NACCHO Aboriginal Healthy Ageing News : The @georgeinstitute is looking to partner with ACCHO services in NSW, WA and SA to deliver a healthy ageing research project, called the #Ironbark project

The George Institute for Global Health is looking to work with Aboriginal communities on a healthy ageing research project, called the Ironbark project.

They are ready to partner with ACCHO services in NSW and SA to deliver either the Ironbark: Standing Strong and Tall program (weekly exercise group and yarning circle), and the Ironbark: Healthy Community program (a weekly social program).

Services are funded and trained to deliver one of the programs for 12 months with groups of Aboriginal men and women 45 years and older.” 

What is the study about?

The Ironbark Study is comparing two different programs aimed at improving health and wellbeing of older Aboriginal people. Both involve an ongoing program delivered weekly by a local person, in a community setting. The Ironbark: Standing Strong program is a weekly exercise and discussion program, and the Ironbark: Healthy Community program is a weekly program that involves discussions and social activities.

Who is conducting the research?

The study is being conducted by researchers from The George Institute for Global Health, The University of NSW, The University of Sydney, Flinders University, Wollongong University and Curtin University.

What does the study involve?

Services participating in the study are randomly assigned to either receiving the Ironbark: Standing Strong program or the Ironbark: Healthy Community program. Both programs aim to improve the health and wellbeing of older Aboriginal people.

At the end of the trial, sites that delivered the Ironbark: Healthy Community program will have the opportunity to deliver the Ironbark: Standing Strong program for a further 6 months, including all resources and equipment needed.

Being a site in the study involves recruiting 10 – 15 eligible Aboriginal people aged 45 years or older to participate in a weekly facilitated meetings at a culturally appropriate and accessible venue.

Participants

Participants must be: of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent; aged 45 years or older; living independently; prepared to attend the program weekly.

People cannot participate if: they have not gone outside without physical assistance from another person in the past month; they have been diagnosed with dementia; they have a medical condition precluding exercise (e.g., unstable cardiac disease).

People who do not fit the criteria, including non-Aboriginal family and community, will be able to attend classes but data collected will not be included in the trial.

What data will be collected?

A health assessment will be conducted with all participants by the study research assistants. This includes an interview where they will be asked about health and wellbeing, including questions about medication, sleep, physical activity and diet. Participants will also be asked to do some simple tests to measure their health, including strength and balance, and waist circumference. The interview and tests will take around one hour to complete.

Participants will be asked a few questions each week about their health, sleep, falls and physical activity.

These will take only 1-2 minutes to complete.

Every three months they will be asked some questions about their health, lifestyle and enjoyment of the program, and asked to complete some simple tests to measure strength and balance. These tests and questions will take about 30 minutes to complete.

At the end of the program participants will repeat the health assessment. This will include an interview where they will also be asked about quality of life and physical activity.

Ironbark: Standing Strong program

Sites allocated the Standing Strong program will be supported to deliver a weekly class that runs for around 1.5 hours – about 30 – 45 minutes is exercises, and 30 – 45 minutes will be a yarning circle facilitated by a trained worker. The program will run for the whole year, with additional weekly home exercise recommended.

Participants will be required to provide a form from their doctor indicating they are physically fit enough to do the class.

Ironbark: Healthy Community program

Sites allocated the Healthy Community program will be supported to deliver weekly yarning circles. The yarning circles will include discussions and activities that are important to community wellbeing and possibly social activities. Guest speakers may attend the program on request of the group.

How will the study benefit Aboriginal communities?

Being involved in the study will benefit participants directly by creating additional opportunities for them to meet with family and community, discuss topics important to older Aboriginal people, and have their experiences included in the findings.

The study will also contribute to employment opportunities for local Aboriginal people to participate as site managers and/or program facilitators.

It is also expected that the findings of the study will build on the evidence base around appropriate wellbeing programs for older Aboriginal people, and inform national policy development in this area.

What is needed from participating services?

We plan to recruit 60 Aboriginal community or health services in NSW, Western Australia and South Australia into the Ironbark Trial.

We are ready to work with services in NSW and SA : Services need to;

  • Be well established within their local Aboriginal community, and have existing relationships
  • Be able to offer programs or services specifically for older Aboriginal people, and can recruit 10 – 15 eligible participants. Groups should not already be doing a regular exercise

Ironbark – overview

  • Have existing Aboriginal staff working at the service who are willing to oversee program delivery on a weekly basis over the duration of the trial
  • Utilise a culturally appropriate venue that is accessible to participants
  • Be willing to actively participate in both the program delivery and research components of this

How will our service be supported to participate in the study?

The Study team will provide sites:

  • Funding to employ locally based staff on a casual basis
  • Weekly stipend to cover cost of morning/afternoon tea for group meetings
  • Ironbark: Standing Strong program sites will receive training and ongoing support on delivering the program, the Ironbark: Standing Strong and Tall Manual and handouts, all equipment needed to deliver the exercise program
  • Ironbark: Healthy Community program sites will receive training and ongoing support to deliver the program, resources to facilitate discussions and organise activities.
  • At the end of the trial, sites that delivered the Ironbark: Healthy Community program will have the opportunity to deliver the Ironbark: Standing Strong program, including all resources and equipment needed
  • All sites will receive site specific data from the study, as well as information about the results of the research

What will happen to the results?

All participating sites will receive copies of the findings of the study, in a format that is accessible to staff and community. Sites will also receive site specific information about the findings.

To inform program and policy development, we will also be disseminating the findings through peer review publications, reports to the funding body, presentations and reports to policy makers and to key stakeholders such as peak Aboriginal health and other organisations.

The findings will be presented in a non-identifying way, to maintain confidentiality of sites and individuals involved. Only the site managers will have access to non identifying information on participants, for emergency purposes and for accurate data collection.

Consent

Participation in this study is entirely voluntary – sites and services can stop at any time. All participants (sites and individuals), will be required to sign a consent form, prior to participation.

Contact check out their website:

www.ironbarkproject.org.au

The project is a collaboration between The George Institute for Global Health, University of NSW, Flinders University, University of Wollongong, Curtin University and University of Sydney.

NACCHO Aboriginal #SexualHealth @atsihaw Resources and Events : Plus Dawn Casey ” NACCHO recognises the importance of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander #HIVAwarenessWeek #WorldAIDSDay2019 “


“Exposure to STIs differs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Our women are diagnosed with HIV, STIs and BBVs at a greater rate than other Australian women and are facing infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous preterm birth or still-birth.

NACCHO believes this requires greater recognition and commitment from all levels of government to work collaboratively across portfolios and mainstream organisations.

A good example is the current partnership between the Commonwealth Department of Health and NACCHO to address the syphilis outbreak, which has been extraordinary!

It highlights innovation in science and the great work done on the ground by Aboriginal health workers.

There is no better way to provide healthcare than through the 145 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs), who deliver holistic, culturally safe, comprehensive primary healthcare across Australia, including those living in very remote areas

Studies have shown that ACCHOs are 23% better at attracting and retaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients than mainstream providers. 

If funded adequately ACCHOs are the solution to addressing the increasing rates of STIs, BBVs and HIV/AIDS.”

Dr Dawn Casey, Deputy CEO of NACCHO who spoke at the 2019 parliamentary World AIDS Day breakfast this week. See continued NACCHO Press Release Part 1 and speech notes part 2 Below 

“ATSIHAW has grown bigger, with 132 ATSIHAW events to be held by 73 organisations across Australia this year – mostly in ACCHOs. ACCHOs have embraced ATSIHAW wholeheartedly and this has been key to ATSIHAW’s success.

Community engagement has been pivotal to the improvements in Australia’s HIV response and it’s time to focus on getting HIV rates down in our communities.”

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) Head, Aboriginal Health Equity—Sexual Health and Wellbeing, A/Prof James Ward

Download the 30 Page PDF Report 

2019-SAHMRI-ATSIHAW-booklet

ATSIHAW 2019 dates are November 28 to December 5

View the ATSIHAW 2019 registered events on Facebook or below by state.

NSW | QLD | SA | VIC | WA | ACT | NT | TAS

See Web Page

Part 1 NACCHO Press Release continued 

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) recognises the importance of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week (ATSIHAW) and the 2019 World AIDs Day to draw attention to the increasing impact of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

In Australia, it has been recorded that the cases of new HIV diagnoses amongst Australians represent a decline of 23% in the last five years.

However, the HIV notification rates within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in 2018 was more than twice the rate for the Australian-born non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Source: Kirby Institute

Australia is perceived on the global stage as a world leader in HIV prevention and treatment.

But considering the high prevalence of this issue in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, NACCHO understands there is still some way to go.

Part 2 Dawn Casey Speaking Notes

World AIDS Day Parliamentary Breakfast – 27 November 2019

Traditional Owners of this land, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri People. I like to acknowledge other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the room.

I would like to thank AFAO for inviting me here to speak this morning.

I would like to acknowledge the Hon Greg Hunt, Minister for Health, the Hon Chris Bowen, Shadow Minister for Health and all the Members of Parliament present here. It is just fabulous to see a bipartisan approach taken to this issue.

Exposure to STIs, HIV and BBVs differs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Research tells us that it is more likely attributed to heterosexual sex and injection drug use coming into our communities. And we know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are diagnosed with HIV, STIs and BBVs at a greater rate than other Australian women.

This is extremely concerning as the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women living in remote communities are facing infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous preterm birth or still-birth.

Let me remind you that there is no better way to provide healthcare than through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs). They have been around here for many years and are established and operated by local communities, through locally elected Boards of Management, to deliver holistic and culturally safe and comprehensive primary healthcare.

They punch above their weight, with 145 services nationally providing about three million episodes of care each year for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia, including those living in very remote areas.

ACCHOs provide culturally safe, comprehensive primary health care consistent with our people’s needs, this includes: home and site visits; provision of medical, public health and health promotion services; allied health, nursing services; assistance with making appointments and transport coordination; help to access child care or to deal with the justice system and drug and alcohol services.

Our people trust us with their health. Studies have shown that ACCHOs are 23% better at attracting and retaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients than mainstream providers.

If funded adequately ACCHOs are the solutions to addressing the increasing rates of STIs, BBVs and HIV/AIDS. The current partnership between the Department of Health to address the syphilis outbreak has been extraordinary! It highlights innovation in science and the great work done on the ground by Aboriginal health workers.

I would like to leave with one message:

It is only with everyone working together that we will be able to help minimise the impact of STIs, BBVs and HIV/AIDS in the community. Mainstream organisations need to do their part and collaborate and work collectively with us.

Nationally, there is a high-quality network of Aboriginal controlled service providers that get results – understand them, connect with them and identify mutually beneficial areas to work together

Picture above Tim Wilson MP and his quote : At Parliament today, we gathered to remember & honour those lost to HIV/AIDS, redouble our efforts to stop new transmissions and stigma + mark tomorrow’s start of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week.

Find out more here: atsihiv.org.au

Part 3 Health Minister Greg Hunt Press Release 

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year. It raises awareness across the world and in the community about HIV and AIDS.

It is a day for people to show their support for people living with HIV and to remember and honour those who we have lost.

In the 2019–20 Budget, the Morrison Government invested $45.4 million to implement Australia’s five National Blood-Borne Viruses (BBV) and Sexually Transmissible Infections (STI) Strategies.

These strategies will make a deep and profound difference in reducing the health impacts and stigma of BBV and STI, including HIV.

Today, I am pleased to announce that our Government will provide additional, ongoing support for people with HIV and other BBV and STI’s by extending funding to six national peak organisations, providing almost $3 million for 2020-21.

In addition, from 1 December 2019, Australians living with HIV will save more than $8,500 a year with the listing of a new combination medicine on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

It is estimated that 850 Australians with HIV will benefit from the listing of Dovato® (dolutegravir with lamivudine) on the PBS, which will provide more choice for them in how they can manage their HIV.

Effective once daily treatments such as Dovato and other new medicines can control the virus so that people living with HIV can enjoy long, healthy and productive lives.

With the PBS subsidy, people living with HIV will pay just $40.30 per script, or $6.50 with a concession card for Dovato®.

Australia continues to be a world leader in the response to HIV. The number of new HIV diagnoses today is at its lowest in nearly 20 years.

Our success is built on a model of partnership between government, people living with HIV, community based organisations, health professionals and researchers.

We are seeing more people tested for HIV and initiating treatment for HIV. There are also more people living with a suppressed viral load. In addition, improved access to HIV prevention methods, including the PBS-listed pre exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), helps reduce the number of new HIV diagnoses.

We are also looking to address stigma and discrimination.

The Eighth National HIV Strategy 2018-22, guides our partnership approach over the next four years to virtual elimination of HIV transmission by 2022.

We aim to be one of the first countries in the world to eliminate new HIV transmissions.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Workforce News : Indigenous GP Jacinta Power and @jcu medicine graduate is a “  powerful “ force for @TAIHS__ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled health

“I really love women’s health.  I get to see the pregnant women, the new babies and then the child.

There’s a spiritual connection there.  Whatever specialty I chose, it was always going to be something that would help my people, it’s definitely my area”

For Indigenous GP Jacinta Power she loves seeing women through their pregnancies, the birth of their babies and watching their children grow

Download full profile

Jacinta Power A4 Profile

The former JCU medical student Fellowed as a General Practitioner through JCU General Practice Training last year and is working with the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service (TAIHS).

Her goal, to use her skills to better the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Working in the Aboriginal medical service has allowed her to do just that.  A decision validated by a chance meeting with an Aboriginal Elder who helped set up Australia’s first Aboriginal Medical Service in Sydney’s Redfern.

“She came into TAIHS and she just broke down crying to see how far we had come.  From the early days when she was trying to set up the first service to being at TAIHS and to be seen by an Indigenous doctor was amazing.

“To her, that was the goal.  To get to the stage where we could be looking after our own mob.  That was a really special moment.”

Growing up on a farm in rural north Queensland Dr Power always wanted to work in health.  A desire driven by the loss of her brother to cancer as a child.

But as a shy teenager, she lacked the confidence to aim for medicine.  It wasn’t until she read the story of the inspirational African American neurosurgeon, Ben Carson that she felt she too could try for medicine.

Yet she still doubted her own ability.

“I honestly thought I couldn’t do it.  I graduated from a high school in a small rural town.  I think I was the first to go into medicine.”

Despite her misgivings, Dr Power secured a place in the JCU medicine degree, attracted to the program for its focus on rural, remote and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

“I loved the fact that right from second year you went out into rural towns and learnt from doctors in those areas.  They’re very inspiring, their level of enthusiasm and knowledge is amazing.  It takes a lot to be a doctor in a rural town.  It’s really inspiring for students to learn in those settings.”

Dr Power believes the rural training gives students an edge going into their intern year.

“You learn a lot of skills in rural placements.  You certainly go into that year knowing you have a good set of skills.”

Having completed her GP training in rural and regional north Queensland, Dr Power is now giving back as a Cultural Mentor for current registrars.

“Having a cultural mentor gives registrars a support person.  If you come from a completely different cultural background you might not know certain practices and you might not understand why a patient acts in a particular way.  If they have a person they can ask and debrief with, it provides a more positive experience.”

“Each community is very different and having a cultural mentor in each of those places is definitely necessary.  It creates more support for registrars.”

While Dr Power is enjoying her general practice work, long term she’d like to focus on preventative health, which she sees as key to tackling chronic disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“I chose general practice because you are working in the community. I’d like to take it that step further and get involved outside the clinic as well.  To work on the root causes of the problems and so much of that is good nutrition.”

Eventually she’d like that to include a return to her farming roots and community food production, providing both employment and the foundations of good health.

But for now, she delights in her general practice.  In the mums she helps, the children she treats and the new lives she gets to meet.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Women’s Health Resources : #stopitatthestart #respectstartswithus 25 November : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are encouraged to join national efforts to help break the cycle of violence against women

We might say things that are harmful to our partners and children, sometimes we say things without even realising the danger it causes.

Most of us, at some time, have heard adults say things to boys like, ‘stop acting like a girl’, or they excuse disrespectful behaviour by saying things to girls such as, ‘it’s just boys being boys’.

I know I have been guilty of this in the past. “

Kuku-Yalanji and Gumbaynggirr man, father and cultural mentor Jeremy Donovan 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are encouraged to join national efforts to help break the cycle of violence against women, coinciding with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November.

Culturally appropriate resources have been developed to support communities to talk with young people about respect as part of the Stop it At the Start campaign.

Violence against women and their children is a serious issue in Australia.

One in four women has experienced violence from a current or former partner, boyfriend, girlfriend or date.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, the statistics are even more concerning.

One-third of Indigenous women has experienced physical violence from a partner, twice the level recorded among non-Indigenous women. In addition, Indigenous women in remote and regional areas experience rates of family violence up to 45 times higher and sexual assault 16 to 25 times higher than other women [1].

All members of the community have a role to play as role models for teaching children about respect. Parents, family members, teachers, coaches, employers and community leaders can help break the cycle of violence by reflecting on their own attitudes and talking with young people about respectful relationships and gender equality.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander role models and Stop it at the Start campaign supporters Jeremy Donovan, Lani Brennan and Leila Gurruwiwi have reflected on their own stories and experiences of disrespect to highlight the importance of having these conversations with young people.

Indigenous Support Worker, TV Host and role model Leila Gurruwiwi agrees that people should stop to reflect on the impact of their words.

When I hear people say, ‘he just did it because he likes you’, I think, ‘if he loved and respects you, he wouldn’t hurt you – whether that’s emotionally, physically, spiritually,” says Leila.

Lani Brennan, Nyawaygi woman and domestic violence survivor, says the campaign is important for the community and shaping behaviours built on respect.

The Stop it at the Start campaign is targeting the disrespectful attitudes and behaviours that parents and other role models teach our young people, often without realising it. I think this message is so important, because what we say to our kids and show them by our own actions, shapes their attitudes and beliefs,” Lani says.

The Stop it at the Start campaign is an initiative under the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022.

Visit respect.gov.au for more information and to download free resources.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au

#stopitatthestart
#respectstartswithus

NACCHO Aboriginal Prisoner Health #ClosingThe Gap #HaveYourSayCTG : What are the barriers preventing community-controlled health organisations providing care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prison ?

“Findings showed that while most participant ACCHOs had delivered services to people in the community upon release from prison, opportunities to deliver primary health care services to individuals in prisons were very limited.

Two key barriers to implementing holistic and culturally appropriate health care in prisons were lack of access to prisoners due to security protocols and prison staff attitudes, and lack of a sustainable funding model.

A reliable funding model underpinned by consistent access to prisoners and access to certain Medicare items could resolve this conundrum, as has been previously proposed.23

To this end, we encourage the Commonwealth of Australia to engage in appropriate discussions to resolve this matter.

Additionally, custodial and prison health providers need to engage in meaningful discussions with ACCHOs to address prisoner access issues. “

Download the Research Paper Here or READ Online

Barriers prevent ACCHOs from getting care to prisoners

Read all the Aboriginal health and Just Justice articles by NACCHO

How likely are you to go to jail? As an Aboriginal adult you are 16 times more likely to be incarcerated. Juveniles in Western Australia are 52 times more likely to be imprisoned than their white peers [15

Closing the Gap / Have your say about the prison system see Part 3 below

Deadline extended to Friday, 8 November 2019.

Part 1 PHAA Press Release

New research has revealed that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) face barriers to deliver to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners what they do best – holistic primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Researchers interviewed nineteen staff from four ACCHOs close to prisons across three Australian jurisdictions.

They found that while most ACCHOs deliver post release programs, their capacity to deliver health care to prisoners is limited by security protocols that restrict access to prisoners and funding constraints.

The study results are published today in the Public Health Association of Australia’s journal, the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

ACCHOs are universally acknowledged as organisations that are run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, delivering holistic primary health care that’s local and community owned.

The authors make several recommendations including reliable funding for ACCHOs and better and consistent access to prisoners.

State governments are encouraged to address prison access issues while the Federal Government is urged to consider changing the rules that prevent ACCHOs from using Medicare to fund work undertaken in the prison setting.

The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is poorer than that of other Australians. They are over-represented in Australian jails. Due to the unique cultural, social and historical factors, specific solutions to address health issues are required.

Part 2 Selected extracts

The offender population is one of the most stigmatised and socially excluded groups in society. Epidemiological studies of prisoners consistently find high levels of physical ill health, psychiatric illness and communicable diseases, and engagement in health risk behaviours such as smoking, alcohol consumption, illicit drug use and violence.12

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (hereon ‘Indigenous’) offenders, disadvantage is further compounded by poor social determinants of health.

Since colonisation more than 230 years ago, Indigenous Australians have lower levels of political representation, educational attainment and income when compared to the general Australian population, as well as higher rates of social exclusion, unemployment, trauma and ill‐health, and shorter life expectancy.3 Indigenous Australians frequently experience racism and low levels of access in mainstream health services and the legal system.45 These issues underscore the importance of community controlled primary health care for Indigenous offenders that is contextually relevant, holistic and culturally safe.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) provide culturally appropriate, autonomous primary health care services that are initiated, planned and governed by local Aboriginal Australian communities through an elected board of directors.6

ACCHOs are represented nationally by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (NACCHO), which engages directly with policy makers and funding bodies, links ACCHOs to facilitate health service delivery and research, advises on research, and provides leadership on service delivery principles such as community control.

Community control is vital for culturally appropriate and acceptable health care services in Indigenous communities and enacts articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ensuring self‐reliance, self‐determination, appropriate and acceptable health care.6

Since the establishment of the first ACCHO in inner Sydney in 1971, the network of ACCHOs has grown to 143 across Australia, providing more than three million episodes of care each year for approximately 350,000 people.7

Primary health care services provided by ACCHOs embody the Aboriginal definition of health, which is not just about an individual’s physical wellbeing but also the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the community, and takes a whole‐of‐life perspective that incorporates a cyclical concept of life–death–life.8

ACCHOs provide comprehensive primary health care that includes health education, health promotion, social and emotional wellbeing support and a range of other community development initiatives.9

Limited access to primary health care services for Indigenous peoples is a major barrier to addressing the overall aim of the Australian Government’s ‘Closing the Gap’ framework.10 Data show that, compared to mainstream services, ACCHOs are frequently accessed by Indigenous people.11

A 9% growth in Indigenous community members accessing their local ACCHO was observed between 2012–13 and 2014–15, with a 23% increase in the total number of episodes of care during this time.7 In a study comparing outcomes and indicators between ACCHOs and mainstream services, ACCHOs performed better in terms of best practice care, monitoring clinical performance, increasing engagement of Indigenous community members, and better leadership in training non‐Indigenous staff in Indigenous health matters.12

Barriers to accessing mainstream services extend also to Indigenous Australians in the criminal justice system. In Australia, Indigenous people comprise 28% of the prisoner population, but only 2% of the general population.13 Australian state and territory legislation states that prisoners must be able to access health care when they require it, and that they have the right to the same level of care as in the wider community14 – a right referred to in the international context as the ‘equivalence of care’ principle.15

Incarceration causes a person to be separated from their community.17 A recommendation (168) by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) requires that a person be incarcerated as close to their home community as possible.16 Incarceration can also disrupt continuity of holistic health care provided by an ACCHO,17 if that ACCHO has no means of accessing the prisoner.

Other custodial health and safety recommendations made by the RCIADIC state that Corrective Services departments should review the provision of health services to Indigenous prisoners including the level of involvement of ACCHOs (Recommendation 152c) and the exchange of relevant health information between prison medical staff and ACCHOs (Recommendation 152e).16

Australia’s National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC) asserts that improvements in health services for Indigenous prisoners and juvenile detainees may assist in reducing the overall prisoner numbers.18 Areas noted for improvement included health screening on reception, increasing uptake of recommended treatments, and enhancing prisoner throughcare by facilitating access of Indigenous health and other services to Indigenous prisoners.18

NIDAC highlighted that “the provision of a ‘one health service fits all’ model, as in the case for many corrections systems, creates a disjointed and unsuitable approach” for addressing health needs of Indigenous prisoners.18

In response, NIDAC recommended several strategies for involving ACCHOs to improve the health care of prisoners and their ongoing care post‐release.18 However, there is a dearth of literature on external health care provision to Australia’s prisoners from which to plan coordinated actions and resource allocation. Only a small number of reports are available on health care provided by community‐based organisations in prisons.1920

Health care varies greatly in Australia’s state‐ and territory‐based prisons, with government Departments of Health providing health care services to some through agencies such as the Justice and Forensic Mental Health Network in New South Wales (NSW), and Departments of Justice or contracted private companies providing services to others.21

There is no nationally coordinated approach or body whose role it is to monitor prisoners’ health care needs, and no national strategy for assessing or meeting the specific health needs of Indigenous prisoners.22 Australia’s publicly funded universal health care system – the Medicare Benefits Scheme and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, collectively known as Medicare – is suspended for prisoners during incarceration.

This is because other state‐ and territory‐level government departments become responsible for providing health care to prisoners.23 However, this arrangement has been identified as problematic, with concerns that it reduces resources or opportunities for providing comprehensive health care to prisoners that is equivalent to that available in the community.23

This project was designed by a team of Aboriginal and non‐Aboriginal researchers working at the nexus of the justice and health systems, and with specialisations in Indigenous health research, epidemiology, qualitative research and health services research and evaluation. Three of the team members identified as Indigenous Australians.

The primary aim of the research was to explore prisoner health services and programs provided by a selection of ACCHOs, including the challenges and enablers of delivering these, and implications for further research.

Part 3 Closing the Gap / Have your say about the prison system

Deadline extended to Friday, 8 November 2019.

 

The engagements are now in full swing across Australia and this is generating more interest than we had anticipated in our survey on Closing the Gap.

The Coalition of Peaks has had requests from a number of organisations across Australia seeking, some Coalition of Peak members and some governments for more time to promote and complete the survey.

We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to have their say on what should be included in a new agreement on Closing the Gap so it is agreed to extend the deadline for the survey to Friday, 8 November 2019.

This will help build further understanding and support for the new agreement and will not impact our timeframes for negotiating with government as we were advised at the most recent Partnership Working Group meeting that COAG will not meet until early 2020.

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

https://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/coalition-of-peaks/have-your-say/

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Conferences and Events #Saveadate : Today 29 Oct @strokefdn #WorldStrokeDay Plus Closing dates #PuggyHunter Scholarship #ClosingtheGap #HaveYourSayCTG survey and @UniversitySA Healthy New Born Projects survey

This weeks feature 

29 October World Stroke Day

Next month 

4 November Applications close for the Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme 

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

8 November  Survey Closes  : Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

14 December Rural/Remote clinicians required for antenatal ultrasound-needs analysis survey

29 October World Stroke Day

 “On World Stroke Day we are urging all the mob to take steps to reduce their stroke risk

 Australian National University research, found around one-third to a half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their 40s, 50s and 60s were at high risk of future heart attack or stroke. It also found risk increased substantially with age and starts earlier than previously thought, with high levels of risk were occurring in people younger than 35.

The good news is more than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

As a first step, I encourage all the mob to visit to visit one of our 302 ACCHO clinics , their local GP or community health centre for a health check, or take advantage of a free digital health check at your local pharmacy to learn more about your stroke risk factors.” 

Colin Cowell NACCHO Social Media editor and himself a stroke survivor 4 years ago today

Read over 110 Aboriginal health and stroke articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years 

 The current guidelines recommend that a stroke risk screening be provided for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people over 35 years of age. However there is an argument to introduce that screening at a younger age.

Education is required to assist all Australians to understand what a stroke is, how to reduce the risk of stroke and the importance be fast acting at the first sign of stroke.”

Dr Mark Wenitong, Public Health Medical Advisor at Apunipima Cape York Health Council (Apunipima), says that strokes can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle and Health screening, 

Picture Above Naomi Wenitong  pictured above with her father Dr Mark Wenitong Public Health Officer at  Apunipima Cape York Health Council  in Cairns:

Share the stroke rap with your family and friends on social media and celebrate World Stroke Week in your community.

Listen to the new rap song HERE  

The song, written by Cairns speech pathologist Rukmani Rusch and performed by leading Indigenous artist Naomi Wenitong, was created to boost low levels of stroke awareness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said the rap packed a punch, delivering an important message, in a fun and accessible way.

“The Stroke Rap has a powerful message we all need to hear,’’ Ms McGowan said.

“Too many Australians continue to lose their lives to stroke each year when most strokes can be prevented.

“Music is a powerful tool for change and we hope that people will listen to the song, remember and act on its stroke awareness and prevention message – it could save their life.”

Ms McGowan said the song’s message was particularly important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who were over represented in stroke statistics.

The Australian National Stroke Foundation promotes the FAST tool as a quick way for anyone to identify a possible stroke. FAST consists of the following simple steps:

Face – has their mouth has dropped on one side?

Arm – can they lift both arms?

Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time – is critical. Call an ambulance.

But the good news is more than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

4 November Applications close for the Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme !

This scholarship provides financial assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are intending to enrol or are currently enrolled in an eligible health-related course at an Australian educational institution.

Eligible health areas include:

•             Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners

•             Allied health (excluding pharmacy)

•             Dentistry/oral health (excluding dental assistants)

•             Direct entry midwifery

•             Medicine

•             Nursing

Examples of eligible study areas.

This scholarship is for entry level or graduate entry level courses only. Funding is not available for postgraduate study. Scholarships are valued up to $15,000 per year for the normal duration of the course. Further information, including eligibility and selection criteria can be found our website.

Applications close Monday 4 November 2019

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

Monday 4th November 2019 NACCHO Youth Conference 

The central focus of the NACCHO Youth Conference Healthy youth, healthy future is on building resilience.

Download the AGENDA 

For thousands of years our Ancestors have shown great resolve thriving on this vast continent. Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who make up 54% of our population, now look to the example set by generations past and present to navigate ever-changing and complex social and health issues.

Healthy youth, healthy future provides us with opportunities to explore and discuss issues of importance to us, our families and communities, and to take further steps toward becoming tomorrow’s leaders. We hope to see you there!

Registrations are now closed for the 2019 NACCHO Youth Conference, which will be held November 4th in Darwin at the Darwin Convention Centre.

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

Tuesday 5th & Wednesday 6th November 2019 Members Conference now closed 

7th November 2019 NACCHO AGM

This year, NACCHO’s Members’ Conference focuses on the theme –

Because of them we must: improving health outcomes for our people aged 0-29 years.

Download the AGENDA Here

We have chosen this focus because we know that investing in the health and wellbeing of our babies, children and young people can help prevent ill health, disease and disability. Strong investment in this age group will help them to thrive, help them build strong and healthy families and communities, and help to positively influence their future health outcomes and life expectancy measures.

Because of them we must provides an opportunity to place our future generations at the forefront of our discussions, to hear about the innovative work that is happening in our community controlled and other sectors, to exchange ideas and share our knowledge.

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

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

7 November

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

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

8 November  Survey Closes  : Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

https://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/coalition-of-peaks/have-your-say/

The Coalition of Peaks are leading face to face meetings with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations on Closing the Gap during the month of October.

The meetings provide an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in each state and territory to tell the Coalition of Peaks and governments what changes are needed to improve their lives

October Engagement Meetings:

 

South Australia

2 October – Adelaide Closed

15 October – Ceduna Closed

18 October – Port Augusta Cllosed

23 October – Mount Gambier

 

Tasmania

11 October – Launceston Closed

 

Western Australia

14 October – Broome Closed

17 October – Geraldton Closed

21 October – Kalgoorlie Closed

23 October – Port Headland Closed

28 October – Perth Closed

30 October – Narrogin Closed

 

Australian Capital Territory

17 October – Canberra Closed

28 October – Canberra

 

Victoria15 October – Melbourne Closed

16 October – Bendigo Closed

17 October – Morwell Closed

 

New South Wales

21 October – Sydney Closed

 

Northern Territory

4 October – Katherine Closed

11 October – Yirrkala Closed

30 October – Darwin

 

National

23 and 24 October – Canberra Closed

 

VIC Update

There were three meetings held across Victoria, details are below.

Website RSVP 

NSW Update 

The NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations (CAPO) of which NSW Aboriginal Land Council is a member, are leading the Closing the Gap engagements across the state.

28 consultations will be taking place during the month of October and early November. The consultations are an opportunity for communities to have their say on Closing the Gap.

The 2019 Closing the Gap consultation will see a new way of doing business, with a focus on community consultations. NSW is embarking on the largest number of membership consultations, more than any other state or territory, with an emphasis on hearing your views about what is needed to make the lives of Aboriginal people better.

Your voices will formulate the NSW submission to the new National Agreement. By talking to Aboriginal people, communities and organisations, CAPO can form a consensus on priority areas from NSW when finalising the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap with governments.

The discussion booklet: ‘A new way of doing business’ provides background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be discussed at the consultations.

The consultations are being supported by the NSW Government.

Come along and join in the conversation. The dates and locations are:

Route 5
Broken Hill Tuesday 29th Oct
Wilcannia Wednesday 30th Oct
Menindee Thursday 31st Oct
Dareton Friday 1st Nov

Route 6
Lismore Monday 28th Oct
Coffs Harbour Tuesday 29th Oct
Kempsey Wednesday 30th Oct

Route 7
Redfern Monday 4th Nov
Mount Druitt Tuesday 5th Nov
Bathurst Thursday 7th Nov

Route 8
Moree Tuesday 5th Nov
Walgett Wednesday 6th Nov

To register your attendance at Routes 1 and 2, please do so via Eventbrite:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/nsw-coalition-of-aboriginal-peak-organisations-16575398239.

Consultations will run from 11am – 3pm with lunch provided.

If you are unable to make the consultations, you can still have your say through an online survey.

For more information on the Closing the Gap consultations: https://www.aecg.nsw.edu.au/close-the-gap/

Each jurisdiction has structured the events differently, some opting for fewer large events and some opting for a larger number of smaller events.

For more information on The Coalition of Peaks, The Joint Council,

The Partnership Agreement and to sign up for our mailing list, go to: https://www.naccho.org.au/ programmes/coalition-of-peaks/

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media coverage from AJP 

More info from Jean Hailes Website 

Download 35 Page Survey Results

2019_Womens_Health_Survey_Full_Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NACCHO Aboriginal Women’s Health  : October is #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth Our Feature Story @VACCHO_org BreastScreen Victoria’s hot pink breast screening vans Plus Download Resources from @CancerAustralia

 ” October, Australia’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, provides an opportunity for us all to focus on breast cancer and its impact on those affected by the disease in our community.

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among Australian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). Survival rates continue to improve in Australia with 89 out of every 100 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer now surviving five or more years beyond diagnosis.

Take the time this month to find out what you need to know about breast awareness and share this important information with your family, friends and colleagues.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and is the second leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer. Research shows that survival is lower in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women diagnosed with breast cancer than in the general population.

Cancer Australia is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to provide women with important information about breast cancer awareness, early detection as well as breast cancer treatment and care.

Looking after your breasts – Find breast cancer early and survive see Part 2 Below

See BCNA story Part 4 Below

BreastScreen Victoria and the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) are saying goodbye to the days of sterile, cold mammograms under fluorescent flickering lights and saying hello to mammograms in hot pink vans, with beautifully created cultural shawls and lots of love and giggles.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the organisations have introduced a program which enables Aboriginal women living in regional and remote areas of Victoria to access safe, free and comforting breast screening facilities.

 “ The idea for the program was born from conversations between BreastScreen Victoria CEO, Vicki Pridmore and VACCHO Manager of Public Health and Research, Susan Forrester.

Ms Forrester said that most women shy away from breast screening due to the safety aspect.

“Why we use the word safe is because there are lots of layers around health and some of the themes that were emerging were that women may have felt a bit uncomfortable being screened for multiple reasons and at times, the staff they had contact with across the health system, although [they] may have been very well meaning, lacked cultural awareness.”

See full story Part 3 below

Picture opening graphic  : Almost all the DWECH BreastScreen Team. Rose Hollis DWECH Community Worker, Allira Maes DWECH Aboriginal Health Worker, Joanne Ronald BSV Radiographer, Lisa Joyce BSV Health Promotion Officer

Part 1 Cancer Australia is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to reduce the impact of cancer on Indigenous Australians

About 3 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are diagnosed with cancer every day. Indigenous Australians have a slightly lower rate of cancer diagnosis but are almost 30 per cent more likely to die from cancer than non-Indigenous Australians1.

Cancer Australia is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to reduce the impact of cancer on Indigenous Australians.

Our work includes:

  • raising awareness of risk factors and promoting awareness and early detection for the community
  • developing evidence-based information and resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by cancer and health professionals
  • providing evidence-based cancer information and training resources to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers
  • increasing understanding of best-practice health care and support, and
  • supporting research.

We have a range of resources which provide information to support you and the work you do:

Breast Cancer: a handbook for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers

This handbook has been written to help health professionals support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with breast cancer. Increasing the understanding of breast cancer may help to encourage earlier investigation of symptoms, and contribute to the quality of life of people living with breast cancer.

This handbook has been written for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers, Health Practitioners and Aboriginal Liaison Officers involved in the care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with breast cancer in community and clinical settings.

Download HERE

Part 2 BE BREAST AWARE

Finding breast cancer early provides the best chance of surviving the disease. Remember you don’t need to be an expert or use a special technique to check your breasts.

Changes to look for include:

  • new lump or lumpiness, especially if it’s only in one breast
  • change in the size or shape of your breast
  • change to the nipple, such as crustingulcerredness or inversion
  • nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
  • change in the skin of your breast such as redness or dimpling
  • an unusual pain that doesn’t go away.

Most changes aren’t due to breast cancer but it’s important to see your doctor without delay if you notice any of these changes.

My breast cancer journey: a guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their families

Cancer Australia has developed a new resource My breast cancer journey: a guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their families which outlines the clinical management of the early breast cancer journey to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with breast cancer and their families.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Part 3 BreastScreen Victoria and the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) are saying goodbye to the days of sterile, cold mammograms under fluorescent flickering lights

Read full story from NIT 

The program was trialled, a screen-friendly shawl was designed using artwork by Lyn Briggs, and the shawls were gifted to each woman who was screened.

The trial was a result of a team of around 15 women who screened 14 First Nations women. The feedback received was exactly what BreastScreen Victoria’s Senior Health Promotion’s Officer, Lisa Joyce had hoped for.

“The feedback included things like, I feel safe, protected by culture, cultural safety blanket, made me proud of who I am and visible, the shawl was a screen from feeling shame and it was beautiful, easy to wear and makes you feel comfortable and safe,” Ms Joyce said.

BreastScreen Victoria and VACCHO have partnered with eight Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) who will receive visits from Nina and Marjorie – BreastScreen Victoria’s hot pink breast screening vans.

The vans will work with ACCHOs to provide Aboriginal women with free mammograms, which assist in the identification of breast cancer in its early stages. The program is aimed particularly at women between 50 and 74, who are at higher risk of breast cancer.

Picture above :Rose Hollis who is a DWECH Community Worker had her breast screen and then spent the rest of her day driving Community members to their screenings.

The program will also gift a shawl to 50 women from each centre – which will be printed with a design of their country.

Amber Neilley, VACCHO’s State-wide Health Services Program Officer said artworks have been created by artists both established and emerging.

“Each shawl has been designed by a local artist, we are taking the shawls with the designs back to country,” Ms Neilley said.

Ms Joyce said that bringing the vans onto ACCHO sites offers leadership to those centres.

“We are playing into self-determination in that way as the organisation is in control of who screens and what happens in their community in that time,” Ms Joyce said.

“Many of the sites we are going to … have permanent breast screening facilities in the town but we know that Aboriginal women aren’t attending those clinics so we are trying to increase that by bringing it to a familiar place.”

“Taking the van and using the shawls is the first step in improving Aboriginal women’s experiences when they come to breast screens. I think unfamiliarity, lack of trust and potential fear is why we don’t have that contact with many women.”

Research shows that once a woman has screened for breast cancer, she is more likely to regularly screen – a hope the team have for the women in these communities.

“We hope that when the project leaves town the shawl will be in the permanent screening space and people will become involved,” Ms Forrester said.

“We want to be able to say here is a strength-based, culturally-led model that can go national, and international. The CEO of BreastScreen has just been at the World Indigenous Cancer Conference in Canada and presented this on our behalf and she has had a world of interest.”

Dates and locations for BreastScreen Victoria’s screening vans include:

  • 30/9 – 4/10 at Dhauwurd-Wurrung Elderly and Community Health Service (DWECH)
  • 7/10 – 10/10 at Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation
  • 14/10 – 18/10 at Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative
  • 21/10 – 24/10 at Kirrae Health Service
  • 28/10 – 1/11 at Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative
  • 11/11 – 15/11 at Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative
  • 18/11 to 22/11 at Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation.

For more information, visit: https://www.breastscreen.org.au/.

Part 4 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women share their breast cancer experience in new BCNA video

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have come together to share their stories and experiences as breast cancer survivors as part of a  video produced by BCNA.

See Website 

The video shares the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander women affected by breast cancer and aims to encourage other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to connect, seek support and information on breast cancer.

A number of women in the video, including Aunty Josie Hansen, highlight the importance of early detection.

‘Early detection is really important; not just for women, but for men too,’ Aunty Josie said.

‘Being diagnosed with breast cancer isn’t a death sentence, there’s always hope … as long as you have breath there’s hope,’ she said.

Aunty Thelma reflected that breast cancer is ‘just a terrible disease’.

‘I think it’s so important that women go and have their breast screens done,’ she said.

The video was filmed at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Think Tank at BCNA’s National Summit in March. The Think Tank was facilitated by BCNA board member Professor Jacinta Elston.  Jacinta said that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s outcomes are poorer both in survival and at diagnosis.

The Think Tank brought together 48 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from around Australia to share issues around treatment and survivorship of breast cancer in their communities. The key outcome of the Think Tank was the development of a three-year Action Plan that outlines BCNA’s key future work, in partnership with national peak Aboriginal health organisations.

The group worked to develop and prioritise future action to improve support and care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women diagnosed with breast cancer.

This included identifying locally based cultural healing projects, to allow breast cancer survivors to connect and support each other in culturally safe spaces. A weaving project in Queensland and a possum skin cloak project in Victoria is being undertaken and used to support the training of health professionals in local culture and knowledge. The Culture is Healing projects are supported by Cancer Australia.

This video was produced as part of BCNA’s ongoing commitment to better support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women diagnosed with breast cancer.

You can watch the video below:

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

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

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

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

PHNs should continue to work on formalising partnerships with ACCHS.

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

Extract from Page 14 

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

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

Download the full 97 Page Report HERE 

National_Report_2019

or 9 Page Summary HERE 

National Report 2019 Summary – Accessible PDF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For your nearest ACCHO contact for HELP 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read over 130 + NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Suicide Prevention articles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See full story Part 2 Below or HERE

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

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

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

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

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

STRONGER TOGETHER includes the release of four community announcement video

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 2

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

Originally Published the Guardian and IndigenousX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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