NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #MensHealthWeek 3 of 3 #OchreDay2018 News 1. @GregHuntMP announces a National Male Health Strategy to support the health of men and boys 2. @MyHealthRec Men encouraged to connect with their health with a #Myhealthrecord

During 2018 Men’s Health Week it is important to remember that in Australia, like most countries, males have poorer health outcomes on average than females.

More males die at every stage of life. Males have more accidents, are more likely to take their own lives and are more prone to lifestyle-related chronic health conditions than women and girls at the same age.

This is why I am announcing today, the beginning of a process to establish a National Male Health Strategy for the period 2020 to 2030. “

The Hon. Greg Hunt Minister for Health full press release Part 1

The AMA welcomes today’s announcement of the establishment of a 10-year National Male Health Strategy that will target the mental and physical health of men and boys.

The AMA called for a major overhaul of men’s health policy in April this year, including a new national strategy to address the different expectations, experiences, and situations facing Australian men.

Australian men are less likely to seek treatment from a general practitioner or other health professional, and are less likely to have the supports and social connections needed when they experience physical and mental health problems

We look forward to engaging with the Turnbull Government to develop initiatives to address the reasons why men are reluctant to engage with GPs, and the consequence of that reluctance, and to invest in innovative models of care than overcome these barriers “

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said the AMA was pleased that the Federal Government recognised that Australian males have poorer health outcomes, on average, than Australian females. In full Part 2 below

Encouraging men to discuss their health with their doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare specialist can be difficult.

My Health Record supports and assists men to have these conversations, enabling better connected care and, ultimately, better health outcomes,”

My Health Record gives men and the broader community the capacity to upload important health information including allergies, medical conditions and treatments, medicine details, test results and immunisations; supporting them in remembering the dates of tests, medicine names, or dosages “

Australian Digital Health Agency Chief Medical Adviser Clinical Professor Meredith Makeham said My Health Record provided many valuable benefits for men. in full Part 3 Below

NACCHO Aboriginal #MensHealthWeek and #OchreDay2018 Launch :

Download 30 years 1988 – 2018 of Aboriginal Male Health Strategies and Summit recommendations

To celebrate #MensHealthWeek NACCHO has launched its National #OchreDay2018 Mens Health Summit program and registrations

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

The two day conference is free: To register

Part 1 Greg Hunt press release

The Australian Government will establish a decade-long National Male Health Strategy that will focus on the mental and physical health of men and boys.

During 2018 Men’s Health Week it is important to remember that in Australia, like most countries, males have poorer health outcomes on average than females.

More males die at every stage of life. Males have more accidents, are more likely to take their own lives and are more prone to lifestyle-related chronic health conditions than women and girls at the same age.

This is why I am announcing today, the beginning of a process to establish a National Male Health Strategy for the period 2020 to 2030.

Building on the 2010 National Male Health Policy, the strategy will aim to identify what is required to improve male health outcomes and provide a framework for taking action.

The strategy will be developed in consultation with key experts and stakeholders in male health, and importantly, the public will be invited to have a say through online consultation later this year.

Australian men and boys are vital to the health and happiness of their families and communities, but need to pay more attention to their own mental and physical wellbeing.

During Men’s Health Week, men are encouraged to talk about their health with someone they trust.

I encourage all men to take time this week to think about their own health and wellbeing and participate in events happening across the country.

The Turnbull Government provides funding to a number of organisations that focus on the health of men and boys including Men’s Health Information Resource Centre at Western Sydney University, Andrology Australia and the Australian Men’s Health Forum.

The National Male Health Strategy builds on and complements the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020 to 2030 I announced at the National Women’s Health Summit in February.

Part 2 AMA WELCOMES NATIONAL MALE HEALTH STRATEGY

The AMA welcomes today’s announcement of the establishment of a 10-year National Male Health Strategy that will target the mental and physical health of men and boys.

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said the AMA was pleased that the Federal Government recognised that Australian males have poorer health outcomes, on average, than Australian females.

“In Australia, men have a life expectancy of approximately four years less than women, and have a higher mortality rate from most leading causes of death,” Dr Bartone said.

“Australian men are less likely to seek treatment from a general practitioner or other health professional, and are less likely to have the supports and social connections needed when they experience physical and mental health problems.

“An appropriately-funded and implemented National Male Health Strategy is needed to deliver a cohesive platform for the improvement of male health service access and men’s health outcomes.

“This does not mean taking funding away from women’s health strategies. Initiatives that address the health needs of one gender should not occur at the expense of the other.

“Men and women should be given equal opportunity to realise their potential for a healthy life.

“The AMA congratulates Health Minister, Greg Hunt, for his decision to begin the process to establish a National Male Health Strategy for the period 2020 to 2030.

“We look forward to engaging with the Turnbull Government to develop initiatives to address the reasons why men are reluctant to engage with GPs, and the consequence of that reluctance, and to invest in innovative models of care than overcome these barriers.

“Compared to women, Australian men not only see their GP less often but, when they do see a doctor, it is for shorter consultations, and typically when a condition or illness is advanced.

“Men’s Health Week is an opportune time for Australian men to do something positive for their physical or mental health – book in for a preventive health check with a trusted GP, get some exercise, have an extra alcohol-free day, or reach out to check on the wellbeing of a mate.”

The AMA Position Statement on Men’s Health 2018 is at https://ama.com.au/position-statement/mens-health-2018

Background

  • Australian men are more than twice as likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than Australian women.
  • Men have a lower five-year survival rate for all cancers than women.
  • Australian men experience approximately 75 per cent of the burden of drug-related harm.
  • More than three in four suicide deaths in Australia are men, and intentional self-harm is the leading cause of death in men under 54 years of age.
  • Men are more likely to be in full-time work and may have less time for medical appointments.
  • Men are traditionally employed in high-risk jobs, especially in the trades, transport, construction, and mining industries.
  • Australian men are twice as likely as Australian women to exceed the lifetime risk guidelines for alcohol consumption, with one in four men drinking at a rate that puts them at risk of alcohol-related disease.

 

Part 3

Creating a My Health Record is one way men can be proactive about their health and make it a priority this Men’s Health Week, running between June 11 – 17.

My Health Record is a secure online summary of a person’s health information that can be accessed at any time by the individual and their healthcare providers.

Australian Men’s Shed Association Executive Officer David Helmers said My Health Record will make it easier for men who may find visiting healthcare professionals difficult or uncomfortable.

“We know that men often avoid having conversations about their health – particularly when those conversations involve visiting a healthcare provider.

“My Health Record takes some of the pain out of keeping a consistent record of our health and is a great platform for ongoing health management.

“Right from the get-go males are more likely to be involved in accidents or become ill, so as we age, it becomes even more important to stay on top of health information,” Mr Helmers said.

33 year-old Nick Morton was forced to take a serious look at his overall health after suffering a heart attack while working in North Queensland.

“I had a rupture in my artery wall – it was a big wake-up call going into cardiac rehab and I was the youngest by 20 years. I ended up really thinking about my health and becoming more aware of my medical history so I registered with My Health Record,” Mr Morton said.

After Nick returned to the family doctor back in his home state, his Melbourne based doctor was able to securely log onto My Health Record and view Nick’s Queensland medical history.

“It helped me having a digital copy of everything instead of having to go to my GP or cardiologist with a binder full of all my records,” Mr Morton said.

All Australians will have the benefit of receiving a My Health Record before the end of 2018, unless they choose not to have one.

Getting familiar with what is included in an individual’s personal record can assist in being prepared in an emergency like the one Nick Morton experienced. Nick now advocates a more proactive approach.

“I thought I was in control of my health and took it for granted like most blokes my age. There’s no excuse not to keep track of your health. Go to your GP and ask about my Health Record.”

Australian Digital Health Agency Chief Medical Adviser Clinical Professor Meredith Makeham said My Health Record provided many valuable benefits for men.

“Encouraging men to discuss their health with their doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare specialist can be difficult.”

“My Health Record supports and assists men to have these conversations, enabling better connected care and, ultimately, better health outcomes,” Dr Makeham said.

My Health Record gives men and the broader community the capacity to upload important health information including allergies, medical conditions and treatments, medicine details, test results and immunisations; supporting them in remembering the dates of tests, medicine names, or dosages.

A major advantage of having a My Health Record is individuals having 24-hour, 7 day per week access to their own health information.

For further information visit www.myhealthrecord.gov.au or call 1800 723 471

NACCHO Aboriginal #MensHealthWeek and #OchreDay2018 Launch : Download 30 years 1988 – 2018 of Aboriginal Male Health Strategies and Summit recommendations

1989 National Aboriginal Health Strategy (NAHS)

1994 National Aboriginal Health Strategy: An Evaluation 1989

1999 The 1st National Indigenous Male Health Convention, held at Ross River Homestead

2000 NSW Aboriginal Male Health Plan

2002 Dr Mark Wenitong Indigenous Male Health Report for OATSIH

2002 National Framework for the Improvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Male Health (2002) Dr Mick Adams

2003 National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

2008 National Aboriginal Male Health Summit -Ross River NT 22 Key Recommendations

2009 Federal Governments response (12 Months later ) to 2008 Summit recommendations

2010 Review of Indigenous Male Health by HealthInfoNet

2010 National Male Health Policy Supporting Document -Social determinants

2013 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 

2013 – 2030 NACCHO BluePrint for Aboriginal Male Healthy Futures for generational change

 2013 -2018 National NACCHO Ochre Day Summits  : Registrations and program open for this years 2018 event in Hobart  

The two day conference is free: To register

 

Please note these entries below are only a snap shot of the thousands of Aboriginal Health reports and strategies published over the past 30 years

If you feel we have missed any important documents etc. that you feel we should add

Please Contact : Colin Cowell Editor Email nacchonews@naccho.org.au

1989 National Aboriginal Health Strategy (NAHS)

“Health to Aboriginal peoples is a matter of determining all aspects of their life, including control over their physical environment, of dignity, of community self-esteem, and of justice. It is not merely a matter of the provision of doctors, hospitals, medicines or the absence of disease and incapacity.”

The National Aboriginal Health Strategy (NAHS) was developed by the National Aboriginal Health Strategy Working Group in 1989 following extensive national consultations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, organizations and communities and with governments.

It was a landmark document providing agreed direction for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health policy in Australia.

In July 2003, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council stated that the NAHS was ‘never fully implemented [but] remains the key document in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

It is extensively used by health services and service providers and continues to guide policy makers and planners.’

Detailed Information:
Key priorities identified in the 1989 National Health Strategy included building community control of Aboriginal health services, increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in the health workforce, reforming health system and increasing funding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services.

The strategy also supported increased community education, health promotion and prevention, improvement of the effectiveness and adequacy of essential services such as sewerage, water supply and communication, and building effective intersectoral collaboration.

It noted that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities must participate in research to ensure it is ethical and research findings must be monitored and reviewed to ensure implementation.

1994 National Aboriginal Health Strategy: An Evaluation 1989

Download 1994 health_eval_execsum

1999 The 1st National Indigenous Male Health Convention, held at Ross River Homestead

Provided an opportunity for Indigenous males from around Australia to express their views and share their experiences of health. Delegates to the Convention explored strategies to improve the health and well-being of Indigenous males, their families and their communities.

Download the Report 1999 growing_up_as_an_indigenous_male

2000 NSW Aboriginal Male Health Plan :

WHAT WE KNOW WORKS IN ABORIGINAL MEN’S HEALTH

Download 2000 NSW ATSI Male Health

1.Addressing men’s health through separate gender strategies to women’s health

Developing separate strategies for men’s health and women’s health can be highly effective in the short term. If a men’s health clinic is not at a main health centre but is housed a few blocks away, Aboriginal men are more at ease, are more likely to consult a male doctor for a specific problem, and are more likely to return for follow up. The concept of separate gender strategies also applies to health promotion.

2.Employing more men within the NSW health sector

There are fewer Aboriginal male health workers compared to Aboriginal female health workers. Aboriginal male health workers may draw Aboriginal men to primary health care facilities, because men feel more comfortable accessing services where they know they can talk to another man about men’s business. Increasing the number of Aboriginal male health workers within primary health care settings is therefore desirable

3. Making health services relevant for Aboriginal men, their lives and interests

The achievement of Aboriginal men in sport has been a source of great pride and many Aboriginal men are able to demonstrate community leadership through this success. Sports and fitness programs are an important part of Aboriginal community development in general. This is especially true for the health of young people, as sports and fitness programs are likely to contribute to their physical and emotional wellbeing. Physical fitness programs can form a focus for active life skills, as opposed to negative coping mechanisms such as alcohol and substance abuse and other destructive behaviours.

4. Providing incentives for Aboriginal men to be involved

Successful programs often provide some kind of incentive to Aboriginal men to encourage them to become involved. This might be access to the local golf course, or to the local gym; or it could be providing a meal to encourage a more informal atmosphere and sense of fellowship.

5. Developing services within the terms set down by local men

A program or service will have greater success if it aims to be relevant to the needs of local Aboriginal men. For example: in one area, Aboriginal men were embarrassed about seeing a female health worker in a sexual health clinic; so they worked together to establish a separate clinic in a location where they felt more comfortable. As a result attendance increased by 600 per cent.

6.Recognising men’s role in Aboriginal society and how that role influences their health

The role of men in Aboriginal society has changed tremendously in only a few generations. Aboriginal men have experienced a loss of their traditional role in both society and family. This results in despair, shame, and a sense of inadequacy. Some men feel that they cannot contribute to their communities any more. This can be influenced by programs and services that highlight a positive role for Aboriginal men in their communities and families.

7.Addressing the high costs of medication

Compared to non-Aboriginal men, Aboriginal men suffer a higher burden of ill health, and have a significantly lower income, so the cost of medication is an important issue. Aboriginal men need to be informed about any benefits they are eligible for, which can reduce the cost of medication.

8. Increasing the numbers of medical practitioners with an understanding of, and time to deal with, Aboriginal men’s needs

Local medical practitioners should be encouraged to work closely with local Aboriginal health workers, and to develop partnerships with them. In local areas is it essential to increasing the number of health practitioners who understand the needs of local men, and whom local men feel comfortable consulting.

9. Working in partnership

Partnerships are about working collaboratively in an environment based on respect, trust, and equality.

Aboriginal health workers across NSW need to be encouraged to provide the kinds of programs and services that most benefit Aboriginal men in their communities, through partnership between health service delivery and projects of community interest.

10. Developing an evidence base to improve services

Research is needed to develop an evidence base on which to improve service delivery for Aboriginal men.

Issues in need of further research include: how to integrate men’s health programs into existing Aboriginal primary health care services; how to increase the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in the research process; how to better target research that aims to improve Aboriginal men’s health; how to improve access to health services for Aboriginal males in urban, rural and remote areas; and what strategies and programs provide the best health outcomes for Aboriginal men. There also needs to be greater encouragement to publish existing research.

2002 Dr Mark Wenitong Indigenous Male Health Report report for OATSIH

This report by Dr Mark Wenitong was commissioned by the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health in response to the continuing need for accessible information around the needs and issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males

Download 2002 Wenitong malehealthprelim

Approximately half of Australia’s Indigenous population is male. Knowledge of the status of their health, although not complete due to limitations on Indigenous identification, is an area of acute need.

A ‘gendered approach’ to health is not a new idea and it is becoming more apparent that gender is a key determinant of health in Australia.

The interaction between gender and health has been well recognised and has proved very useful with respect to women’s health. It may be possible to achieve better health access and outcomes for Indigenous males by considering this approach.

This report is an overview of Indigenous male health. It takes account of the:

  • historical, social and cultural background of Indigenous males and its relationship to health and behaviour;
  • fact that Indigenous males do not necessarily want a complete isolationist approach, and regard Indigenous women and family as a significant support and integral part of their health;
  • documented lack of Indigenous males in the health workforce at all levels.

2002 National Framework for the Improvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Male Health (2002) Dr Mick Adams

Download 2002 Indigenous Male Health – Adams Mick

2003 National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

This National Strategic Framework is not a replacement of the 1989 NAHS.

It is a complementary document, which addresses contemporary approaches to primary health care and population health within the current policy environment and planning structures. It aims to guide government action over the next ten years through a coordinated, collaborative and multi-sectorial approach supported by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health stakeholder organisations.

Download 2003 nsfatsihcont

Development

This National Strategic Framework was developed following consultation on the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy: Draft for Discussion, February 2001, produced by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council (NATSIHC).

The Draft for Discussion was based on the 1989 NAHS and the report of its 1994 evaluation.

It took into account the recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the Bringing Them Home Report, submissions made to the House of Representatives Inquiry into Indigenous Health and its final report entitled Health is Life. It also considered existing state and territory, regional and local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health policies, strategies and plans. All these have been fundamental to shaping this National Strategic Framework.

NATSIHC comprises members from the Commonwealth Government, the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council representing State and Territory governments, NACCHO, ATSIC, the TSRA, the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association, the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and individuals with specific expertise appointed by the Commonwealth Minister responsible for health. The chairperson of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) also sits on NATSIHC as an ex officio member.

2008 National Aboriginal Male Health SummitRoss River NT 22 Key Recommendations

Inteyerrkwe Statement

We the Aboriginal males from Central Australia and our visitor brothers from around Australia gathered at Inteyerrkwe in July 2008 to develop strategies to ensure our future roles as grandfathers, fathers, uncles, nephews, brothers, grandsons, and sons in caring for our children in a safe family environment that will lead to a happier, longer life that reflects opportunities experienced by the wider community.

We acknowledge and say sorry for the hurt, pain and suffering caused by Aboriginal males to our wives, to our children, to our mothers, to our grandmothers, to our granddaughters, to our aunties, to our nieces and to our sisters.

We also acknowledge that we need the love and support of our Aboriginal women to help us move forward.”

In 2008 with the national focus on the NT intervention over 400 Aboriginal males from around to participate in a men’s Health Summit at the Ross River Camp

There was a need for Aboriginal men to get back control and understanding of their roles as fathers, uncles, brothers and sons in caring for children in a safe family environment that leads families and the community having a happier, healthier, longer life that reflects opportunities experienced by the wider community

Download 90 Page Report

2008 National Male Health Summit of Reports 1 and 2

Download the media report from summit

Final report Media Coverage 2

There has been over a decade of work by Aboriginal men to establish male health in the policy debates, but as I will outline later I feel we now need to move beyond the policy struggle to implementing the vision.

Patrick Dodson has been quoted that: “There has been a process of undermining the role and status of Aboriginal men within our society since the early days of Australia’s colonisation and continuing in recent commentary around the Northern Territory Intervention”.

When you add to this the rapid changes in the role of males within that colonising society and the consequent dislocation of non-Aboriginal males and their struggle to define new self-images, it is no wonder that Aboriginal males may struggle to make sense of the contemporary world.

And if those critical views of us as Aboriginal males are expressed with no effort to understand our cultural values, or the pressures caused by the colonial relationships and contemporary social transformations, then we become alienated from this society.

This alienation is at the core of the struggle for male health and wellbeing, as it acts to debase men, stripping away their dignity and the meaning in their lives.

We therefore need to confront these social relationships that shape our health.

Out of the hundreds of ideas that have been discussed and developed over the last three days at Ross River, some of the key recommendations that have come out of this forum are as follows:

  1. Establishment of community-based violence prevention programs, including programs specific to Aboriginal men.
  2. Establishment of places of healing for Aboriginal men, including men’s shelters/’sheds’, short term ‘drying out’ places for men, and more resources for long-term rehabilitation of Aboriginal men with alcohol and other drug problems, preferably within their own community. Also ‘half-way’ houses to either give ‘time out’ or time to move slowly back into work/family/training, preferably to be run by Aboriginal men.
  3. Tax-free status for three years for identified communities for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal professionals to attract much-needed doctors, health workers, teachers and police. Also incentives to employ Aboriginal people in similar positions.
  4. Building the capacity of Aboriginal men in literacy and numeracy to access locally-based jobs, and better support for establishing local Aboriginal-controlled businesses to tap into the minerals boom, agriculture, aquaculture or whatever business activity is relevant to their traditional country. Also the linking of education and training to locally-based employment.
  5. ‘Unfinished business’ – This Summit calls on the Federal Government and the Northern Territory Government to respond to its final report within three months (by the end of September, 2008).

See all 22 recommendations in this next section

 

2009 Federal Governments response (12 Months later ) to 2008 Summit recommendations

Download Government Response

2009 Federal Government Response malehealthsummitjun09

2010 Review of Indigenous Male Health by HealthInfoNet

Download

2010 Indigenous Male Health Healthindonet

2010 National Male Health Policy Supporting Document -Social determinants

SOCIAL DETERMINANTS AND KEY ACTIONS SUPPORTING MALE HEALTH

2010 Social determinants revised 170510

2013 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 was developed to provide an overarching framework which builds links with other major Commonwealth health activities and identifies areas of focus to guide future investment and effort in relation to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

On 30 May 2014 Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, Assistant Minister for Health, announced that an Implementation plan would be developed outlining the Commonwealth’s coordinated efforts to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023 (online)
PDF version: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023 – PDF 6280 KB

2013 – 2030 NACCHO BluePrint for Aboriginal Male Healthy Futures for generational change

NACCHO has long recognised the importance of an Aboriginal male health policy and program to close the gap by 2030 on the alarming Aboriginal male mortality rates across Australia.

Aboriginal males have arguably the worst health outcomes of any population group in Australia.

To address the real social and emotional needs of males in our communities, NACCHO proposes a positive approach to Aboriginal male health and wellbeing

NACCHO, its affiliates and members are committed to building upon past innovations and we require targeted actions and investments to implement a wide range of Aboriginal male health and wellbeing programs and strategies.

We call on State, Territory and Federal governments to commit to a specific, substantial and sustainable funding allocation for the NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health 10 point Blueprint 2013-2030

 

This blueprint sets out how the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services sector will continue to improve our rates of access to health and wellbeing services by Aboriginal males through working closely within our communities, strengthening cultural safety and further building upon our current Aboriginal male health workforce and leadership.

We celebrate Aboriginal masculinities, and uphold our traditional values of respect for our laws, respect for elders, culture and traditions, responsibility as leaders and men, teachers of young males, holders of lore, providers, warriors and protectors of our families, women, old people, and children

The NACCHO 10-Point Blue print Plan is based on a robust body of work that includes the Close the Gap Statement of Intent and the Close the Gap targets, the National Framework for the Improvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Male Health (2002), NACCHO’s position paper on Aboriginal male health (2010) the 2013 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (NATSIHP), and the NACCHO Healthy futures 10 point plan 2013-2030

These solutions have been developed in response to the deep-rooted social, political and economic conditions that effect Aboriginal males and the need to be addressed alongside the delivery of essential health care.

Our plan is based on evidence, targeted to need and capable of addressing the existing inequalities in Aboriginal male health services, with the aim of achieving equality of health status and life expectancy between Aboriginal males and non-Aboriginal males by 2030.

This blueprint celebrates our success so far and proposes the strategies that governments, NACCHO affiliates and member services must in partnership commit to and invest in to ensure major health gains are maintained into the future

NACCHO, our affiliates and members remain focused on creating a healthy future for generational change and the NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health 10 point Blueprint 2013-2030 will enable comprehensive and long-term action to achieve real outcomes.

To close the gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal males and non-Aboriginal within a generation we need achieve these 10 key goals

1. To call on government at all levels to invest a specific, substantial and sustainable funding allocation for the, NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health 10 point Blueprint plan 2013-2030 a comprehensive, long-term Aboriginal male Health plan of action that is based on evidence, targeted to need, and capable of addressing the existing inequities in Aboriginal male health

2. To assist delivering community-controlled ,comprehensive primary male health care, services that are culturally appropriate accessible, affordable, good quality, innovative to bridge the gap in health standards and to respect and promote the rights of Aboriginal males, in urban, rural and remote areas in order to achieve lasting improvements in Aboriginal male health and well-being

3. To ensure Aboriginal males have equal access to health services that are equal in standard to those enjoyed by other Australians, and ensure primary health care services and health infrastructure for Aboriginal males are capable of bridging the gap in health standards by 2030.

4. To prioritise specific funding to address mental health, social and emotional well-being and suicide prevention for Aboriginal males.

5. To ensure that we address Social determinants relating to identity culture, language and land, as well as violence, alcohol, employment and education.

6.To improve access to and the responsiveness of mainstream health services and programs to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health  services are provided commensurate Accessibility within the Primary Health Care Centre may mean restructuring clinics to accommodate male specific areas, or off-site areas, and may include specific access (back door entrance) to improve attendance and cultural gender issues

 7.To provide an adequate workforce to meet Aboriginal male health needs by increasing the recruitment, retention, effectiveness and training of male health practitioners working within Aboriginal settings and by building the capacity of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.

8 To identified and prioritised (as appropriate) in all health strategies developed for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) including that all relevant programs being progressed in these services will be expected to ensure Aboriginal male health is considered in the planning phase or as the program progresses. Specialised Aboriginal male health programs and targeted interventions should be developed to address male health intervention points across the life cycle continuum.

9. To build on the evidence base of what works in Aboriginal health, supporting it with research and data on relevant local and international experience and to ensure that the quality of data quality in all jurisdictions meets AIHW standards.

10. To measure, monitor, and report on our joint efforts in accordance with benchmarks and targets – to ensure that we are progressively reaching our shared aims.

NOTE : Throughout this document the word Male is used instead of Men. At the inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Male Health Gathering-Alice Springs 1999, all delegates present agreed that the word Male would be used instead of the word Men. With the intention being to encompass the Male existence from it’s beginnings in the womb until death.

Throughout this document the word Aboriginal is used instead of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. This is in line with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) being representative of Aboriginal People. This does not intend to exclude nor be disrespectful to our Brothers from the Torres Strait Islands.

 2013 -2018 NACCHO Ochre Days : Registrations open for this years event in Hobart  

 First Ochre Day Canberra 2013 with present and past 2 NACCHO chairs

The week-long #MensHealthWeek focus offers a “timely reminder” to all men to consider their health and wellbeing and the impact that their ill health or even the early loss of their lives could have on the people who love them. The statistics speak for themselves – we need to look after ourselves better .

That is why I am encouraging all men to take their health seriously, this week and every week of the year, and I have made men’s health a particular priority for Indigenous health.”

Federal Minister for Indigenous Health and Aged Care Ken Wyatt who will be a keynote speaker at NACCHO Ochre Day in August

Canberra 2013

Brisbane 2014

Adelaide 2015

Perth 2016

Darwin 2017

Hobart 2018

Reports from all

 

To celebrate #MensHealthWeek NACCHO has launches its National #OchreDay2018 Mens Health Summit program and registrations

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

More Details HERE

All too often Aboriginal male health is approached negatively, with programmes only aimed at males as perpetrators. Examples include alcohol, tobacco and other drug services, domestic violence, prison release, and child sexual abuse programs. These programmes are vital, but are essentially aimed at the effects of males behaving badly to others, not for promoting the value of males themselves as an essential and positive part of family and community life.

To address the real social and emotional needs of males in our communities, NACCHO proposes a positive approach to male health and wellbeing that celebrates Aboriginal masculinities, and uphold our traditional values of respect for our laws, respect for Elders, culture and traditions, responsibility as leaders and men, teachers of young males, holders of lore, providers, warriors and protectors of our families, women, old people, and children.

More Details HERE

NACCHO’s approach is to support Aboriginal males to live longer, healthier lives as males for themselves. The flow-on effects will hopefully address the key effects of poor male behaviour by expecting and encouraging Aboriginal males to be what they are meant to be.

In many communities, males have established and are maintaining men’s groups, and attempting to be actively involved in developing their own solutions to the well documented men’s health and wellbeing problems, though almost all are unfunded and lack administrative and financial support.

To assist NACCHO to strategically develop this area as part of an overarching gender/culture based approach to service provision, NACCHO decided it needed to raise awareness, gain support for and communicate to the wider Australian public issues that have an impact on the social, emotional health and wellbeing of Aboriginal Males.

It was subsequently decided that NACCHO should stage a public event that would aim to achieve this and that this event be called “NACCHO Ochre Day”.

The two day conference is free: To register

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #WorldHypertensionDay @strokefdn High #bloodpressure – known to doctors as ‘hypertension’ – is a silent killer of our mob with 47% having high #stroke risk

 

 ” But high blood pressure – known to doctors as ‘hypertension’ – is a silent killer of our mob because there are no obvious signs or symptoms, and many people don’t realise they have it. “

A staggering 82 percent of those, found to have high blood pressure, were not aware prior to taking the health check and were referred to their doctor for a further assessment.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander are between two and three times as likely to have a stroke than non-Indigenous Australians which is why increasing stroke awareness is crucial.

Too many Australians couldn’t spot a stroke if it was happening right in front of them.

We know that in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities this awareness is even lower.

We want all Australians, regardless of where they live or what community they’re from, to learn the signs of stroke.”

Stroke Foundation and Apunipima ACCHO Cape York Project

 ” Naomi and Rukmani’s stroke rap runs through vital stroke awareness messages, such as lifestyle advice, learning the signs of stroke, and crucially the need to seek medical advice when stroke strikes.

Music is a powerful tool for change and we hope that people will listen to the song and remember the FAST message – it could save their life,”

Stroke Foundation Queensland Executive Officer Libby Dunstan 

Naomi Wenitong  pictured 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

Listen to the new rap song HERE

                                       or Hear

Research has shown the number of strokes would be practically cut in half (48 percent) if high blood pressure alone was eliminated

NACCHO has published over 90 articles Aboriginal health stroke prevention and recovery READ HERE

“It can happen to anyone — stroke doesn’t discriminate against colour, it doesn’t discriminate against age “

Photo above Seith Fourmile, Indigenous stroke survivor campaigns for culture to aid in stroke recovery

” Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who experience and die from cardiovascular disease at much higher rates than other Australians.

What you don’t know can hurt you. Heart disease and strokes are the biggest killers of Australians, and the biggest risk factor for both of them is high blood pressure.

But high blood pressure – known to doctors as ‘hypertension’ – is a silent killer because there are no obvious signs or symptoms, and many people don’t realise they have it. “

John Kelly CEO-National, Heart Foundation

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, when compared with other Australians, are:

  • 1.3 times as likely to have cardiovascular disease
  • three times more likely to have a major coronary event, such as a heart attack
  • more than twice as likely to die in hospital from coronary heart disease
  • 19 times as likely to die from acute rheumatic fever and chronic rheumatic heart Disease
  • more likely to smoke, have high blood pressure, be obese, have diabetes and have end-stage renal disease.

It was World Hypertension Day yesterday  and the Stroke Foundation is determined to slash stroke numbers in Australia – with your help.

Today kicks off Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check for 2018 and communities are being urged to take five minutes out of their day for a potentially life-saving blood pressure check.

More than 4.1 Million Australians are living with hypertension or high blood pressure, putting themselves at serious and unnecessary risk of stroke.

Research has shown the number of strokes would be practically cut in half (48 percent) if high blood pressure alone was eliminated.

The major concern with high blood pressure is many people don’t realise they have it. It has no immediate symptoms, but over time, it damages blood vessels and increases the risk of stroke and heart disease.

How you can help?

  • Encourage your family and friends to take advantage of a free check.
  • Help spread the word via social media:  Research has shown the number of strokes would be practically cut in half if high blood pressure alone was eliminated.
  • Get your free health check today! https://bit.ly/2ps1UOn #WorldHypertensionDay

  • I am urging you – no matter what age you are – to have a blood pressure check regularly with your ACCHO GP (General Practitioner), pharmacist or via a digital health check machine.
  • Stroke strikes in an instant, attacking the brain. It kills more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer and leaves thousands with an ongoing disability, but stroke is largely preventable by managing blood pressure and living a healthy lifestyle.
  • Stroke Foundation and SiSU Wellness conducted more than 520,000 digital health checks throughout 2017, finding 16 percent of participants had high blood pressure putting them at risk of stroke

Given there will be 56,000 strokes in Australia this year alone, if we can reduce high blood pressure we will have a direct and lasting impact on the rate of stroke in this country.Yours sincerely,

Sharon McGowan
Chief Executive Officer
Stroke Foundation

Aboriginal Male Health Talking powerfully from the heart @CAACongress and @CASSEaustralia Launch Kurruna Mwarre Ingkintja – Good Spirit Men’s Place – Research Project Report : Download

 

 

 ” Establishing a male leadership group, having a place for males and addressing violence have been identified as key priorities in a research project to investigate ways to develop a best practice Aboriginal Men’s Shed in Alice Springs.

The Kurruna Mwarre-Ingkintja (Good Spirit Males Place) Research Project, a collaboration between the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Congress) and Creating A Safe Supportive Environment (CASSE) – commenced in 2015 with the aim of developing a unique Aboriginal Men’s Shed Model, along cultural lines, to empower men to find their voices and live authentically.

For two years prior, many consultations were held with Aboriginal men and communities to determine the direction and need for pending research. The research has been philanthropically funded.”

The completed research report will be launched at THE OLD COURTHOUSE, ALICE SPRINGS, at 12.30 PM on FRIDAY 9 MARCH 2018, followed by a BBQ. MEDIA ARE INVITED TO ATTEND.

Download

00068-PH-Kurruna-Mwarre-Ingkintja-Report-e_final

00069-PH-Kurruna-Mwarre-Ingkintja-Transcript-Interviews_Final_e

Read over 342 Aboriginal Male Health articles published by NACCHO in last 6 Years

Ken Lechleitner Pangarte, the primary Researcher Officer, is an Anmatjere and Western Arrernte man with a cultural reputation for being able to move between the two worlds and for being an advocate for change for his people.

On establishing a male leadership group, Ken said: “This group of males shaped the direction of where the research should go, not to the bookshelves to gather dust, but create an entity to ensure findings are implemented into becoming outcomes.”

The group identified the need for new Aboriginal organisations, while operating alongside, and to provide a place for men to go to receive the physical, social and psychological support they need to get their lives on track, leading to establishment of the Blokes On Track Aboriginal Corporation (BOTAC).

“Establishing BOTAC was a breakthrough in finding a solution to engaging multiple services and these services have indicated that they would be happy working with a mutual body like BOTAC providing the required male leadership,” Ken stated.

The project included qualitative research interviews with 23 male participants living in Alice Springs that illuminated critical aspects of men’s experiences. Fourteen of the men agreed to have their interviews on public record and are published in “Talking Powerfully from the Heart – Interviews by Ken Lechleitner”, providing a moving adjunct to the research report.

“Their interviews brought to light and to life new found voices for males from central Australia,” Ken said.

Pamela Nathan, Director of CASSE’s Aboriginal Australian Relations Program, Senior Investigator, co-supervised the project and stated that the interviews “illuminated critical aspects of men’s experiences. Their recognition of the degree to which they have unmet emotional and psychological needs was striking – an aspect of their experience that seemed unrecognised by the wider public.

“The men say they hide their feelings that ‘they hurt, they bleed they have pain’, ‘all suffering’, feel ‘degraded and scorned’, ‘disempowered’, ‘lost’, ‘devalued’ and ‘unrecognised,’ seen as ‘violent losers’ and more.”

A key component of the project was trialling the psychoanalytically informed 15week ‘BreakThrough Violence’ group treatment program for the prevention and treatment of violence. The program privileges cultural and emotional experiences.

The summary of participants in the group program is an indictment of the system –many of the men were repeat violent offenders and many had not before received treatment for violence, let alone treatment in a culturally appropriate manner:

  • 32 men regularly participated in the weekly program
  • over two thirds (23 men) had not attended a violence treatment program before
  • nearly all (30) of the men were mandated
  • over two-thirds (20 men) had committed violent offences
  • 21 of the men had been in gaol before
  • 15 had been in gaol at least twice if not more often.
  • 5 of the men had been in gaol over five times.
  • 23 of the men were substance affected at the time of the offence.
  • The majority of men were aged between 20 and 40
  • Half the men lived in remote communities, with slightly less living in town
  • 30 out of the 34 men said they found the group helpful.

“These statistics reinforce the comment made last year by the Northern Territory Coroner Greg Cavanagh that “the current focus on policing and punishments are not providing the answer to the NT’s domestic violence problem””, said Pamela and Ken.

Final recommendations from the Kurruna Mwarre-Ingkintja Research Project report include:

  1. Establish a services agreement between Non-Government and Government Organisations through Blokes On Track Aboriginal Corporation (BOTAC)
  2. Establishment of Male Cultural Place
  3. Establishment of Psychological Place Health Retreat
  4. Men’s Residential area
  5. Chronic Disease Care Management services to be provided into the Male place
  6. Palliative Care Services on Country
  7. Establish a lease agreement with Iwupataka Land Trust
    7.1 Public Space area
    7.2 Restaurant / Café
    7.3 Market Place

For over 40 years, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Congress) has provided support and advocacy for Aboriginal people in the struggle for justice and equity. Since that time, Congress has expanded to become the largest Aboriginal community-controlled health organisation in the Northern Territory, providing a comprehensive, holistic and culturally-appropriate primary health care service to Aboriginal people living in and nearby Alice Springs, including five remote communities; Amoonguna, Ntaria (and Wallace Rockhole), Santa Teresa, Utju (Areyonga) and Mutitjulu. Today, we are one of the most experienced Aboriginal primary health care services in the country, a strong political advocate of closing the gap on Aboriginal health disadvantage and a national leader in improving health outcomes for all Aboriginal people.

CASSE (Creating A Safe Supportive environment) is a psychological not-for-profit organisation with the vision to change minds in order to save lives. CASSE aims to promote safe, supportive environments through psychoanalytic awareness. We focus on empowering people and communities to understand and work through their trauma (manifest by suicide, depression, violence, substance usage) by preserving and strengthening cultural life and capacity between the generations in a self-determining way.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Alcohol : @healthgovau National Alcohol strategy 2018-2026 for public consultation Closes 11 February 2018

” The National Alcohol Strategy 2018- 2026 outlines Australia’s agreed approach to preventing and minimising alcohol-related harms.

The National Alcohol Strategy provides a national framework and highlights a number of opportunities for action under each of the priority areas of focus.

These opportunities are examples of activities or initiatives that could be considered at either local, jurisdictional (state and territory) or national levels, including a mix of broad population approaches and targeted approaches.”

Download a draft copy

Consultation Draft National Alcohol Strategy 2018-2026

Consultation closes 11 February 2018

The Department of Health has opened a public consultation process, and is inviting stakeholders and the general public to provide feedback on the National alcohol strategy 2018-2026.

See Website

As a sub-strategy of the National drug strategy 2017-2026, the National alcohol strategy is overseen by the Ministerial Drug and Alcohol Forum. The Forum consists of Ministers from across Australia with responsibility for alcohol and other drug policy  from the health and justice/law enforcement portfolios from each jurisdiction.

On 27 November 2017, members agreed that the draft National alcohol strategy will undergo a public consultation process to further inform the strategic direction and priorities of the strategy.

The online submission process is now open and will close on 11 February 2018. Feedback from the consultation will be considered by the Ministers at their next meeting in 2018, and the strategy revised.

To lodge a submission, please email nationaldrugstrategy@health.gov.au.

Disproportionate Impacts of Alcohol-Related Harm

This Strategy recognises that alcohol-related harms are not experienced uniformly across the population, with disproportionate levels of harm being experienced within some contexts and communities.

Read over 190 NACCHO Articles Alcohol and other Drugs posted over the past 5 years

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Overall, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to abstain from drinking alcohol than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (31% compared with 23% respectively). However, among those who did drink, higher proportions drank at risky levels (20% exceeding the lifetime risk guidelines) and were more likely to experience alcohol-related injury than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (35% compared to 25% monthly, respectively).26

For this reason, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffer from disproportionate levels of harm from alcohol, including alcohol-related mortality rates that are 4.9 times higher than among non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.27

The poorer overall health, social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Islander people than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also significant factors which can influence drinking behaviours.28

People in remote areas

People residing in remote areas have reported drinking alcohol in quantities that place them at risk of harm at higher levels that those living in less remote regions.

People in remote and very remote areas were 1.5 times as likely as people in major cities to consume 5 or more drinks at least monthly and 2.4 times as likely to consume 11 or more drinks

Pregnant women (or those planning a pregnancy)

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can result in birth defects and behavioural and neurodevelopmental abnormalities including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Data from states and territories have estimated FASD rates at 0.01 to 1.7 per 1000 births in the total population and 0.15 to 4.70 per 1000 births for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.31 There is evidence that indicates some communities are experiencing much higher incidences of FASD and therefore the lifelong impacts of FASD.32

The relationship between the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy and the expression of FASD is complex, but avoiding drinking before or during pregnancy eliminates the risk of FASD.

Around 1 in 2 women report consuming alcohol during their pregnancy, with 1 in 4 women continuing to drink after they are aware they are pregnant. Of these women, 81% drank monthly or less with 16.2% drinking 2–4 times a month.33

Background

The Ministerial Drug and Alcohol Forum is co-Chaired by the Commonwealth Ministers with portfolio responsibility for alcohol and other drugs (AOD), and justice/law enforcement.

Membership consists of two Ministers from each jurisdiction, one each from the health/community services portfolios (with AOD policy responsibilities) and one from the justice/law enforcement portfolios.

The Commonwealth, State and Territory governments have a shared responsibility to build safe and healthy communities through the collaborative delivery and implementation of national strategic frameworks to reduce AOD related harms for all Australians.

The Forum will be supported by the National Drug Strategy Committee (NDSC) in the implementation and monitoring of these national strategic frameworks.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health @KenWyattMP A Brave Young Aboriginal Dad’s Lifesaving Messages #diabetes #obesity, leading to #heart and #kidney failure.

“Jason strongly but humbly tells it like it is, there is no self-pity, just heartfelt statements of fact that apply to all Australians.

He pleads for everyone to re-think alcohol and drug use, including a special message for our Indigenous mob.

His words should be heeded by everyone but also reinforce my top Indigenous health priorities: Men’s health, kidney, eye and ear health, maternal and child health and reducing preventable hospital admissions.

His key message is for everybody, especially men, to look after themselves, so they can be there for their families and friends for as long as possible”

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM paid tribute to his cousin’s bravery, talent, compassion and legacy.

Read over 330 NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health articles published by over the past 5 years

A heartbreaking video message has been released today, realising Jason Bartlett’s dying wish to raise awareness of the importance of men taking personal responsibility for their health.

View Jason’s Video Here

The 36 year old singer, songwriter and former television music show star recorded the video nine days before he passed away in Royal Perth Hospital in June, from complications of diabetes and obesity, leading to heart and kidney failure.

“In 2009, Jason made it through to the Top 24 on Australian Idol and continued his career after the show, writing, recording and performing with the popular Bartlett Brothers band,” Minister Wyatt said.

“We lost Jason shortly after he made the brave but agonising decision to cease dialysis. His final words are haunting and hard-hitting and ones he wanted every Australian to hear.

“His vision was always to change the world for the better through his music but his dream became to get the health message out.”

In the video, titled “Passing on Wisdom: Jason’s Diabetes Story”, the father of two tells how he was diagnosed with diabetes at 19 years of age. A combination of lack of health education and ignoring the danger signs gradually lead to a tragic sequence of chronic conditions that eventually took his sight and his mobility.

His key message is for everybody, especially men, to look after themselves, so they can be there for their families and friends for as long as possible.

“He wants all of us to take personal responsibility, listen to our loved ones and take advice from doctors and health professionals,” said the Minister.

“Jason says that looking after ourselves is an essential part of giving love to those around us.

“All of us are privileged to have shared in his amazing life and now we’re determined to share his quest to save the lives of others, through his message.

“If it can help just one person to make life-changing choices, Australia will be better for it, but I am sure his story will help many more consider changes that will lengthen and potentially save their lives.

“I’m joining with Jason’s family in encouraging everyone to watch his video, listen to his story and share it on social media, especially with those you love.”

Photo: Jason Bartlett’s wife Jaimee, brother Phil and family members launched the video with Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt. (Supplied: Family)

The video was produced by Jason Bartlett’s family, the University of Western Australia’s WA Centre for Rural Health, and media organisation Health Communication Resources.

It can also be shared from the WA Centre for Rural Health’s YouTube channel, at https://youtu.be/RcbQmILeDTs with a subtitled version at https://youtu.be/TvC1Tv6Z6zU

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See full press release from Minister Part 3 below

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

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

READ MORE ON THIS TOPIC HERE

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

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

READ MORE ON THIS TOPIC HERE  

Part 1 NACCHO BACKGROUND

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

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

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

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

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

Download the final #ATSISPEP report here

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

Part 2 Mental Health Australia campaign

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

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

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

Mental Health Australia CEO Mr Frank Quinlan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘What will your #MentalHealthPromise be?

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

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

Australia’s new digital mental health gateway now live

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health @KenWyattMP Speech ” Men’s health, our way. Let’s own it!” – is a powerful conference theme

“Men’s health, our way. Let’s own it!” – is a powerful conference theme because it’s a strong foundation for better health.

Owning our health and wellbeing links closely with the Prime Minister’s pledge to do things “with” Aboriginal people, not “to” them – because both commitments empower local community solutions, and personal choices.

This is about walking and working together, because Indigenous health is everybody’s business.

The burden of disease in many of our communities is significant but it is not intractable – we’re here today because we know and believe this.”

The Hon. Ken Wyatt MP Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, MP spoke at the NACCHO Ochre Day Men’s Health Conference on 4 October 2017

Good morning everyone.

Before I begin I want to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Larrakia people, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.

I also acknowledge all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here this morning.

I also acknowledge:

    • John Patterson, [CEO, Aboriginal Medical Services Northern Territory]
    • June Oscar, [Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner]
    • Dr Mark Wenitong, [Member, Implementation Plan Advisory Group]

“Men’s health, our way. Let’s own it!” – is a powerful conference theme because it’s a strong foundation for better health.

We know that when people are empowered to take control of their own wellbeing, and take that responsibility seriously, we are on track for an improved future.

I’d like to begin by sharing a very sad story, from my own family.

Eight years ago, my nephew, Jason Bartlett was a much-loved musician. He’d made it to the Top 24 on TV’s Australian Idol and was recording albums and performing concerts with the popular Bartlett Brothers band.

But as his career went on, he found he struggled with his weight more and more and his health deteriorated significantly.

Earlier this year, he confided that he wished he had sought help much earlier and that he had listened to the medical professionals who tried to help him along the way.

Sadly, he passed away in June, aged just 35, after a battle with chronic kidney, diabetes and heart conditions.

His close family and friends are now working on a media project to fulfil his dying wishes – to get the word out to indigenous men in particular, to take their health seriously – to own it.

One of Jason’s killers was kidney failure, the same devastating condition that claimed the life of beloved musician, Dr G Yunipingu.

I would like to tell you now that turning around the tragedy of this disease is one of my top priorities.

Our men suffer kidney health problems at five times the rate of non-indigenous men and the onset of kidney disease is at a much earlier age in indigenous people. The rates of kidney disease steadily increase from 18 years as compared to 55 years for non-indigenous.

I will say much more about this in the coming months, but I am totally committed to working with communities and health practitioners across our nation to reduce the impact of renal failure and, even more importantly, to prevent it happening in the first place.

This means solutions that help people now, but also grassroots strategies that will help ensure our men, women and families continue reaping the benefits in five, 10 and 20 years – for the rest of their lives.

Owning our health and wellbeing links closely with the Prime Minister’s pledge to do things “with” Aboriginal people, not “to” them – because both commitments empower local community solutions, and personal choices.

This is about walking and working together, because indigenous health is everybody’s business.

The burden of disease in many of our communities is significant but it is not intractable – we’re here today because we know and believe this.

We understand the importance of Aboriginal community controlled health services because they are delivering many of what I like to call “jewels in the crown” of indigenous health improvement.

Recently, I was delighted to join Matthew to announce the expansion of one of the most successful of all programs– Deadly Choices – as it officially linked in with the Australian Kangaroos rugby league team.

Through sport and community activities, Deadly Choices has empowered thousands of people, especially younger men.

In South East Queensland, this has led to nearly 19,000 people having health check-ups each year, more than 1,100 households banning smoking, and active indigenous patient numbers tripling, to over 330,000.

I was also recently in Broken Hill, and saw firsthand some of the Maari Ma Health Corporation’s impressive results:

    • People in their diabetes program now have blood sugar control significantly better than the national average.
    • Those with diabetes or heart problems also have much better blood pressure and cholesterol control than the national average.
    • The number of people having annual health checks is doubling almost every year.
    • The number of specialist clinics operating that tackle everything from smoking to ear, nose and throat surgery, has jumped from under 100 to nearly 1000 a year.
    • And Maari Ma has a rock-solid commitment to local decision-making and employment, with Aboriginal people now making up well over half of the staff.

What is so impressive is the comprehensive nature of these programs – looking beyond the traditional notion of “health”, to a more holistic approach encompassing education, lifestyle and employment.

Working with locals and the community, this helps ensure the “social and cultural determinants” of health are increasingly positive.

The Government’s 2017 Health Performance Framework estimates these factors contribute to more than one third of the health gap.

This figure rises to well over half, when combined with risk factors, such as heavy drinking, smoking and poor diet.

So half of the reason why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men are dying too young, falling sick and getting injured lies largely outside the “traditional” health system.

This is a challenge, but understanding this fact is fundamental to us taking the next steps towards Closing the Gap in indigenous health outcomes .

It’s why the next Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013 – 2023, due next year, will recognise that respect for culture, employment, living conditions, environmental health and education are ALL-IMPORTANT in the overall health of our people.

The Plan will identify opportunities to develop partnerships further – between communities, the health sector and the wide range of State and Commonwealth Government agencies working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs.

Working closely with local communities and tailor-making solutions, while thinking broadly, is the way forward.

In New South Wales, a program called “Driving Change” is helping indigenous people turn the corner on health and wellbeing, by getting their drivers’ licenses.

Already, its enabled an extra 400 people across a dozen communities to get on the road – and start changing their lives, through better self-esteem and improved employment prospects.

It’s recognised as a health program, because licensed driving means being able to hold down a job, which means having more money, better housing, better food on the table, more options for their children – the list goes on – but the bottom line is a far healthier future.

We have to look at how a wide range of government agencies, and the health sector, throw their weight behind Indigenous opportunity, and how we can do better.

We must ask ourselves constantly: How well are we connecting, how many lives are being changed for the better by what we do?

If we don’t know the answer, then business as usual is not an option.

We clearly have much to do to get the broader health system where it needs to be.

I work with a range of Indigenous organisations, like NACCHO, across the country to put Indigenous families and communities at the centre of Indigenous health reform.

I remain deeply grateful and buoyed by every one of you here, who get up each day and go to work to improve people’s health.

I strongly believe that the key to closing the gap is for all of us to ‘opt-in’ – so there is even more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and participation in the health system.

Higher representation at all levels of the health system – as doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, in administration and management, in policy and planning, and research – will support our efforts to close the gap.

But the fact remains, Indigenous men have the poorest health of any group within the Australian population.

We are more reluctant to seek out help when we need it, we’re not good at recognising the early signs of disease and we don’t always think about what we can do right now – like quitting smoking – to prevent disease down the track.

This is reflected in a range of key health indicators so let’s look at the facts as I outline the Australian Government’s Indigenous men’s health agenda.

On average, we are dying more than 10 years younger than our non-Indigenous counterparts, with the majority of deaths occurring in our middle years.

The leading killers include circulatory failure, cancer, injury, diabetes and respiratory disease.

Infant Indigenous boys die at a rate almost double that of non-Indigenous boys.

This is why the Government has invested $94 million in the Better Start to Life initiative to support families.

This initiative will progressively increase the number of New Directions services from 85 to 136 sites and the Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program from three sites to 13.

In addition, the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme has allocated $12 million to support the implementation of better, more integrated early childhood services called Connected Beginnings.

A good foundation in health prevention and regular check-ups will help children do better at school which, in turn, gives them more choice in further education and work opportunities down the track.

Strong children. Strong teenagers. Strong adults. Strong communities.

While I want much work done to improve renal health, among my other top priorities are hearing, eyesight and preventable hospital admissions.

One area where I am also working hard with local communities, especially in the Territory and the Kimberley, is to reduce the wholly unacceptable rate of suicide.

I’ll talk more about mental health shortly, but figures from 2011–15 reveal that 71 per cent of Indigenous suicides were men.

Indigenous males are hospitalised for diagnoses related to alcohol at 4.2 times the rate of non-Indigenous males (July 2013 – June 2015).

Reducing alcohol abuse can result in fewer assaults and less disability and improve the health and wellbeing of the population.

The National Drug Strategy includes the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy to focus on this problem.

Importantly, this initiative has been informed by extensive community consultation.

Tobacco smoking is the most preventable cause of illness and early death among Indigenous men, with 45 per cent of males aged over 15 smoking.

The Government’s $116.8 million Tackling Indigenous Smoking program aims to reduce the uptake of smoking, and increase quit rates.

The successful Don’t Make Smokes Your Story campaign speaks directly to Indigenous smokers. There are encouraging signs, with smoking rates steadily declining every year, and I praise the efforts and commitment of the frontline tobacco workers who have contributed to this improvement.

The Australian Government’s health investments cover key areas of disease burden and risk factors across the entire population, but we give close consideration to what impacts, disproportionately, on Aboriginal and Torres Islander men.

For example, the new Council of Australian Governments National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions prioritises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

The Government will also soon introduce a new National Male Health Initiative – a partnership with Andrology Australia, the Australian Men’s Health Forum, and the Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre.

This new collaboration will identify needs, and develop, disseminate and evaluate health promotion, education and clinical practice activities right across Australia.

Another priority is to increase Indigenous participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program – so next year, a National Indigenous Bowel Screening Pilot will roll out in 50 Indigenous primary health care services.

Instead of receiving the bowel screening kit in the mail, the pilot will ensure general practitioners, nurses and Indigenous health workers directly offer the kits to people and provide follow up support.

The Government also doubled the number of Commonwealth-funded Prostate Cancer Nurses from 14 up to 28, with many of these working in rural and regional Australia.

The Men’s Sheds program is another mainstream program that helps to reduce the social isolation of men.

Priority is given to sheds in disadvantaged areas that focus on the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, which leads me to the point I made earlier, about mental health.

Community-led solutions are the most effective, and although we need to work together nationally, each community will have its own response that will work best for them.

Funding of $85 million, over three years, aims to improve access to culturally sensitive, integrated mental health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

These services will be commissioned locally by local Primary Health Networks, and I have made it clear that they must work closely with the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service sector to achieve the best possible outcomes.

I will continue to work with you to build on the reforms we have in place and ensure more responsibility for decision making rests as close to the community as possible.

Everything we do should be grounded in consultation and founded on evidence – using information and local input to understand where progress is slow, or results have flatlined.

Where we find that using the same old approaches is not making a real difference to people’s lives, I want to partner with local people and organisations like the ones you work for, to tackle these particular challenges head-on.

Together, we will build a better tomorrow – by helping our men own their future health.

Thank you.

NACCHO Aboriginal Male Health #OchreDay2017 Conference @KenWyattMP and @jpatto12 raising awareness of issues in Aboriginal men’s health

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men experience a number of additional challenges compared with non-Indigenous youth and have much higher rates of high/very high levels of psychological distress.

The 2017 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework report paints a disconcerting picture of mental health issues among Aboriginal men, highlighting the need for holistic and culturally appropriate programs to tackle the epidemic,”

John Patterson, Executive Officer, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT (AMSANT), said Australia is currently in the grips of a suicide epidemic, which disproportionately affects young Aboriginal men :

Pictured below with the Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt and Conference Facilitator Dr Mick Adams

see John’s full speech part 2 below

“ Ochre Day aims to raise awareness of issues in Aboriginal men’s health, celebrate the work being done by Aboriginal medical services on the ground in our communities, and encourage indigenous males to have their health checked and seek support,”

Addressing gaps in male Aboriginal health is a key step in reaching the seven targets set by the Council on Australian Governments (COAG) to close the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians,”

Patrick Johnson, Leadership Project Officer, Aboriginal Medical Service Alliance NT said he hoped the two-day policy summit would assist in identifying gaps in male Aboriginal health care and the development and adoption of a national men’s health strategy

NTGPE Senior Cultural Educator Richard Fejo conducted the Welcome to Country.With Onemobdance group linking arms acknowledging their support of eliminating violence against women.

Pictures Normie Gee

Hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and health leaders from across Australia will be meeting  in Darwin for a two-day policy summit on the 4th and 5th October to raise awareness of the suicide epidemic and a plethora of other issues in Aboriginal male health.

Mental health and suicide prevention will be among the key issues addressed at this year’s Ochre Day Policy Summit, which will hear from a number of prominent policy makers and public health experts.

The 2017 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework report cites the 2015 Youth Survey which found that 18% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people surveyed had high levels of concern about suicide (compared with 11% non-Indigenous), 18% were concerned about discrimination (compared with 10% non-indigenous) and one in five reported bullying and emotional abuse as a concern.

The same survey found that young Indigenous males were more likely to report very low levels of happiness (10%) than Indigenous females (5%) or non-Indigenous youth (1.2%).

“Aboriginal people are six times likely to commit suicide than non-Aboriginal people, with the Kimberley region in Western Australia recording one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

“We are talking about whole generations of young Aboriginal men and women who are born into families where suicide is normalised and where the grief from suicide persists across multiple generations,” said Mr Patterson.

The first Ochre Day was held in Canberra in 2013.

This year’s Ochre Day, will feature a major address from The Hon Ken Wyatt MP, Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health, who will present on the five most serious health problems facing Aboriginal men today and what needs to be done to readily address them.

View full Program

final 2017-Ochre-Day-Program

Other presentations at the policy summit include an overview of Aboriginal men’s health, sexual health, intergenerational trauma, family violence, anger management, youth detention, addiction solutions and healing circles.

Mr Johnson said he hoped the two-day policy summit would assist in identifying gaps in male Aboriginal health care and the development and adoption of a national men’s health strategy.

“Addressing gaps in male Aboriginal health is a key step in reaching the seven targets set by the Council on Australian Governments (COAG) to close the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians,” said Mr Johnson.

“Aboriginal men must have the same access to health care as other Australians and in particular, tailored, culturally appropriate programs must be developed to address mental health, social and emotional well being and suicide prevention.

“We need to invest more in grassroots programs delivered by Aboriginal people, for Aboriginal people, if we want to have a fighting chance to turn around the harrowing statistics which have seen too many of our sons, fathers and uncles die young.

“We have made great strides already, however there is much more work to be done before we reach the point where a new generation of young Aboriginal men emerges where issues such as suicide are no longer entrenched and normalised,” said Mr Johnson.

National Ochre Day Opening Remarks – AMSANT CEO, John Paterson

Darwin, 4 October 2017

Firstly, I would like to acknowledge we’re meeting today on Larrakia traditional land and thank Richard and Tony for their welcome.

I would also like to welcome participants to this national Ochre Day event, and to acknowledge dignitaries here with us today

This is an important gathering as it is too seldom that we are able to come together as a group of Aboriginal men to work on how we want to address the health challenges that continue to confront Aboriginal men in Australia today.

NACCHO is to be congratulated for developing Ochre Day as a national opportunity for us to do this.

Over the next two days we will explore our theme “Men’s Health, Our Way. Let’s Own It!” The theme reminds us that we do have to take ownership of our health and, just as importantly, provide leadership in telling government what is needed to bring the health of Aboriginal men up to where it should be.

I don’t need to tell any of you that the state of Aboriginal male health is not good. The gap in life expectancy alone remains far too great. Nationally, while life expectancy for Aboriginal men has increased from just over 67.5 years in 2005-07 to 69.1 years in 2011-12, the gap between Aboriginal men and non-Aboriginal men is still too large at 10.6 years. However, if we look at the gap between Aboriginal men in the Territory and national male life expectancy, the gap is 16.4 years!

It’s important, gathering where we are here in Darwin, in the Northern Territory, that we acknowledge just how significantly worse the health of Aboriginal Territorians is than the health of Aboriginal people nationally. For Aboriginal men in the Territory this translates to a life expectancy that is on average 4 years less than for Aboriginal men nationally.

Overall, the mortality rate for Aboriginal Territorians is 50% higher when compared with Indigenous people interstate, and 85% higher than non-Aboriginal Territorians.

And for Aboriginal men in the Territory, we experience a 10-15% higher mortality than our Aboriginal women.

Clearly, there is a long way to go in closing the health gap for Aboriginal men and achieving the standard of health and wellbeing that we would all like to see.

This raises an important issue. Beyond just the statistics, what does health and wellbeing mean for us as Aboriginal men?

The Aboriginal concept of health is not just an absence of illness. It is not just the physical well-being of an individual. It refers also to the social, emotional, spiritual and cultural well-being of the whole Community. It means each individual being able to achieve their full potential as a human being and contributing to the total well-being of their Community. It is a whole of life view and includes the cyclical concept of life-death-life.

So, when we talk about “Our way” and about “Let’s own it”, we’re talking as much about our spiritual and psychological health as we are about our physical health.

For us to achieve our full potential as human beings, we must deal with the legacies of our own lives, and also the lives of our fathers and grandfathers and the generations before them. Some of these are heavy legacies.

Aboriginal men have been wounded by the impacts since colonisation which devalued our cultures, dispossessed and dislocated our families and communities and introduced diseases.

Our elders lost their roles with authority and status, and young males lost their role models.

This has diminished the status, self-esteem and sense of purpose of Aboriginal males and contributed to alcohol abuse, self-harm and violence.

It has caused trauma to successive generations, and that trauma continues.

The impacts of trauma will be discussed later this morning, but I wanted to raise here one source of impact from recent years that has impacted heavily on Aboriginal men in the Territory – the NT Intervention.

This top-down, punitive attack on Aboriginal communities in the NT, maliciously targeted Aboriginal men as child abusers, as corrupt and devoid of basic humanity. It was used to strip us of our dignity and as an excuse to subject us to coercive controls on our lives and on our communities.

The extent of the damage to communities caused by the Intervention will probably never be fully known, but I do know that every Aboriginal Territorian man in this room will have felt its impact in some way.

As a policy, its failure is perhaps most evident in the billions of dollars spent with so little to show in terms of positive outcomes.

And only in the last couple of years has the tide begun to turn, with governments at both Commonwealth and Territory levels starting to recognise the need to positively re-engage and to work with us. To bring us back into engagement over policy design and decision-making, and hopefully increasingly into delivering our own services to our communities. As we are doing successfully in the Aboriginal community controlled health sector.

Such rethinking by government I’m sure is also mindful of the ongoing failure of recent policy approaches and funding to improve the structural and social factors or the social determinants of health, that underlie poor health outcomes. Housing, education, employment, access to services, unacceptable rates of imprisonment and children in care.

The inescapable fact, as evidenced by the painfully slow progress on Closing the Gap targets, is that a fundamental change in approach must occur. Such change must start with improving support for the positive social determinant enablers: control, empowerment, and the strength of culture and connection with land.

Being healthy builds on strengths and Aboriginal men have many strengths. We are fathers, husbands, brothers and our communities rely on us. We are resilient and we have the opportunity to use that resilience both for the current generation and for young males and the next generations.

It is important that Aboriginal males continue to be active participants in defining our social roles, both within our own communities and in the broader Australian society.

We need to take back responsibility for traditional practices, parenting and spirituality, as these will contribute to better health.

We have to find ways to contribute our knowledge, skills and authority to initiatives and interventions that concern our health.

Events like Ochre Day and putting together Aboriginal Men’s health strategies are one way we can do this.

We will have a significant focus during this Ochre Day conference on issues related to trauma, social and emotional wellbeing and suicide. These are not easy issues to talk about but they are so important to men’s health.  Suicide continues to be a major and avoidable cause of death for Aboriginal men and an issue that we must talk about. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men between 25 and 29 have the highest suicide rates in the entire world, according to a study of youth health released last year.

If anyone is feeling upset or distressed about these conversations, staff from Danila Dilba Health Service are here and you can talk to them about any support you might need. Joseph Knuth is the best person to approach if you need any support at all.

The Conference though will be positive, we will be working on solutions and ideas for the future. We will be taking control!

Today we will hear about men’s health issues and about some of the services that have been developed here in the Northern Territory to bring men into health services in appropriate ways and to empower men to take control of their own health.

We will hear from the top Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal experts in men’s health.

Tomorrow, we will take what we have learned today and start to work towards the future, towards our own solutions and strategies.

We are fortunate to have Dr Mick Adams with us to facilitate discussions towards developing a national Aboriginal men’s health strategy.

This has been a long-held aim in Aboriginal health and has met with considerable difficulty in getting government buy in and commitment.

But we won’t give up, a national strategy is a necessary first step in closing the health gap and building on the strengths of Aboriginal men, families and communities.

I look forward to Dr Adams’ advice and direction on how we might move forward to achieve this.

There will be a lot of opportunity to work together and for all voices to be heard so I encourage everyone to take these opportunities and speak up over the next two days.

Thank you.

 

 

Aboriginal #MentalHealth and #RUOKDay 14 Sept Advanced Speeches : The cause bringing Turnbull and Shorten together

 ” The truth is that mental health is enormously costly, in every respect.

It’s costly for individuals who suffer, its costly to their families but it’s especially costly when people take their own lives.

So we all have a vested interest in each others’ mental health. The most important thing we can do is to look out for each other.

Yes, governments and parliaments and health professionals spend money and trial new approaches and use digital technologies more effectively and we’re doing all these things and we’ll no doubt do much more in the future.

But you know, just four letters ‘R U OK?’ can make a difference. Because they represent another four letters, ‘L O V E’ – love. That’s what it’s about; showing that love and care for the people with whom you are with, whether they are your families, your friends or your workmates. Reach out to them, ask are you okay, show you care.

You could not just change a life, you could save a life.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressing the RUOK Breakfast 12 September

Download his speech or read in full Part 2 Below PM Malcolm Turnbull RUOK

Read over 150 Aboriginal Mental Health articles published by NACCHO over 5 years

” We know that suicide is the scourge of rural and regional communities.

It takes a shocking toll on our people in the bush.

We know the suicide rate is twice as high amongst our First Australians, Pat Dodson has written movingly about those nights when his phone rings with the tragic news that another young person in the Kimberley has taken their life.

There is always time to start a conversation.

I think about all the people that I have known – and I am not sure I could have done anything then to change something.

But I wish that I knew then what I know now, and was able to ask these people: ‘Are you ok?’ “

Opposition Leader  Bill Shorten addressing the RUOK Breakfast 12 September

Download his speech or read in full Part 3 Below Bill Shorten RUOK

Part 1 The cause bringing Turnbull and Shorten together

From SBS Report

When Bill Shorten sat down to prepare some remarks for a parliamentary breakfast on suicide, he reflected on how many people he knew who had taken their own life.

He stopped at about seven.

“The thing about these people I thought about is that they remain forever young,” the opposition leader told an ‘R U Ok?’ gathering at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday.

Mr Shorten said he questioned what he could have done to help them or whether people didn’t see a sign.

He’s not alone. Seven people commit suicide on average every day in Australia.

“It is a silent crisis at the heart of our nation,” he said.

“These are preventable deaths.”

Mr Shorten reflected on veterans who feel let down by the nation they served and young people who feel like they don’t fit in.

The world of social media had created a form of emotional distance, a world of exotic holidays and glamorous events, he noted.

“The challenge is to look beyond the superficial snapshots of endless good times. To go further than simply clicking ‘like’.”

Mr Shorten believes MPs and senators are actually well placed to understand the message of the suicide prevention charity.

“In this very large building with thousands of people it can be a hard and isolating experience.”

“Suicide knows no boundaries, we are all in this together” Professor Gracelyn Smallwood in Townsville

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said suicide prevention was about people but the high statistics demand everyone do much better.

He believes a reluctance to talk about mental health issues – whether because of stigma or taboo – has been a barrier.

“You can’t deal with a problem that you don’t acknowledge,” he said.

Mr Turnbull noted the work of the late Watson’s Bay resident Don Ritchie who invited anxious people at The Gap nearby in for a chat and a cuppa.

“He would gently lure them back from the brink by doing no more than showing that he cared for them,” he said.

“That is why ‘R U Ok?’ day is so important.”

Mr Shorten was glad the event brought the two leaders together.

“It’s a galling thing when you’re leader of the opposition and the prime minister yells slogans at you,” he said.

“But then occasionally sometimes he gives a speech like that and I think ‘you’re not too bad after all’.”

Both agreed the mutual feeling would be over by question time.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Part 2 Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressing the RUOK Breakfast 13 September

Well good morning. It’s great to be here with Andrew Wallace who is standing in for Julian Leeser, who together with Mike Kelly are Co-Chairs of the Friendship Group.

I acknowledge Greg Hunt, the Minister for Health and Sport, Bill Shorten, Julie Collins the Shadow Minister for Ageing and Mental Health, Murray Bleach, the Chairman Suicide Prevention Australia, Mike Connaghan – Chairman of RUOK? and Mike and I were reflecting on how many decades it is since we first met and worked together in advertising but there it is. You’re looking very youthful. That’s what happens if you don’t go into politics.

And of course Professor Batterham is our guest speaker this morning – and so many other leaders in health and in suicide prevention, and of course all my Parliamentary colleagues here as well.

Now we’re all united here behind Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK? Day. Suicide Prevention Day was on Sunday and R U OK? Day is later this week.

Each year, around one in every five Australians experience mental illness and in 2015, more than 3,000 took their own life.

Now, suicide is about people, it’s about families, not numbers. But the statistics confront us all and call on us to do much better.

I am firmly of the view that our reluctance to talk about mental health issues – whether you call it a stigma or a taboo – has been a very real barrier to addressing this issue. You can’t deal with a problem that you do not acknowledge.

So we have started to talk about suicide and mental health and in an open and honest way, as we have not done in the past.

Now my own electorate of Wentworth includes one of the most beautiful yet tragic places in Australia, The Gap. It is a place where many, many Australians take their lives. A part of The Gap story until he died in 2012 was an extraordinary man called Don Ritchie who was an old sailor and also very tall, I might add.

For the best part of half a century, he lived near The Gap and when he would go for walks and he saw somebody there – anxious, perhaps standing on the wrong side of the fence – he would talk to them.

He would say: “Are you OK? How are you going? Do you want to have a chat? Do you want to come in and have a cup of tea?” He would gently lure them back from the brink by doing no more than showing that he cared for them.

That is why ‘R U OK? Day?’ is so important. Because what it is all about, is showing that we do care. Four letters ‘R U O K’ import so much. They send a message of love, they send a message of care. Critically important and what could be more Australian than looking out for your mates? Or looking out for people you don’t even know? Looking out for somebody who seems anxious, worried, or someone at work that isn’t quite themselves. It is a caring and a loving question. And it raises very prominently this issue of awareness, to the forefront.

At Gap Park for example, as the local Member, I’ve pushed for more funding and support for suicide prevention. Since 2010 there has been implemented a ‘Gap Master Plan’ and I want to acknowledge the support that Julia Gillard provided as Prime Minister to support the local government, the Woollahra Council, towards that funding.

It was a series of measures of signs, telephones, obviously of cameras so that the police can keep an eye on what’s going on there and also a very innovative design in defences that are hard to get over, but easier to get back over, if you know what I mean.

So all of this makes a difference and since 2010 the local police tell me there has been a significant increase in the number of successful interventions at The Gap. But still, far, far too many people die there and in many other places around Australia.

Now, we’re working better to understand the factors that have contributed to rising suicide rates and to support communities to respond to their own unique circumstances.

We’re committed to reducing suicide rates through regional trials, research and building the evidence base with flexible models that address regional needs and work in our local communities.

This includes the implementation of 12 regional suicide prevention trial sites in Townsville, the Kimberley and Darwin and other places. Digital innovation trials and ten lead sites to trial different care models. All looking to see what actually works.

We’re also investing a great deal more in mental health and making services more effective, accessible and tailored to local needs.

Since 2016, we’ve invested an additional $367.5 million in mental health and suicide prevention support.

That includes a $194.5 million election package towards building a modern 21st century mental health system and our $173 million in new funding in the 2017‑18 Budget and $58.6 million to expand mental health and suicide prevention services for current and ex-serving ADF members and their families.

So we’re putting existing resources to work. But you know, the most important resource is you, is all of us. You know my very good friend and a good friend of all of yours, I know, Ian Hickie has got a great concept. He talks about the ‘mental wealth of nations’, sort of elaborating from Adam Smith.

The truth is that mental health is enormously costly, in every respect.

It’s costly for individuals who suffer, its costly to their families but it’s especially costly when people take their own lives.

So we all have a vested interest in each others’ mental health. The most important thing we can do is to look out for each other.

Yes, governments and parliaments and health professionals spend money and trial new approaches and use digital technologies more effectively and we’re doing all these things and we’ll no doubt do much more in the future.

But you know, just four letters ‘R U OK?’ can make a difference. Because they represent another four letters, ‘L O V E’ – love. That’s what it’s about; showing that love and care for the people with whom you are with, whether they are your families, your friends or your workmates. Reach out to them, ask are you okay, show you care. You could not just change a life, you could save a life.

Thank you very much.

Part 3 Opposition Leader  Bill Shorten addressing the RUOK Breakfast 13 September

Good morning everybody.

I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, I pay my respect to their elders both past and present.

I’m actually going to spend a moment on what the Prime Minister said and thank him for his words.

It’s a galling thing when you’re Leader of the Opposition that the Prime Minister yells slogans at you one day, and you think oh why did he do that?

But then occasionally he gives a speech like that and I think, you’re not too bad after all.

It really was a good set of words.

Mind you, by Question Time that thought will be erased.

I’d like to thank Mike Kelly and Andrew Wallace filling in for Julian Leeser for bringing all of us here today.

We’ve got the Shadow Minister Julie Collins and we’ve got the Minister Greg Hunt.

Yesterday afternoon when I was preparing my words for this morning, I stopped to think about people I’d known who’d taken their own lives. And you start to construct that list.

I’m sure I’m not unique. I think most Australians find out after the event, someone they liked or loved has taken their own life.

As I got thinking about it, I could think of about seven people I knew. I actually stopped there. Because I knew the longer I thought, I could think of families with their kids and other people.

The thing about these people I thought about, is that they remain forever young.

You can still imagine them. You can remember not everything that you should, but you can remember some of their jokes perhaps, some of their ideas, some of their abilities.

I think about RUOK and I thought what could we have done then, what could I have done then?

And what has been done today to help this be prevented in the future.

I think about each of these people, and I went through the process of writing down their names just to start reconstructing.

Because you don’t always think about the people who have passed, you move on, the events move on.

And I think, was there some sign that they weren’t well? Was there some signal, some marker?

Is there something you could have done differently?

Some of the people I think of were teenagers, highly-talented. They seemed to be very successful at everything they did. But inside they were battling illness and great, great depression.

And when I thought about seven people I could think of I was reminded that seven Australians take their life on average every day, and possibly seven more will today. Every single day.

It is a silent crisis at the heart of our nation.

I’m sure all of you have sat with parents at their table when they’re numb with incomprehension, when they’re shattered by grief.

When they’re trying to write words to say farewell to their child or their adult child, taken too soon.

I still recall a school assembly where the school captain or someone very senior in the school said he died on a train, that’s what we were told. It was only years after that I found out that was the way the school dealt with the fact that he had taken his own life.

And you do think about what you could have done.

I think about veterans who are let down by the nation that they served.

Seven Australians – every day.

And what I wanted to say is that these are preventable deaths – we are not talking about a terminal condition, some dreadful metastasising cancer spread throughout a human body.

These deaths are preventable, there is nothing inevitable about suicide.

And we know that expert assistance can make the difference but it is in short supply.

Our emergency departments work very well. If you turn up with say chest pains, terrible chest pains I reckon nearly all of the time you’ll get the right diagnosis and the care is there.

When I was talking to Professor Pat McGorry who is here today, you know and he worries that you can turn up to an emergency department and you’ve got a very serious case of potential self-harm, or as a suicide risk.

Do we have the resources there to the same proportion as a medical condition, another medical condition? I don’t think we do.

And I know every Member of Parliament here regardless of their political affiliation will have constituents who come to them desperate, red-eyed saying I’ve got a child, an adult child who really needs that sub-acute care. And the search for the beds that aren’t there.

We know that suicide is the scourge of rural and regional communities.

It takes a shocking toll on our people in the bush.

We know the suicide rate is twice as high amongst our First Australians, Pat Dodson has written movingly about those nights when his phone rings with the tragic news that another young person in the Kimberley has taken their life.

We know, as Mike Kelly alluded to, that suicide is more common and more frequently attempted by young LGBTI Australians grappling with their sexuality, fearing rejection.

Completely alienated and unsure of where they fit in.

And we all do have a responsibility to call-out that hateful discrimination and language, particularly in the weeks ahead.

The simple truth is no part of our nation has a wall tall enough to keep the scourge of suicide from that postcode. Suicide is no respecter of ethnicity, of income.

It does not care which god you pray to, or who you love, it affects every Australian and therefore it is within the power of every Australian to do something about it.

We live in a world where it has been easier than ever to see what our friends and our family are up to.

I remember when I was a backpacker 25 years ago, I could be back home before any of the postcards which I had sent to Mum and Dad.

These days you feel like you’re on everybody else’s holiday half the time, as soon as you turn on the computer.

Australians aged between 15 and 24 spend an average of around 18 hours a week online.

And while social media has a tremendous ability to bring us closer together, Instagram,

Facebook and Snapchat also create emotional distance. A carefully-curated view of each other’s lives: exotic holidays, glamorous events, fun nights out, fancy meals.

We have now got a situation where before teenagers will eat the food, they will photograph it.

But the challenge for us is to look beyond the superficial snapshots of endless good times, to go further than simply clicking ‘like’ and scrolling on down the feed.

It’s about digging a bit deeper.

And in conclusion, that’s why we are here.

It’s time to make that call, to send a message, to drop-in for a visit – to really see how someone is going.

I actually think Parliamentarians are well placed to understand RUOK Day.

We’ve all seen our own challenges with mental health, I think previously in this parliament.

In this very large building with thousands of people, it can be hard and isolating experience.

It is important that RUOK day occurs because it is a reminder that we need to distinguish and not let the urgent distract us from the important.

There is always time to

  • Ask
  • Listen
  • Encourage action
  • And check-in

There is always time to start a conversation.

I think about all the people that I have known – and I am not sure I could have done anything then to change something.

But I wish that I knew then what I know now, and was able to ask these people: ‘Are you ok?’