truth that still needs to be told and the work that still needs to happen to Close the Gap,”

We also welcome a commitment to convene a national summit on First Nation’s Children to address the very high rates of Indigenous children in out-of-home care, and prevent the emergence of another generation of children living away from family, community and culture,”

Marking the tenth anniversary of the Apology, the Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Mr John Singer reflected on the momentous day.

Download the full NACCHO Press Release

NACCHO media release apology – 13 Feb 18 – FINAL

Still more needs to be done to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples live strong, proud and healthy lives, ten years after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd issued the Apology to the Stolen Generations and more than 20 years after the Bringing Them Home report.

NACCHO knows that closing the gap depends on putting Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal hands so they can guide dealing with the trauma and pain of the past.

“We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples need to be in charge of their own development, health and wellbeing. And that is why Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) are so important.”

ACCHOs put Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the driving seat of their own health. They consistently demonstrate better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples than mainstream health services, at better value for money.

“Forty years on from the first community controlled service in Redfern, there are still regions where there is low access to health services and elevated levels of disease experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Government needs to fund what is working in improving Aboriginal health and provide funding for new ACCHOs in these regions.

“We could also do better if more funding for disease specific initiatives was provided by Government.

“We need to get serious about Closing the Gap and that means Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their organisations co-designing policies and service delivery,” Mr Singer said.

NACCHO acknowledges the streamlined funding from the Australian Government, signed on 1 July 2017 and mentioned by the Prime Minister in his recent Closing the Gap Statement to Parliament. The new funding arrangement streamlines the provision of our health service support funding so that we can better represent the needs of ACCHOs in our policy development and advice.

The anniversary of the apology is a day to reflect on the past but also to recommit to a brighter future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

2.1 Vic: Ten years ago, VACCHO CEO  Ian Hamm welcomed words he had been waiting a lifetime to hear.

“For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry,” Kevin Rudd, then prime minister, said in parliament.

The apology on 13 February, 2008, referred to a shameful national chapter in which indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families.

Mr Hamm was among them.

As a three-week-old baby in 1964, he was taken from his Aboriginal family by government officers and adopted into a white community.

Tens of thousands of other indigenous children were removed over successive generations until 1970, under policies aimed at assimilation.

Mr Hamm said Mr Rudd’s historic apology helped changed his own sense of identity.

“My country doesn’t argue about me any more – it gave me peace that my story, like so many others, wasn’t a matter of debate,” he told the BBC.

“I remember writing out my feelings the day after the speech and I called it: ‘Today is the day I wake up.'”

An estimated 20,000 members of the Stolen Generations are alive today. Many have described the apology as a watershed moment.

“It was a day I will never, ever forget in my life because we were being acknowledged as a group of people,” Aunty Lorraine Peeters told the Special Broadcasting Service.

Michael Welsh told the Australian Broadcasting Corp: “It’s made a big difference to me in my life, through my life, where I’ve journeyed.”

A woman watches the Australian government’s apology to indigenous peopleImage copyright Getty Images

A landmark 1997 report, titled, Bringing Them Home, estimated that as many as one in three indigenous children were taken and placed in institutions and foster care, where many suffered abuse and neglect.

A government-funded survivors group, the Healing Foundation, said it had a “profoundly destructive” impact on those removed and their families, many of whom had carried lifelong trauma.

‘Keep going’

Indigenous Australians, who comprise about 3% of the population, continue to to experience high levels of disadvantage.

On Monday, the government released an annual report showing that Australia is failing four of seven measures aimed at improving indigenous lives.

Mr Hamm said that much optimism about addressing inequality had not been fulfilled since the apology. However, he urged Australians not to give up.

“It’s easy to give in to despair and say it’s too hard, but for us, remembering a moment like [the apology] is a boost,” he said.

“It’s a breath of air into our lungs to revive you and keep you going.”

2.2 Vic Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative (BADAC) commemorates Apology – Ten Years anniversary

February 13 2018 marks ten years since the Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples.

Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative (BADAC) attended a ceremony this morning to mark the occasion at Child and Family Services (CAFS) in Ballarat.

BADAC CEO Karen Heap acknowledged the deep significance of the day for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the broader Ballarat area.

‘This is such an important occasion. There are many current members of the regional Ballarat Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community who were either members of the Stolen Generations themselves, or have family members who were affected.

‘The broader community may not be aware that many of the Stolen children who were removed from families all around Victoria and even interstate, were brought here to the Ballarat orphanage.

‘These Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have grown up without knowing their families, their culture, their language or where they belong.’

Ms Heap said that BADAC currently runs programs which help to support members of the Stolen Generations.

‘Many have stayed in Ballarat, and brought up their own families here. The Stolen Generations people are here and part of our community.

‘So thank you CAFS for hosting the event this morning, and thank you to everyone who came to commemorate this occasion. It was so heartening to see so many present, and to stand together, both Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people of Ballarat and district.’

2.3 VIC : VAHS community commemorates the 10th Anniversary of the National Apology of the Stolen Generation 

Today we gathered as a community to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the National Apology of the Stolen Generation Event. We had some amazing guest speakers. Thank you to everyone who shared their journeys, it truly showed great strength.

3.NSW:  AHMRC reflects on progress that has been made since the National Apology was delivered by the Prime Minister in 2008.

On the 10th anniversary of the National Apology, we take time to reflect on progress that has been made since the National Apology was delivered by the Prime Minister in 2008.

The National Apology was a public acknowledgement of the pain and suffering caused by the Australian Government with the effort to build new relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians with the aim of addressing social injustice. This had a profound effect on many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as it was the first public commitment to engaging and working together with Australia’s Indigenous communities.

The Apology was a step in the right direction and since then we have seen the Redfern Statement launched during the 2016 Federal Election, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and services came together to call for better resources and real reconciliation. It was an inspiring display of self-determination and strength for these organisations and services to demand for a say on how the Government’s decisions affect their lives.

“We still have work to do. The Government must ensure the social determinants of health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a priority.” said Stephen Blunden, Acting CEO at the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council (AHMRC) of NSW.

In reviewing the Closing the Gap initiative, with only one of the seven national targets being on track, we need to do better. We must do better.

As the former Prime Minister mentioned in the National Apology: “A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.”

If we are to make any real and lasting change, we must accept our history, put aside our differences and come together and really listen to the needs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

4. WA : Treasurer and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt, says his father never recovered from being a Stolen Generations child

West Australian Treasurer and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt, who says his father never recovered from being a Stolen Generations child, has warned that well-meaning policy will fail if indigenous Australians are excluded from its design and implementation.

In a speech to mark the 10th anniversary of Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations, Mr Wyatt said the historic moment in federal parliament was still cause for celebration because it put to bed “that vexed, sometimes cruel, debate about the legitimacy of the Stolen Generations”.

Mr Wyatt — a former army lawyer, graduate of the London School of Economics and cousin of federal Aged Care and Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt — said young indigenous leaders now had opportunities his late father Cedric could only have dreamt of.

“(But) the reality is that when you have policies … designed to remove their identity, designed to disconnect them from family and culture … those impacts will be felt for generations and we are seeing that,” Mr Wyatt said.

He said efforts towards Closing the Gap could not succeed unless Aboriginal people were part of the change.

“Without Aboriginal involvement … we will continue to have the infuriating and frustrating figures that we’ve seen in our jails and children in care,” he said.

Mr Wyatt’s father was born at the Moore River Native Settlement, which gained international notoriety in Phillip Noyce’s 2002 film Rabbit Proof Fence.

“It was a journey that defined him because of what happened to him and his mother, a journey that he was never able to recover from,” Mr Wyatt said yesterday.

“He was a determined guy but he also had a fundamental weakness as a result of that disconnection with his own mother and his own family.”

5. ACT : For a community to make any kind of good, strong progress, the solutions need to come says Harry Williams

Ten years may be a lifetime in politics, but for many indigenous Australians, 2008’s national apology to the stolen generations feels like yesterday.

Harry Williams was just 15 when he stood in the hall of Parliament House in Canberra, and watched then prime minister Kevin Rudd deliver the country’s apology as emotions ran high all around him.

“It was overwhelming”:.

“People were crying, some people were angry – it was overwhelming at the time,” he said.

“I didn’t really understand exactly what was going on, but I did really.”

Now 25, Mr Williams is passionate about educating Australians about indigenous history, and says change in the country’s relationship with its first peoples had to come from within.

“For a community to make any kind of good, strong progress, the solutions need to come

6. NT : Danila Dilba ACCHO staff Darwin came out in force to attend the 10th Anniversary of the Apology Day .

A great day organised by the NT Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation and held at Larrakia Nation.

It was a great turnout to remember a great moment in our history

7. QLD : Apunipima ACCHO : Coen Well Being Centre FNQ hold their annual acknowledgement of Sorry Day/ Apology Day .

The day was held at the centre with other community organisations sharing their acknowledgements of this special event with Elders and community members

7.2 QLD Wuchopperen ACCHO Cairns Helping to Close the Gap

Wuchopperen Health Service Limited Chairperson Donnella Mills said the 2018 Close the Gap statement demonstrates much more needs to be done to achieve health, education and employment parity between Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.

Ms Mills said it was time that the government seriously committed to doing better by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, now and into the future, through real partnerships which are community driven and community led.

‘It is very good news that a range of targets, including child mortality, early childhood education and year 12 attainment are on track. The challenge is that other targets, life expectancy, literacy and numeracy, and employment, remain out of reach,’ Ms Mills said.

‘Wuchopperen echoes the call of our peak body, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, for dedicated disease specific funding to be made available to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation where populations are particularly vulnerable.’

‘In this, the tenth year since the Apology, it is timely to recognise that historical trauma, dispossession, government control and loss of culture, are just some of the social determinants which impact on people’s health, and the ability for people to manage their own health. Wuchopperen recognises the complexity of peoples’ lives and the range of factors which impact health, and provide a comprehensive suite of services to address these.’

‘Wuchopperen is looking forward to being part of the conversation regarding the Close the Gap targets which cease in 2018, and contributing our experience and expertise to formulating new, national goals in real partnership with government

‘These goals must be underpinned by the principles of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander self – determination, freedom to plan our lives; control, a voice and decision making powers over our own affairs; and finding solutions to the issues that affect us.’

Closing the Gap: What Wuchopperen Health Service Limited Is Doing

TARGET: Close the gap in life expectancy within a generation (by 2031)

Wuchopperen’s health team consists of a multi-disciplinary team of health workers, doctors, registered nurses, allied health professionals, counsellors, psychologists, wellbeing workers indigenous liaison officers, and visiting specialists.

TARGET: Halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade (by 2018)

Wuchopperen’s Child Health service provides health education and support to families to make healthy lifestyles choices for their children by keeping immunisations up to date, scheduling appointments for continuity of care health checks, and 100% implementation of care plans for all our patients to ensure they receive the best possible care.

This allows us to:

  • Identify risk factors through the increased uptake of Child Health Checks and develop appropriate intervention strategies in conjunction with parents and/or carers;
  • Reduce the adverse intermediate health outcomes in relation to children with chronic diseases; and
  • Improve and enhance education and awareness of the importance of immunisation to families.

Wuchopperen also provides a dedicated program for mum’s having their first Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander baby. The Australian Nursing Family Partnership Program is available to first-time mothers of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children who are under 26 weeks in their pregnancy. The Program runs from pregnancy until the child is two. The focus is to provide home visiting program to mothers, babies and significant family members to ensure that the child has the best possible start to life.

Staff support:

  • Safe sleeping using PEPI pods;
  • Implementation of the Circle of Security;
  • Parent group meetings; and
  • Support for fathers to become involved in their child’s life.

TARGET: 95 percent of all Indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education (by 2025) – renewed target

TARGET: Close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous school attendance within five years (by 2018)

TARGET: Halve the gap for Indigenous children in reading, writing and numeracy achievements within a decade (by 2018)

Wuchopperen’s Children and Family Centre is an early intervention and prevention program providing a holistic approach to bringing together education, health and family support. The programs are tailored to suit our community to best support our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with children from birth to nine years of age and include:

  • Delivery of play based early childhood activities to nurture developmental pathways and life trajectory of children;
  • Capacity and resiliency support to enable families to support their children and access early childhood education and care; and
  • Delivery of parenting programs and family support services to enable connections and strengthen linkages of families to appropriate support services.

Program in focus

Wuchopperen supports early education in a range of ways including running the HIPPY (Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters) Program, a free, family friendly, two year program which helps children achieve at school.

HIPPY benefits pre-Prep children by:

  • Encouraging a love of learning
  • Maximising their chance of enjoying and doing well at school
  • Promoting language and listening skills and developing concentration
  • Building self-esteem and confidence in learning
  • Improving relationships between parents and children.

TARGET: Halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade (by 2018).

Wuchopperen currently has 68% staff identifying from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent. Only 31% of Wuchopperen roles are Identified, reflecting the fact that many non-Identified positions are being filled by applicants identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Placements

Wuchopperen values its relationship with the community and the opportunity for students to gain experience in the workplace is an element of this commitment.

During the 2016-17 financial year Wuchopperen supported eight students to participate in a work placement in a variety of disciplines, including health workers, and fifth year medical students.

8.Tas : A decade on from the national apology to the Stolen Generations, Aboriginal children in Tasmania continue to be removed at unacceptable rates.

Commenting on the most recent statistics about the removal of Aboriginal children from their families, Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Manager Ms Lisa Coulson said in Launceston today,

“Aboriginal children in Tasmania are over 3 times more likely than other children to be the subject of child protection orders, to be removed from their families, and to be placed in out of home care (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Child Protection Australia 2015-16, Tables 4.4 and 5.2). The 1997 Report of the Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal Children from Their Families, the Bringing Them Home report, made 54 recommendations about how to stop that unacceptable situation.

Many of those recommendations found further support in our own Tasmanian study of child protection issues but Tasmanian authorities have ignored all our efforts to stop the trend of removals.

Minister Jacquie Petrusma most recently has ignored our calls for greater Aboriginal community involvement in child protection decisions, flying in the face of changes made in most other Australian States.”

Ms Coulson said that closing the gap in social outcomes and avoiding a repetition of the stolen generations “must have Aboriginal community decision making at its core, but that is exactly what is still lacking in Tasmania. Consistently with the most recent calls for a “refresh” of the COAG targets to close the gap by ensuring greater Aboriginal decision making in governmental processes, we are calling on the Tasmanian government to restore jurisdiction for child safety to the Aboriginal community.

Having destroyed our community structures and taken our children away, governments need to fund these new processes to ensure both a healthier future for our children and more empowered Aboriginal community structures for the future. We are up to the challenge”.

Lisa Coulson
Northern Regional Manager and Children and Families Spokesperson
Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Saveadate and The #Apology10 :The fact is that most of the social and health problems we see in communities today are linked to Intergenerational Trauma says Richard Weston CEO @HealingOurWay

 ”  The fact is that most of the social and health problems we see in communities today, from family violence and suicide to high rates of incarceration and child protection, can be linked to Intergenerational Trauma

So if we want to create a different future and close the gaps that still exist between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians, we need to stop putting Intergenerational Trauma in the too-hard basket.

The National Apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008 was a landmark event. It was a moment of truth telling which is critical when you’re trying to heal from trauma. But it was a starting point not a solution. The latest progress report on Closing the Gap shows that efforts to address appalling levels of disadvantage have made marginal improvements, in spite of billions of dollars in government funding.

Closing the Gap is complicated, but it’s not impossible. We just need to invest in strategies that have been proven to work and be prepared to invest beyond political cycles and social fads.

We also need to listen to what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities tell us will work.”

Richard Weston, a Meriam man who was born on Gadigal country and grew up on Noongar Boodja and is now on Ngunnawal Country, is this week’s host on the @IndigenousX Twitter account and is tweeting with the #Apology10 hashtag. See Full Croakey article below

Communities across Australia, from Kununurra to Mildura, Casuarina to Logan, the Mornington Peninsula to Cherbourg and Muswellbrook to Adelaide, will come together this month to commemorate todays 10th anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations on 13 February 2008.

See this list of events.

In this anniversary article for Croakey, The Healing Foundation CEO Richard Weston says Australia must understand that the impacts of the Stolen Generations policies, and other brutal acts of colonisation, are not consigned to the past, but “very much part of the here and now”. He says we need a serious commitment to tackle unresolved and intergenerational trauma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

#Apology10 is also hosting a free community concert in Canberra to mark #Apology10, featuring Archie Roach, Shellie Morris, The Preatures, Busby Marou and Electric Fields, hosted by Myf Warhurst and Steven Oliver.

See also this video series marking the National Apology being published by IndigenousX – featuring Uncle Jack Charles, Amnesty Australia’s Roxanne Moore, and Gavan Moor and Chris Dunk.

 Download the 6 Page 2018 Aboriginal / Health  days and events calendar updated 6 February  HERE

NACCHO Aboriginal Health 2018 Save a date Feb 6

National Apology was starting point, not solution: Stolen Generations trauma continues

Anniversaries are a good time for reflection and as we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the National Apology today, I hope we can use the momentum to achieve something we’ve never managed to realise before—a serious commitment to tackle unresolved and Intergenerational Trauma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Ten years on from the Apology, and 20 years on from the tabling of the Bringing Them Home report that recommended that apology in the first place, there are still thousands of our people held back by the impact of trauma. Almost every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family is affected in some way.

To give you an idea of what I mean, more than 12 per cent of the people who gave evidence of abuse to the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sexual Abuse were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. But we’re not just talking about events of the past. A study in Western Australia found that one in five Aboriginal children were living in families now, where between seven to 14 major life stress events had occurred in 12 months.

Most Australians prefer to think about the Stolen Generations—and other brutal episodes in 230 years of colonisation—as a phenomenon of the past. But the impacts are very much part of the here and now.

Trauma affects the way people think and act and overwhelms their ability to cope and engage. If people don’t have the opportunity to heal from trauma, it’s likely that their experiences and negative behaviours will start to impact on others, particularly children who are susceptible to significant developmental damage when they experience trauma at a young age.

This has created a cycle of trauma, where the impact is passed from one generation to the next, creating a snowball effect of cumulative damage. Research backs this up. The Stolen Generations and their children and grandchildren are twice as likely to be arrested by police and a third less likely to be in good health, compared to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are already at a disadvantage.

 

The Healing Foundation is finalising the first full analysis of current needs for the Stolen Generations, particularly as they enter the aged care sector, and to address issues like national reparations. When we talk to members of the Stolen Generations, they tell us over and over again that re-building families through culture and healing is a key priority.

Why? Because a traumatised person can’t benefit from programs around education and training.  Healing strategies must be implemented alongside enablers like employment, education and economic empowerment, otherwise we will keep wasting taxpayer dollars focusing on symptoms alone.

The Healing Foundation has shown that investment in the right programs will create long term change and reduce the burden on public funds.  Over the last eight years we’ve seen reductions in violence, juvenile justice rates and out-of-home care for children where healing programs have been implemented.  For example, our men’s healing programs have led to a 50% reduction in contact with Corrective Services and a drop in family violence, while programs for young people have potentially reduced contact with the protection system by 18.5% and the juvenile justice system by nearly 14%.

To replicate these successes across Australia, we need to scale-up our healing efforts and focus on families and communities, rather than individuals.

Today will be a day of celebration to mark a major step forward in the process of healing and reconciliation.  But it’s also a day when we need to take stock of what’s working and what’s not. Over the past few weeks I’ve been reminded by young people in our communities that the future holds a great deal of hope. Despite the wrongs of the past, many of them are optimistic and motivated to create change. This gives me hope that we will have something more positive to report after the next decade—and a different future, built on a foundation of healing.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Apology10 #ClosingTheGap Refresh : NACCHO and @RACGP and call for recommitment to Indigenous health as life expectancy gap widens PLUS Prof Ian Ring #ClosingtheGap, money myths and widening mortality gap

“To find out we are going backwards when it comes to health equality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is extremely disappointing,”

“It is particularly upsetting to learn of this regress on the 10th Anniversary of the National Day of Apology. I encourage all Australians, not just our political leaders, to reflect upon what we have achieved since then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology, and to consider where we need to be.”

Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Associate Professor Peter O’Mara in a joint media release by the RACGP and NACCHO ” Leading health bodies call for recommitment to Indigenous health as life expectancy gap widens

View full RACGP and NACCHO Press Release

“The Apology is an important part of healing for Indigenous Australians. It acknowledged the significant trauma and grief suffered as a result of past policies, particularly the removal of children from their families.

“However, the Close the Gap strategy has never been fully implemented. There has been a decrease in funding over the past five years to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services; the biggest impact has been to our members and affiliates.

The Close the Gap refresh being considered by the COAG provides an opportunity to reflect upon and reform current policy settings and institutionalised thinking,”

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Chair, John Singer said the National Day of Apology takes on special significance this year as governments attempt to ‘refresh’ the Closing the Gap Strategy.

Download ctg-report-2018

This is a great opportunity for people to share their ideas and opinions”

Andrea Mason, Co-Chair Indigenous Advisory Council and CEO of NPY Women’s Council

Share your views

Submissions close 5pm 31 March 2018

 ” Mortality for the indigenous population has flatlined since 2008 and the inevitable result is that mortality gaps are widening rather than closing.

This is not surprising since the government’s own reports clearly show that preventable admissions for Indigenous people, funded by the States and territories, are three times as high as for the rest of the population yet, use of the main medical and pharmaceutical health schemes, MBS and PBS, funded by the Commonwealth, appears at best to be a half and a third respectively of the needs based requirements for Indigenous people.

It is simply impossible for the mortality gaps to close under these conditions.”

Closing the Gap, money myths and  widening mortality gap . An endorsed media article from NACCHO by Professor Ian Ring . See In Full Part 2 below

Or Download Here Closing the Gap, money myths and widening mortality gaps

Closing the Gap, money myths and  widening mortality gaps

Part 1 Leading health bodies call for recommitment to Indigenous health as life expectancy gap widens

 This is a joint media release by the RACGP and NACCHO

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) are calling for all levels of government to work with, not for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to reduce health disparity, after a recent report found the gap in life expectancy is widening.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report found the gap is widening due to accelerated increases in the non-Indigenous population.

Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Associate Professor Peter O’Mara said the increasing gap in life expectancy shows a disengagement from the national strategies to improve health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

A/Prof O’Mara said governments have committed to ‘working with, not to’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, but this commitment has not translated into meaningful engagement.

“The lack of action in response to The Redfern Statement and Uluru Statement from the Heart reflect this failure,” A/Prof O’Mara said.

“The engagement and participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will decide the success or failure of future policy decisions.”

The Close the Gap refresh being considered by the COAG provides an opportunity to reflect upon and reform current policy settings and institutionalised thinking,” Mr Singer said.

The RACGP and NACCHO are calling on the government to acknowledge the critical role of primary healthcare, particularly the culturally responsive care offered by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, as it considered the Closing the Gap Strategy this year.

“This will play a vital role in addressing health disparity and ensure we finally make progress,” A/Prof O’Mara said.

Closing the Gap, money myths and  widening mortality gaps

Ian Ring AO is an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Research and Innovation Division at the University of Wollongong

Ten years on from the start of Closing the gap, the mortality gaps are widening, and money myths play a role.

The recent Productivity Commission Report found that per capita government spending on Aboriginal services was twice as high as for the rest of the population.

The view that enormous amounts of money have been spent on Indigenous Affairs has led many to conclude a different focus is required and that money is not the answer.

But higher spending on Aboriginal people should hardly be a surprise. We are not surprised, for example, to find that per capita health spending on the elderly is higher than on the healthier young because the elderly have higher levels of illness.

Nor is it a surprise for example, that welfare spending is higher for Indigenous people who lag considerably in education, employment and income and there would be something very wrong with the system if it were otherwise.

The key question in understanding the relativities of expenditure on Indigenous is equity  of total expenditure, both public and private, in relation to need, but the Productivity Commission’s brief is simply to report on public expenditure.

But what of government expenditure on health services? The picture is quite different for State and Territory governments on the one hand which spend on average $2.0 per capita on Indigenous people for every $1 spent on the rest of the population.

By contrast, the Commonwealth spends $1.2 for every $1 spent on the rest of the population, notwithstanding that, the burden of disease and illness for Indigenous Australians is 2.3 times the rate of the rest of the population.

This is massive market failure. The health system serves the needs of the bulk of the population very well but the health system has failed to meet the needs of the Indigenous population.

Mortality for the indigenous population has flatlined since 2008 and the inevitable result is that mortality gaps are widening rather than closing.

This is not surprising since the government’s own reports clearly show that preventable admissions for Indigenous people, funded by the States and territories, are three times as high as for the rest of the population yet, use of the main medical and pharmaceutical health schemes, MBS and PBS, funded by the Commonwealth, appears at best to be a half and a third respectively of the needs based requirements for Indigenous people.

It is simply impossible for the mortality gaps to close under these conditions.

And yet it is within the grasp of the current government to turn things around. It has been shown that the nonviolent death rate for Aboriginal people can be halved in just over three years by systematic application of knowledge we already have.

But it has also been shown that there are no short cuts and these beneficial results require high quality services and these individual examples of success must become the norm.

So, what needs to be done? A key requirement is Commonwealth seed funding for the provision of satellite and outreach Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) that Indigenous people will access, and which provide the comprehensive services needed  to fill the service gaps, boost use of MBS and PBS services to more equitable levels, and reduce preventable admissions and deaths.

Much more attention needs to be paid to the quality of services, with much needed investment in the training of clinicians, managers and public servants for the difficult  and complex roles they have to play.

Additional funding is also required for mental health and social and emotional wellbeing services which were neglected in the Closing the Gap initiatives. On the broader front, culture, racism and social, political and economic issues also cry out for attention.

\It is not that the Commonwealth is deliberately underfunding health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people but there are decades of experience establishing beyond all doubt, that demand driven services designed to meet the needs of the bulk of the population, will not adequately meet the needs of a very small minority of the population with very special needs.

In recognition of that, for over 40 years, the Commonwealth has been funding ACCHSs which evidence shows, better meet those needs, but the coverage
of those services is patchy and needs to be expanded.

A pressing need is to address the shortfall in spending for out of hospital services, for which the Commonwealth is mainly responsible, and which is directly and indirectly responsible for excessive preventable admissions funded by the jurisdictions – and avoidable deaths.

There is little point in having mortality goals which are clearly in jeopardy, when the causes are not hard to define and the remedies clear, if there is insufficient action taken to actually achieve the Goals.

The funds required for such services, together with the others described above, spread over a carefully prepared 5-year plan are likely to be modest, and would make a real and substantial improvement to the health of Indigenous people.

There is no call for some kind of special deal, but simply the same level of expenditure by both Commonwealth and State governments for Australia’s Indigenous peoples that anyone else in the population with equivalent need would receive.

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Children #CloseTheGap #Apology10 Are we creating a new “ #StolenGeneration ” ? In care 2017 17,644 in 2008 9,070

“An estimated 17,664 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were in out-of-home care in 2017, compared with 9,070 a decade ago

The number of Indigenous children removed from their families has risen rapidly since former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s national apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008.

The removal of children from Indigenous communities is skyrocketing and has become a “national disaster

The majority of our children live in loving homes where they’re nurtured, they have to go to school, they have inspirations and aspirations — this should be the goal for all of our children.”

Mr Andrew Jackomos Australia’s first and only Aboriginal children’s commissioner (Just Retired ) said he thought targets to decrease the numbers of Indigenous children going into care were not practical, and could result in some children staying in unsafe homes .See Part 2 Below

The compounding nature of intergenerational trauma continues to see successive generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children impacted by the costs of colonisation. We need to be talking about where that fits into the ( Australia Day Jan 26 ) celebrations we see taking place across the country.”

– Sharron Williams, SNAICC Chairperson see part 3 below

Check out the website for some great resources to download for #Apology10
We have to understand and accept our history in order for us to make the future we want. healingfoundation.org.au/apology10/

Full interview: Wednesday 7 February, 9pm on NITV (Channel 34)

Ten years after he issued a National Apology* to the Stolen Generations and those forcibly removed from their families and communities, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaks to Living Black’s host, Karla Grant.

It was Rudd’s experiences from his childhood and the inspiration of Gough Whitlam that led him to attend young Labor meetings from the age of 15 years old and then to join the Labor party some years later. He became Australia’s 26th head of government on 3 December 2007.

The National Apology was one of the first acts in Parliament Rudd accomplished when he was appointed Prime Minister. On 13 February 2008, he led the Apology for the “profound grief, suffering and loss” caused by passed policies.

“We couldn’t get to the business of closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians until we had the guts from wider Australia to say sorry for the appalling treatment,” Rudd tells Grant.

“It was an elemental response as a human being, knowing how deeply we had wronged this country’s First People.”

Rudd addresses crucial issues facing Indigenous people in the NITV interview, including the Turnbull Government’s rejection of the Referendum Council’s proposal to have an Indigenous voice in Parliament.

“I don’t endorse Turnbull’s reaction at all,” Rudd says. “I know it’s pretty hard to get consensus among Indigenous leaders but when it emerges in the tone in which it was reflected in the document coming out of Uluru, my first response is, you treat that with a lot of respect, and secondly I ask myself, what’s wrong with a representative body if it’s powers are advisory? …

“I certainly don’t have any problems at all with the voice to Parliament. I think where my views have changed, and I’ve reflected this recently, is, I think we are on a trajectory towards a treaty. I don’t know when and I don’t know what, but I think we won’t achieve final reconciliation until that is done.”

Watch Karla Grant’s full Living Black interview on Wednesday 7 February, 9pm on NITV

The full episode will be on available on SBS On Demand

Part 1 #Apology10 Key Messages

  • The National Apology made in Federal Parliament on 13 February 2008 was a landmark event, as the first formal, national recognition of past atrocities and a first step towards restitution.
  • It was a key recommendation from the Bringing Them Home report, which had been tabled in Parliament a decade earlier.
  • It was a significant event for members of the Stolen Generations and their families, the wider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and other Australians.
  • Many Stolen Generations members felt that their pain and suffering was acknowledged and that the nation understood the need to right the wrongs of the past.
  • But the Apology speech was a starting point – not a solution.
  • The Healing Foundation was formed following community consultation after the Apology, to address the ongoing healing needs of the Stolen Generations and their descendants and communities.
  • It has made some critical progress but we need to scale-up the healing response and commit to strategies that have been proven to reduce the impact of unresolved trauma.
  • There’s still a lot of work to be done. A lack of action in the past has compounded the trauma experienced by the Stolen Generations and also the impact of Intergenerational Trauma. It’s also created bigger problems to fix, at a greater expense to the taxpayer.

The ongoing burden

  • Most of the social and health problems we see in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities today can be linked to Intergenerational Trauma. This includes family violence, suicide and high rates of incarceration and out-of-home child protection.
  • On the 10th anniversary of the National Apology, The Healing Foundation is calling for more funding and a long term commitment to address Intergenerational Trauma so that we can:
  • Finally heal the unresolved trauma that has been plaguing communities for decades
  • close the gap on opportunity and create a better future
  • Stop wasting taxpayer dollars on programs and plans that are doomed to fail because they’re near-sighted and not based on the needs of our people
  • The call for a National Intergenerational Trauma Strategy is linked to the Healing Foundation’s Action Plan for Healing which received federal funding this year.
  • As part of that plan, The Healing Foundation is building Australia’s first thorough study of the current needs of the Stolen Generations, which will give us a framework for looking at specific aged care requirements, national reparations and healing-on-a-larger-scale, for individuals, families and communities

Celebrating #Apology10

  • As well as focusing on the work that still needs to be done, the 10th anniversary is a time to keep building awareness about the Stolen Generations period.
  • Acknowledgement and truth telling is an important part of the ongoing healing journey. We need everyone to understand what happened and how it continues to affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people today, so that they can be part of solutions in the future. It’s about healing our past and building our future
  • The Healing Foundation is coordinating a number of commemorative activities including:
  • Community events in schools and public places around Australia
  • A concert on the lawns of Federation Mall, featuring some of Australia’s greatest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander entertainers
  • A community service announcement which will focus national attention in this important milestone
  • Resources to build awareness about the impact of Intergenerational Trauma

 Background

The Stolen Generations story

  • We don’t know how many children were stolen but the Bringing Them Home report estimated at least 1 in 10, and maybe as high as 1 in 3, Aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their families, between the early 1900s and right up until the 1970’s.
  • That means tens of thousands of children were stolen, as part of deliberate assimilation policies adopted by all Australian governments.
  • Many of them were raised in institutions, without any contact with family or culture and many of them suffered abuse and neglect
  • Every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person has been affected by the Stolen Generations in some way.

What is Intergenerational Trauma?

  • If people don’t have the opportunity to heal from trauma it’s likely that their experiences and negative behaviours will start to impact on others, particularly children who are susceptible to significant developmental damage when they experience trauma at a young age.
  • This creates a cycle of trauma, where the impact is passed from one generation to the next, creating a snowball effect of cumulative damage.
  • In the case of the Stolen Generations, parents might also pass on the impacts of institutionalisation finding it difficult to know how to nurture their own children because they were denied the opportunity to be nurtured themselves.
  • Research has shown that people are not just effected by the traumatic events that they directly experience. Witnessing or hearing about trauma for their family or community also has a direct impact.

About The Healing Foundation

  • We partner with communities to address ongoing trauma caused by the disruption and mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the past 200 years. This includes actions like the forced removal of tens of thousands of children from their families which created the Stolen Generations.
  • We fund and support local healing programs that have been designed with local people and work at the individual, family and community level. These programs combine Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and knowledge with best practice in western trauma theory.
  • The Healing Foundation is helping to create a different future by generating new research and resources to establish an evidence-base for healing and best-practice strategies, building capacity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and strengthening the healing workforce through training support.

Part 2 Removing children from Indigenous communities ‘a national disaster’

From The ABC

Andrew Jackomos, who has finished his post in Victoria after five years, said his work had revealed shocking and tragic stories where children in state care had been denied contact with relatives and their culture.

“I think it’s a national disaster around the nation — and I think every state is a national disaster — if you look at the level of over-representation of our children in out-of-home care,” he said.

Mr Jackomos has urged the Turnbull Government to act.

“There should be one in every jurisdiction, including at a national level, which there is not.”

Mr Jackomos said he thought a lack of oversight on government agencies had led to this gross over-representation.

“Yes, people took their eyes off it. Government, and I think some parts of the community, should have done more,” Mr Jackomos said.

“We had many of the right programs and policies in place, but there was a lack of governance.”

Mr Jackomos, a Yorta Yorta and Gunditjmara man, also said he was disappointed by the Prime Minister’s rejection of the Uluru Statement last year.

The statement called for a constitutionally enshrined “voice to parliament”, which could provide advice on issues and legislation affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including on child-protection concerns.

“I think it’s very sad. This was a well-thought-out plan from our leaders from across the nation to take it further, and the sad thing is the current Commonwealth Government is failing to act — for the reasons best known to themselves.”

The number of Aboriginal children placed with relatives and kin, or with Indigenous foster carers, has decreased in the past decade, according to the Productivity Commission.

In Victoria, there is some hope that an Australian-first pilot, advocated by Mr Jackomos, will see more children in foster care returned to their relatives.

The Aboriginal Children in Aboriginal Care program has transferred the case planning and management of dozens of children to a select few Aboriginal organisations.

“Our children will go home quicker, either to immediate family or kin, when they’re in our care,” Mr Jackomos said.

“I’m proud that some kids are going home earlier, I’d love to see all kids [in out-of-home care] go home earlier.

“I’m glad now that we do have a commitment to do it right, but we have a long way to go.” On Dja Dja Warrung country, in central Victoria, the Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative is trialling the program with about a dozen families, chief executive Raylene Harradine said.

Part 3 The impact that colonisation continues to have on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children today : SNAICC

SNAICC acknowledges the impact that colonisation continues to have on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children today. Increasing understanding of the lasting impacts of colonisation amongst all Australians is key to our reconciliation as a nation.

If we, as a nation, are to recognise 26 January as the day that the colonisation of Australia began, then I think it is our responsibility to also recognise the lasting impacts that that colonisation has had.

“The compounding nature of intergenerational trauma continues to see successive generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children impacted by the costs of colonisation. We need to be talking about where that fits into the celebrations we see taking place across the country.”

– Sharron Williams, SNAICC Chairperson

Access to quality early years education is proven to have the greatest impact on a child’s lifelong education and employment outcomes, however, due to many barriers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are only half as likely to access early education as non-Indigenous children.

Nationally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 9.8 times more likely to be living in out-of-home care than non-Indigenous children.

The atrocities that followed that date – massacres, dispossession, fracturing of cultural knowledge – continue to have a profound impact today, including continued disempowerment and disadvantage of our children and families.

“Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people recognise 26 January as a day of mourning, shared with community, and that is as much about the present and future as it is about the past.

“Our goal must be reconciliation, and that cannot be achieved if we do not acknowledge the true history of our country, and furthermore the reluctance to face that truth. We will not see outcomes improve until we witness that change of attitude on a greater scale.

“It’s impossible to heal when we’re still feeling the pain every day.”

– Sharron Williams

 

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth and #Suicide : @RoyalFlyingDoc says mental health services in rural and remote Australia are in a state of “crisis”.

 “We see [more remote] people only accessing mental health services at … 20 per cent the rate of those who access services in the city.

If that’s not a crisis, I don’t know what a crisis is.

We provide 24-hour medical care to people in rural and remote Australia, but our doctors are finding themselves overwhelmed by the amount of psychological support they need to provide to their patients.

Last year the Flying Doctors saw 24,500 people to provide mental health counselling, but we could double or triple that service tomorrow and still not touch the surface,” .

The RFDS chief executive Martin Laverty said major disparities between country and city services still existed, despite numerous government reviews designed to address the problem

WATCH TV COVERAGE HERE

Read over 169 NACCHO Mental Health Articles published over past 6 years

Read over 119 NACCHO Suicide Prevention articles published over past 6 years

Fact 1   

“Roughly half the people the Flying Doctor cares for in our health or dental clinics or transports by air or ground are Indigenous.

“The Flying Doctor RAP, agreed with Reconciliation Australia, contains tailored actions for tangible improvements in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

RFDS Website

Fact 2

Each year, around one in five, or 960,000, remote and rural Australians experience a mental disorder. The prevalence of mental disorders in remote and rural Australia is the same as that in major cities, making mental disorders one of the few illnesses that does not have higher prevalence rates in country Australia compared to city areas.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service says mental health services in rural and remote Australia are in a state of “crisis”.

Originally published ABC TV NEWS

Key points:

  • There are no registered psychologists in 15 of Australia’s rural and remote areas
  • “There should be no excuse in a country of universal access to healthcare,” RFDS CEO says
  • Mental health advocates are calling for a bigger financial commitment from the Government in this year’s budget

Data from the Department of Health showed the number of registered psychologists across the country increased in 2015/16. But there were no registered psychologists in 15 rural and remote areas.

Mr Laverty said areas like west coast Tasmania, central Australia, western Queensland and the Kimberley in Western Australia missed out.

“Areas where perhaps you’re not surprised to see that there aren’t health professionals in abundance,” he said.

“That should be no excuse in a country of universal access to healthcare.”

Mental Health Australia chief executive Frank Quinlan said doctors were not always the best people to provide mental health support.

“It is not necessarily the best way for us to be spending our resources — to have GPs with 10 years or more of training — delivering basic brief interventions and counselling interventions that could be delivered by other professionals and trained peer workers,” he said.

Suicide rates in rural areas are 40 per cent higher than in major cities, and in remote areas, the rate is almost double.

Mental health advocates call for greater commitment

The Coalition allocated $80 million for psychosocial support services in last year’s federal budget.

The program would help people suffering from severe mental illness — who are not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) — find housing, education and better care.

But the Government will not release the money unless states and territories stump up funds too, and Mr Quinlan said that was yet to happen.

“That’s in spite of the fact that we know that with the roll-out of the NDIS and the roll-back of previous Commonwealth programs, people are already starting to fall into the gaps,” he said.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has acknowledged more assistance is needed for people in the bush.

“I do believe there is a very significant challenge and this is because there are four million Australians every year who have some form of mental health challenge and in the rural areas this is a significant challenge which is precisely why we are looking at additional services,” he said.

The Federal Government recently announced more than $100 million for the youth mental health service Headspace.

It is also spending $9 million improving tele-health services in rural areas.

But mental health advocates are calling for a bigger commitment to such initiatives in this year’s federal budget.

“The Minister — Greg Hunt — was relatively new to the ministry when the 2017 budget was released,” Mr Quinlan said.

“So I think the sector quite broadly and quite rightly, now, 12 months on, will be looking to the 2018 budget to see whether the Government is actually able to prioritise a lot of the concerns and issues that have been addressed.”

Federal Labor response ( added comment )

The Turnbull Government must break its silence over growing concerns about the quality of mental health services being delivered across Australia.

The Royal Flying Doctors Service is the latest organisation to raise the alarm about mental health service issues in rural and remote Australia. These comments today should be a wake-up call for Malcolm Turnbull.

It is vitally important the Turnbull Government gets this right. The mental health gap between the city and country is already too wide.

Today’s comments follow the Australian Medical Association’s position statement on mental health last week on the ‘gross’ underfunding of mental health services.

The Turnbull Government must prioritise greater funding for mental health services in the lead-up to the Budget.

Labor knows there is more work to be done to improve the mental health of all Australians and find ways to further reduce the thousands of lives lost to suicide each year.

It is only by working together that we will be able to finally reduce the impact of mental health issues in our society .

Mental health services need more than lip-service from Malcolm Turnbull and his Government.

For Help Contact your Nearest ACCHO

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Saveadate 13 February The 10th Anniversary of the National #Apology10 : Plus Download 2018 Calendar #Indigenous Days #Health days and events calendar HERE

This anniversary is a great opportunity for all Australians to come together and acknowledge a significant milestone in our history,”

“The National Apology made in Federal Parliament on 13 February 2008 was a landmark event, as the first formal, national recognition of past atrocities and a first step towards national truth telling and reparation.

“It was a significant event for members of the Stolen Generations and their families, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and other Australians.  It really was a time to feel proud about being Australian.”

Healing Foundation CEO Richard Weston.

National Apology concert celebrates resilience and healing see full press release Part 2 below

Some of Australia’s most popular Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists will share the stage to send a message of unity and healing at a concert to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations.

The concert, which will be a free public event, will take place on February 13, 2018, at Federation Mall (Lawns of Parliament House), hosted by the Healing Foundation.

Part 1 NACCHO Weekly Member Service Aboriginal Health

2018 # Save A Date as at 23 January 2018

Aboriginal Conferences, Events, Workshops, Health Awareness Days

For many years ACCHO organisations have said they wished they had a list of the many Indigenous “ Days “ and Aboriginal health or awareness days/weeks/events.

With thanks to our friends at ZockMelon here they both are!

It even has a handy list of the hashtags for the event.

Download the 50 Page 2018 Health days and events calendar HERE

2018-Health-Days-and-Events-Calendar-by-Zockmelon

Download the 6 Page 2018 Aboriginal / Health  days and events calendar HERE or view below  

NACCHO Save a date date as at 23 Jan 2018

We hope that this document helps you with your planning for the year ahead.

Events have been selected on their basis of relevance to the broad Aboriginal health promotion and public health community in Australia.

Every Tuesday we will update these listings with new events and What’s on for the week ahead

To submit your events or update our info

Contact: Colin Cowell www.nacchocommunique.com

NACCHO Social Media Editor Tel 0401 331 251

Email : nacchonews@naccho.org.au

Part 2 National Apology concert celebrates resilience and healing

‘Words are not enough’ – musicians celebrate the Apology while calling for renewed commitment to healing

 ” Busby Marou will take to the stage next month in Canberra for #Apology10 – a concert to mark the 10 year anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations.

The Rockhampton duo are keen to celebrate the significance of the Apology and its impact for Stolen Generations members, while also highlighting concerns around increasing levels of disadvantage for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders Including the impact on young people.”

The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation established in 2009 to address the ongoing trauma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities caused by past actions like the Stolen Generations.

By building culturally strong, community designed and delivered pathways to healing, it is creating real change in the social, spiritual and emotional wellbeing of survivors and their families.

On February 13, The Foundation will lead a range of commemorative activities for all Australians to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and inspire healing informed and trauma aware national action.

The concert will be hosted by Aboriginal comedian Steven Oliver and TV and radio presenter Myf Warhurst. It will feature live performances from Archie Roach, Shellie Morris, The Preatures, Busby Marou and Electric Fields.

Entitled ‘Apology10 – Heal Our Past, Build Our Future’, the concert will shed light on the continued strength and resilience of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

This anniversary is a great opportunity for all Australians to come together and acknowledge a significant milestone in our history,” said Healing Foundation CEO Richard Weston.

“The National Apology made in Federal Parliament on 13 February 2008 was a landmark event, as the first formal, national recognition of past atrocities and a first step towards national truth telling and reparation.

“It was a significant event for members of the Stolen Generations and their families, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and other Australians.  It really was a time to feel proud about being Australian.”

By coming along to the concert, Australians can continue to acknowledge what happened to the Stolen Generations and therefore support their ongoing healing.

They can also celebrate the strong spirit and strong culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people today, including our musicians who have been taking the world by storm in recent years.

Aboriginal music icon Archie Roach, whose well known song, ‘Took The Children Away’, speaks to the very heart of Stolen Generation’s trauma and healing.

Members of the Stolen Generations, from around Australia, will be there for the celebrations and I hope Canberrans, and anyone from interstate who wants to make the journey, will come along and show their support and solidarity for building a different future.”

“The National Apology means a great deal to me. It means that the Government of the day recognised the great injustice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by the forced removal of children from families. It means they are sorry and ashamed that such practices took place.”

“I am still grateful for the National Apology but we need to address the high number of our children still in out of home care,” said Archie. “The 10th anniversary will bring attention to the fact there is much more work to be done, and that all Australians can work together to heal the past.”

“In particular, we need to people to understand the impact and reach of Intergenerational Trauma and its link to social and health issues in in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including suicides family violence, substance abuse, incarceration rates and the high number of children entering the protection system”, said Mr Weston.

“The Healing Foundation is partnering with communities to design and deliver successful healing initiatives, which have had significant impact but we need to scale this work up”.

Event Details:

Federation Mall, Canberra (the lawns in front of Parliament House)

Tuesday 13th February 2018 / 6pm – 10pm

Facebook: facebook.com/healingfoundation
Twitter: @HealingOurWay

Website: www.healingfoundation.org.au

DATE EVENT #
January
26/1/2018 Invasion/Survival Day

#InvasionDay

#SurvivalDay

#AustraliaDay

February
11/2 – 17/2/2018 National Sexual Health Week #NationalSexualHealthWeek
12/2-18/2/2018 Smart Eating Week #SmartEatingWeek
13/2/2018 Apology Day

More info

#StolenGensHeroes
20/02/2018 World Day of Social Justice #socialjusticeday
25/2-3/3/2018 Hearing Awareness Week #HearingAwarenessWeek
March
All March Australian Women’s History Month
3/3/2018 World Hearing Day
4/3-10/3 2018 Kidney Health Week #KidneyHealthWeek
8/03/2018 2018 Indigenous Ear Health Workshop Perth WA

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8/03/2018 International Women’s Day #InternationalWomensDay #BeingBornaGirl
8/03/2018 World Kidney Day #WorldKidneyDay                       #move4kidneys
15 -16 /3/2018 Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 – Striving Together Conference

MORE INFO Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 – Striving Together Conference

16/3/2018 Close the gap Day #Closethegapday
16/3/2018 National Day of Action

Against bullying

#BullyingNoWay
18/3-25/3/2018 Cultural Diversity Week
19/3-25/3/2018 A taste of harmony #TasteofHarmony
20/03/2018 World Oral Health Day #WOHD2018
21/3/2018 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination #jointogether

#standup4human rights #fightracism

31/3/2018

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April
31/3-9/4 2018 National Youth Week #NationalYouthWeek
2/4/2018 World Autism Awareness Day #WorldAutismAwarenessDay #LightitUpBlue

#LIUB

7/4/2018 World Health Day
11/4/2018

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23/4-29/42018 World Immunisation Week
25/4/2018 World Malaria Day #EndMalaria
May
6/5-12/5/2018 Heart Week #HeartWeek
7/5/2018 National Domestic Violence Remembrance Day
12/5/2018 International Nurses day #IND2017
13/05-19/5/2018 Food Allergy Awareness Week #FoodallergyWeek
15/5- 21/5/2018 National Families Week #FamiliesWeek
18/5/2018 HIV Vaccine Awareness Day #HVDA2018
21/5-28/5/2018 National Palliative Care Week #npcw18

#dying to talk

26/05/2018 National Sorry Day #NationalSorryDay
26/05-2/6/2018 National Reconciliation Week #NRW2018
31/05/2018 World No Tobacco Day #WorldNoTobaccoDay
June
3/6/2018 National Cancer Survivors Day
3/6/2018 Mabo Day #MaboDay
5/6/2018 World Environment Day #WorldEnvironmentDay
11/6-17/6/2018 Men’s Health Week #MENHEALTHWEEK
16/6/2018 Fresh Veggies Day #FreshVeggiesDay
28-29 June National Conference on Indigenous Incarceration

More INFO mailto:mperkinsnsw@gmail.com

30/6/2018 Red Nose Day #RedNoseDay OZ
July
7/7/2018 AIME National Hoodie Day #AIMEHoodieDay
8/7-14/7/2018 National Diabetes Week #NationalDiabetesWeek #NDW2018

#NDW18

8/7-15/7/2018 Naidoc Week #NAIDOC 2018
27/7/2018 White Ribbon Night #whiteRibbonNight
28/7/2018 World Hepatitis Day #WorldHepatitisDay

#Showyourface

August
4/8-11/8/2018 Dental Health Week #DentalhealthWeek
9/82018 International Day for the Worlds Indigenous Peoples #weareIndigenous
14 to

16/08/2018

 

 

More info Close the Gap Hearing

24/8/2018 Daffodil Day #DaffodilDay
SEPTEMBER Prostate cancer Awareness Month
1/9- 7/9/2018 Asthma Week #NationalAsthmaWeek
3/9-7/9/2018 Women’s Health Week #WomensHealthWeek
3/9-9/9/2018 National Stroke Week #StrokeWeek

#fightstroke

6/9/2018 Indigenous Literacy Day #IndigenousliteracyDay
9/9/2018 FASD Awareness Day #FASDAwarenessDay
10/09/2018 World Suicide Prevention Day #WSPD
13/9/2018 RU OK ? DAY #RUOK ?

 

29/9/2018 World Heart Day #WorldHeartDay
October
ALL OCTOBER Breast Cancer Awareness Month #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth
10/10/2018 World Mental health Day #WorldMentalHealthDay
11/10/2018 WORLD Sight Day #WorldSightDay
11/10/2018 World Obesity Day #WorldObesityDay
14/10-20/10/2018 National Nutrition Week #NNW2018
14/10-20/10/2018 Anti-Poverty Week

More info

15/10 National Carers Week #Carers2018
20/10-28/10/2018 Children’s Week
November
14/11/2018 World Diabetes Day #WorldDiabetesDay

#WDD2018

25/11/2018 White Ribbon Day #WhiteRibbonDay

#BreakingtheSilence

25/11/2018 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women #orangetheworld
December
1/12/2018 World AIDS Day #WorldAIDSDay

#WAD2018

#GettingtoZero

 

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth #Suicide : #DefyingTheEnemyWithin Powerful new book extract from @joewilliams_tew out 22 January – a promising career derailed by booze, drugs and mental health problems.

That afternoon, a guy I’d never seen before, who was partying with the group, approached me and asked if I needed anything to help me stay awake. That was the day I had my very first ecstasy tablet. Boom. I was instantaneously hooked.

Now I had a drinking and drug problem. But I didn’t for one second think I might have a mental-health problem.

I thought that someone who was mentally unwell was “weird” or not stable in society. I even believed that mentally ill people were criminals.

How wrong I turned out to be. “

This is an edited extract from Defying The Enemy Within by Joe Williams, published by ABC Books, in stores Monday

See 3 Pages from book below Part 2

Win a copy of the book by sending an email to media@naccho.org.au

Telling Joe in 50 words or less why you would like to read his book : Entries Close Wednesday 24 January : Winner Announced Thursday 25 January NACCHO Deadly Good News Post

‘Joe Williams has been into the darkest forest and brought back a story to shine a light for us all. He’s a leader for today and tomorrow.’Stan Grant

‘In telling his powerful story, Joe Williams is helping to dismantle the stigma associated with mental illness. His courage and resilience have inspired many, and this book will only add to the great work he’s doing.’Dr Timothy Sharp, The Happiness Institute

‘It is through his struggles that Joe Williams has found direction and purpose. Now Joe gives himself to others who walk the path he has.‘ – Linda Burney MP

Former NRL player, world boxing title holder and proud Wiradjuri First Nations man Joe Williams was always plagued by negative dialogue in his head, and the pressures of elite sport took their toll.

Joe eventually turned to drugs and alcohol to silence the dialogue, before attempting to take his own life in 2012. In the aftermath, determined to rebuild , Joe took up professional boxing and got clean.

Defying the Enemy Within is both Joe’s story and the steps he took to get well. Williams tells of his struggles with mental illness, later diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder, and the constant dialogue in his head telling him he worthless and should die. In addition to sharing his experiences, Joe shares his wellness plan – the ordinary steps that helped him achieve the extraordinary.

Joe Williams was guest speaker at NACCHO Conference Canberra : See full text from the Enemy Within  .

 

View Joe Williams Presentation from NACCHO Conference 2018

Read over 169 NACCHO Mental Health Articles published over past 6 years

Read over 119 NACCHO Suicide Prevention articles published over past 6 years

MOVING to Sydney to chase my dream in the NRL was a fantastic opportunity; spending my first two years in the big city under Arthur Beetson’s roof gave me a lifetime of memories and an experience I am truly grateful for.

But those years also provided me with some of the biggest and toughest life lessons I’ve learned.

During the 2002 pre-season, I got my first taste of mixing with the squad as a full-time player. I was expected to train with the team either on the field or in the weights room two or three times a day, five days a week.

It was essential to get to training on time but one day I was running late for a mid-morning session because I’d had to stay at Marcellin (College) a bit later than usual for school photos.

I raced to training, knowing I’d get in trouble from coach Ricky Stuart for being late. Sure enough, being the tough coach he was, Ricky started ripping into me.

When I told him I was late because I had my school photos, he and all the players burst out laughing. For the next few weeks, it became the running joke as an excuse for being late.

I learned so much during that off-season and impressed the coaching staff enough to be chosen in the top squad for the trial period.

Having just turned 18, it was amazing to play in two trial first grade NRL games at halfback inside Brad “Freddy” Fittler, one of the greatest five-eighths of all.

I didn’t make my NRL debut that year because the coaching staff wanted me to gain more experience playing in the Roosters’ under-20s Jersey Flegg side.

Looking back, although I felt like I was ready, I definitely needed the time and experience under my belt to become a more complete player and the sort of on-field leader a halfback needs to be

At the time, though, it was disappointing to go from playing with the first grade team one week to training with guys who were pretty much hoping to get a spot so they’d be contracted.

It was after I was put back to the under-20s that I first noticed the negative voices in my mind rearing their ugly head, telling me I didn’t deserve to be in Sydney given I wasn’t playing first grade and that I should just pack up and head back to the bush (Wagga) because I was worthless.

Back then, there wasn’t as much emphasis on the psychology of professional athletes and the pressures that came with playing elite sport.

There were days when training staff were almost like army drill sergeants. Sometimes they screamed at players and humiliated and even degraded players in front of other members of the team.

Occasionally, they would even bring the racial identity of a player into the abuse. It may be that they believed this was the way to make the players mentally stronger and that, if you weren’t mentally strong, you should just give up playing rugby league.

For me and many others, that approach of ridicule, embarrassment and tough love didn’t work.

In fact, it had the opposite impact of sending my self-esteem lower and lower.

But the negative thoughts were a different story altogether. They’d often spiral out of control, to the point where I felt like I was witnessing an argument taking place between two separate people; the negative Joe and positive Joe.

The head noise and voices affected my mental well-being so severely that it started to affect me physically.

Things grew worse, as the voices wreaked havoc on my ability to think. I started second-guessing every decision I made both on and off the field. The voices became so vivid and loud in my head, it was like I was hearing actual voices.

After a while, I became so anxious and down that I’d get to the point where I’d convinced myself I was worthless, a failure.

Even on the days I didn’t put a foot wrong on the footy field or won player of the match, I’d convince myself I would be dropped from the squad because of the negatives in my game.

I would be scared to go to training because I dreaded the coach saying I wouldn’t be in the team the following week.

The only way I knew how to combat these constant thoughts, turn down the voices and deaden the pain I felt, was to drink as much alcohol as I could.

Despite the negative voices and drinking, I managed to stay on track with my footy, even captaining the under-20s Roosters team. They were a great bunch of guys and good players and we ended up having a fantastic season and making it through to the Grand Final.

On the day of the Grand Final I kicked three goals, had two try assists and kicked the winning field goal. After our first grade team also won their grand final, we had one hell of a party that went on for a few days.

During the 2003 season, I was really battling emotionally, suffering from homesickness and looking for comfort at the bottom of a bottle. Instead of concentrating on playing well, I was busy worrying about what drinking and late-night partying the crew had planned after the game.

It all began to take its toll physically and mentally. At the same time, I found I was clashing with some of the coaching staff. I became desperate for a change. As a result, I decided to move to South Sydney Rabbitohs.

When I called my mother to tell her I’d signed with the Rabbitohs, she burst into tears of joy. Mum had been an avid Souths fan since she was a young girl and had dreamed that one day she’d get to see me run out in the famous red-and-green South Sydney colours.

I’d signed with Souths to show I was still keen to be an NRL player but the money wasn’t great so the pre-season was tough. As a result, I had to make a living like many league players did, working long hours labouring on a construction site. Afterwards, I’d go to football training then get some sleep and do it all over again.

To make matters worse, I broke my thumb in the opening trial game and had to have surgery on it, causing me to miss the first six weeks of the season.

I was no longer drinking so much or partying hard as I didn’t have much money. After a few weeks of putting a huge effort into training and committing myself both physically and mentally, I was picked in the reserve grade team. I began to play myself into form, stringing a few good games together and it was noticed by the coaching staff.

It wasn’t long before I was picked in the first grade team to make my NRL debut. Finally, the time had come to live out my childhood dream.

I didn’t sleep a wink the night before my first grade debut. On the way to Shark Park, I seemed to take every wrong turn and was late for the warm-up. To my surprise and happiness, though, the coach had organised for my dad to present me with my playing jersey.

I’d dreamed of this moment for most of my life and the fact I was playing for the mighty South Sydney Rabbitohs made things even sweeter.

People sometimes ask me what it was like playing my first NRL game. The funny thing is, I copped a knock to the head that gave me a mild concussion for the rest of the match.

I do remember that we lost but one thing that stood out for me was that my idol, close friend and mentor Dave Peachey was playing in his 200th NRL game. After the siren and when we were shaking hands, “The Peach” said to me: “Young brother, as my career is nearing its end, yours is just starting. Good luck”.

Joe Williams tells his story.

I had spent my entire life chasing the dream of becoming an NRL player. I now had the monkey off my back and it was time to get to work and live up to my potential.

Unfortunately, wins were few and far between for Souths in 2004.

My alcohol abuse was becoming rampant again, now I was earning more, and playing first grade had sent my ego to an all-time high, especially after I was named Rookie of the Year in 2004.

Things got even worse when I discovered party drugs during the 2004-2005 off-season. I enjoyed being the life of the party, laughing and joking, the centre of attention.

On Mad Monday, I celebrated by drinking so much alcohol I couldn’t stand up. That afternoon, a guy I’d never seen before, who was partying with the group, approached me and asked if I needed anything to help me stay awake. That was the day I had my very first ecstasy tablet. Boom. I was instantaneously hooked.

Now I had a drinking and drug problem. But I didn’t for one second think I might have a mental-health problem.

I thought that someone who was mentally unwell was “weird” or not stable in society. I even believed that mentally ill people were criminals.

How wrong I turned out to be.

NEED Help ? Contact your nearest ACCHO and see a Doctor or Mental Health Professional OR

 

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)

Support Contact your nearest ACCHO or

 

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.