NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealth and #SuicidePrevention : @ozprodcom issues paper on #MentalHealth in Australia is now available. It asks a range of questions which they seek information and feedback on. Submissions or comments are due by Friday 5 April.

 ” Many Australians experience difficulties with their mental health. Mental illness is the single largest contributor to years lived in ill-health and is the third largest contributor (after cancer and cardiovascular conditions) to a reduction in the total years of healthy life for Australians (AIHW 2016).

Almost half of all Australian adults have met the diagnostic criteria for an anxiety, mood or substance use disorder at some point in their lives, and around 20% will meet the criteria in a given year (ABS 2008). This is similar to the average experience of developed countries (OECD 2012, 2014).”

Download the PC issues paper HERE mental-health-issues

See Productivity Commission Website for More info 

“Clearly Australia’s mental health system is failing Aboriginal people, with Aboriginal communities devastated by high rates of suicide and poorer mental health outcomes. Poor mental health in Aboriginal communities often stems from historic dispossession, racism and a poor sense of connection to self and community. 

It is compounded by people’s lack of access to meaningful and ongoing education and employment. Drug and alcohol related conditions are also commonly identified in persons with poor mental health.

NACCHO Chairperson, Matthew Cooke 2015 Read in full Here 

Read over 200 Aboriginal Mental Health Suicide Prevention articles published by NACCHO over the past 7 years 

Despite a plethora of past reviews and inquiries into mental health in Australia, and positive reforms in services and their delivery, many people are still not getting the support they need to maintain good mental health or recover from episodes of mental ill‑health. Mental health in Australia is characterised by:

  • more than 3 100 deaths from suicide in 2017, an average of almost 9 deaths per day, and a suicide rate for Indigenous Australians that is much higher than for other Australians (ABS 2018)
  • for those living with a mental illness, lower average life expectancy than the general population with significant comorbidity issues — most early deaths of psychiatric patients are due to physical health conditions
  • gaps in services and supports for particular demographic groups, such as youth, elderly people in aged care facilities, Indigenous Australians, individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds, and carers of people with a mental illness
  • a lack of continuity in care across services and for those with episodic conditions who may need services and supports on an irregular or non-continuous basis
  • a variety of programs and supports that have been successfully trialled or undertaken for small populations but have been discontinued or proved difficult to scale up for broader benefits
  • significant stigma and discrimination around mental ill-health, particularly compared with physical illness.

The Productivity Commission has been asked to undertake an inquiry into the role of mental health in supporting social and economic participation, and enhancing productivity and economic growth (these terms are defined, for the purpose of this inquiry, in box 1).

By examining mental health from a participation and contribution perspective, this inquiry will essentially be asking how people can be enabled to reach their potential in life, have purpose and meaning, and contribute to the lives of others. That is good for individuals and for the whole community.

Background

In 2014-15, four million Australians reported having experienced a common mental disorder.

Mental health is a key driver of economic participation and productivity in Australia, and hence has the potential to impact incomes and living standards and social engagement and connectedness. Improved population mental health could also help to reduce costs to the economy over the long term.

Australian governments devote significant resources to promoting the best possible mental health and wellbeing outcomes. This includes the delivery of acute, recovery and rehabilitation health services, trauma informed care, preventative and early intervention programs, funding non-government organisations and privately delivered services, and providing income support, education, employment, housing and justice. It is important that policy settings are sustainable, efficient and effective in achieving their goals.

Employers, not-for-profit organisations and carers also play key roles in the mental health of Australians. Many businesses are developing initiatives to support and maintain positive mental health outcomes for their employees as well as helping employees with mental illhealth continue to participate in, or return to, work.

Scope of the inquiry

The Commission should consider the role of mental health in supporting economic participation, enhancing productivity and economic growth. It should make recommendations, as necessary, to improve population mental health, so as to realise economic and social participation and productivity benefits over the long term.

Without limiting related matters on which the Commission may report, the Commission should:

  • examine the effect of supporting mental health on economic and social participation, productivity and the Australian economy;
  • examine how sectors beyond health, including education, employment, social services, housing and justice, can contribute to improving mental health and economic participation and productivity;
  • examine the effectiveness of current programs and Initiatives across all jurisdictions to improve mental health, suicide prevention and participation, including by governments, employers and professional groups;
  • assess whether the current investment in mental health is delivering value for money and the best outcomes for individuals, their families, society and the economy;
  • draw on domestic and international policies and experience, where appropriate; and
  • develop a framework to measure and report the outcomes of mental health policies and investment on participation, productivity and economic growth over the long term.

The Commission should have regard to recent and current reviews, including the 2014 Review of National Mental Health Programmes and Services undertaken by the National Mental Health Commission and the Commission’s reviews into disability services and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Issues Paper
The Commission has released this issues paper to assist individuals and organisations to participate in the inquiry. It contains and outlines:

  • the scope of the inquiry
  • matters about which we are seeking comment and information
  • how to share your views on the terms of reference and the matters raised.

Participants should not feel that they are restricted to comment only on matters raised in the issues paper. We want to receive information and comment on any issues that participants consider relevant to the inquiry’s terms of reference.

Key inquiry dates

Receipt of terms of reference 23 November 2018
Initial consultations November 2018 to April 2019
Initial submissions due 5 April 2019
Release of draft report Timing to be advised
Post draft report public hearings Timing to be advised
Submissions on the draft report due Timing to be advised
Consultations on the draft report November 2019 to February 2020
Final report to Government 23 May 2020

Submissions and brief comments can be lodged

Online (preferred): https://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/mental-health/submissions
By post: Mental Health Inquiry
Productivity Commission
GPO Box 1428, Canberra City, ACT 2601

Contacts

Inquiry matters: Tracey Horsfall Ph: 02 6240 3261
Freecall number: Ph: 1800 020 083
Website: http://www.pc.gov.au/mental-health

Subscribe for inquiry updates

To receive emails updating you on the inquiry consultations and releases, subscribe to the inquiry at: http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/mentalhealth/subscribe

 

 Definition of key terms
Mental health is a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

Mental illness or mental disorder is a health problem that significantly affects how a person feels, thinks, behaves and interacts with other people. It is diagnosed according to standardised criteria.

Mental health problem refers to some combination of diminished cognitive, emotional, behavioural and social abilities, but not to the extent of meeting the criteria for a mental illness/disorder.

Mental ill-health refers to diminished mental health from either a mental illness/disorder or a mental health problem.

Social and economic participation refers to a range of ways in which people contribute to and have the resources, opportunities and capability to learn, work, engage with and have a voice in the community. Social participation can include social engagement, participation in decision making, volunteering, and working with community organisations. Economic participation can include paid employment (including self-employment), training and education.

Productivity measures how much people produce from a given amount of effort and resources. The greater their productivity, the higher their incomes and living standards will tend to be.

Economic growth is an increase in the total value of goods and services produced in an economy. This can be achieved, for example, by raising workforce participation and/or productivity.

Sources: AIHW (2018b); DOHA (2013); Gordon et al. (2015); PC (2013, 2016, 2017c); SCRGSP (2018); WHO (2001).

An improvement in an individual’s mental health can provide flow-on benefits in terms of increased social and economic participation, engagement and connectedness, and productivity in employment (figure 1).

This can in turn enhance the wellbeing of the wider community, including through more rewarding relationships for family and friends; a lower burden on informal carers; a greater contribution to society through volunteering and working in community groups; increased output for the community from a more productive workforce; and an associated expansion in national income and living standards. These raise the capacity of the community to invest in interventions to improve mental health, thereby completing a positive reinforcing loop.

The inquiry’s terms of reference (provided at the front of this paper) were developed by the Australian Government in consultation with State and Territory Governments. The terms of reference ask the Commission to make recommendations to improve population mental health so as to realise higher social and economic participation and contribution benefits over the long term.

Assessing the consequences of mental ill-health

The costs of mental ill-health for both individuals and the wider community will be assessed, as well as how these costs could be reduced through changes to the way governments and others deliver programs and supports to facilitate good mental health.

The Commission will consider the types of costs summarised in figure 4. These will be assessed through a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis, drawing on available data and cost estimates, and consultations with inquiry participants and topic experts. We welcome the views of inquiry participants on other costs that we should take into account.

 

NACCHO #HealthElection16 : Parliamentary inquiry calls for royal commission into #Indigenous #suicide

IP-Feb16-fig1

“If we don’t have a royal commission into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicides, we are going have more suicides, the trends are going to keep on going up, we are going to keep on losing more lives.

We’re already losing more than five per cent of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population nationally to suicide. That’s abominable, that’s a humanitarian, a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.”

Suicide prevention worker, Gerry Georgatos, told politicians national action is needed via ABC PM

Photo above Centre for Suicide Prevention

“Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell today announced the first three of a total of seven suicide prevention co-ordinators scheduled for placement in Western Australia in 2016.

Co-ordinators will be placed in the Goldfields, Wheatbelt and South-West regions in the first phase of a $3.5 million initiative to promote suicide prevention, and increase community resilience and ability to respond to suicide”

WA Government Press Release see below

TONY EASTLEY: A West Australian parliamentary inquiry has been told a royal commission is needed to address the state’s Indigenous suicide rate.

The inquiry was launched after the death of a 10-year-old girl in a remote Kimberley community earlier this year.

Anthony Stewart has more.

ANTHONY STEWART: An estimated one in 19 Aboriginal people from WA will commit suicide.

State Parliament is examining the crisis, but today, suicide prevention worker, Gerry Georgatos, told politicians national action is needed.

GERRY GEORGATOS: If we don’t have a royal commission into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicides, we are going have more suicides, the trends are going to keep on going up, we are going to keep on losing more lives.

We’re already losing more than five per cent of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population nationally to suicide. That’s abominable, that’s a humanitarian, a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

ANTHONY STEWART: WA was shocked into grappling with the issue after a 10-year-old girl committed suicide in March.

The child’s death in the remote Kimberley community of Looma, pushed the WA Parliament to establish an inquiry into youth suicides.

At today’s hearing, committee members repeatedly questioned those giving evidence about the merits of a royal commission.

Dr Graham Jacob chairs the inquiry.

GRAHAM JACOB: We have an open mind to that and we will continue to consider it and hopefully we will have our recommendations around November, before the end of the year.

ANTHONY STEWART: Late last year, the Federal Government established a critical incident team to help WA communities in the immediate aftermath of a suicide.

Evidence presented at the hearing has detailed how the team responded to three suicides in close succession just before Christmas in the Goldfields community of Leonora.

Adele Cox is part of the team which responded.

ADELE COX: Suicide in a lot of our communities, and particularly for young people, sadly has become quite normalised. You know, if something goes wrong, you know, that’s sort of one of the options that’s considered. We actually need to turn that around completely so that, you know, our kids never have suicide as a thought or an option.

ANTHONY STEWART: Ms Cox is also Bunuba and Gija woman from the Kimberley.

She called for more action within Aboriginal communities

ADELE COX: One suicide is one too many. You know, what does it take before we actually get some real change. Greater commitment from both governments, but also I think our own communities, you know. Ultimately as the keepers of our people, you know, we need to take some responsibility in terms of responding to our own mob’s needs as well.

ANTHONY STEWART: The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody is now 25 years old.

Recommendations like the creation of the custody notification service continue to prevent Indigenous deaths in police watch-houses.

Gerry Georgatos says a similar level of national debate is needed to prevent suicides.

GERRY GEORGATOS: A royal commission, on the one hand, will help shift that national consciousness, will help educate the nation, but more importantly, will avail the nation, will avail the bureaucrats, will avail the policy-makers, will avail the parliamentarians, to what works in suicide prevention, and what type of political reform we need.

ANTHONY STEWART: To underline the urgency of this inquiry’s work, it was today informed there was another suicide in the Kimberley at the weekend.

This death happened in a community just visited by one of the politicians.

TONY EASTLEY: Anthony Stewart with that report.

And if you or anyone you know needs help you can call

Lifeline on 13 11 14,

FUNDING FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION CO-ORDINATORS

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

  • New suicide prevention co-ordinator roles for Goldfields, South-West and Wheatbelt
  • First phase of major $3.5 million initiative

Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell today announced the first three of a total of seven suicide prevention co-ordinators scheduled for placement in Western Australia in 2016.

Co-ordinators will be placed in the Goldfields, Wheatbelt and South-West regions in the first phase of a $3.5 million initiative to promote suicide prevention, and increase community resilience and ability to respond to suicide.

“These new positions fulfil a number of actions identified as part of the Liberal National Government’s Suicide Prevention 2020 Strategy,” Ms Mitchell said.

“These new co-ordinators will be facilitators to assist services on the ground to work in partnership to improve support and care for those affected by suicide and suicide attempts.

“While there is a range of support services available for people in crisis in regional areas, these new positions will increase the capacity of communities to identify and respond to suicide and related mental health issues as well as to promote suicide prevention services and initiatives.

“Co-ordinators will promote suicide prevention training and self-help activities to at-risk groups, as well as training for professionals and to first responders to a suicide.”

The Minister said phase two of the program, which would place co-ordinators in the Kimberley and Mid-West, would be announced soon, and the placement of two co-ordinators in the metropolitan area was also expected later in 2016.

The Mental Health Commission has signed agreements with Holyoake in the Wheatbelt, Hope Community Services in the Goldfields and St John of God Health Care in the South-West.

Fact File

  • The Liberal National Government’s $25.9 million suicide prevention strategy, Suicide Prevention 2020, includes six action areas, including providing local support and community prevention across the lifespan
  • On average, in WA one person loses their life to suicide each day

NACCHO Indigenous Suicide Prevention : Assistance is needed for important research project

MU

“Once developed, these guidelines will provide guidance on giving appropriate support to members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who are having suicidal thoughts or engaging in self-harming behaviours. They will be used to inform the content of gatekeeper training for people to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention.”

Indigenous Suicide Prevention

Do you have expertise in suicide or self-injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?

If yes, your assistance is needed for an important research project 

What does the project involve?

Researchers at the The University of Melbourne are seeking up to 30 expert panel members for a research project to develop guidelines on how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and non-Aboriginal frontline workers can provide mental health first aid for people who are having suicidal thoughts or displaying self-harming behaviour. These guidelines will empower them to take action to reduce the risk of suicide and self-injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and adults.

Who are we looking for?

To become a panel member you need to be aged 18 years or over, identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, as well as having an expert level of knowledge about suicide and/or self-injury through your experience working in this field amongst Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities. If you meet these criteria, we would really appreciate your help with what we believe to be an extremely important and worthwhile project.

Can I let other people know about the project?

We also encourage you to forward this advertisement to all relevant contacts who you believe meet these criteria and would be interested in participating.

What do I have to give and what do I receive?

The total time commitment for this project is estimated to be approximately 2-3 hours. Participation will involve completing 6 online surveys (3 on suicide and 3 on self-injury), rating mental health first aid helping actions according to their importance to be included in the guidelines. Upon completion of the final survey, you will be reimbursed $250 for your time in the form of a Coles Group & Myer gift card. You are not required to attend any meetings, as all contact will be via the internet, or if you prefer, by paper mail.

What will be done with the guidelines?

Once developed, these guidelines will provide guidance on giving appropriate support to members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who are having suicidal thoughts or engaging in self-harming behaviours. They will be used to inform the content of gatekeeper training for people to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention. The guidelines will be freely available to download from the Mental Health First Aid website: www.mhfa.com.au

What about confidentiality?

All information about participants will remain strictly confidential. We are interested in the consensus views of the panel, rather than the views of individual panel members, so individual answers will never be reported.

How do I get involved?

If you would like to express interest in participating in this research, please email the study co-ordinator Gregory Armstrong at g.armstrong@unimelb.edu.au for a copy of the plain language statement, which provides further information.

Sincerely

Professor Anthony Jorm

Professorial Fellow and NHMRC Australia Fellow

Centre for Mental Health

Melbourne School of Population and Global Health

Level 4, 207 Bouverie Street

The University of Melbourne  l 3010

T: +61 3 9035 7799

E: ajorm@unimelb.edu.au

 

Professor Kerry Arabena

Chair of Indigenous Health

Director Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit

Centre for Health and Society

Melbourne School of Population and Global Health

Level 4, 207 Bouverie Street

The University of Melbourne  l 3010

T: +61 3 90353033+61 3 90353033

E: kerry.arabena@unimelb.edu.au

 

Betty Kitchener AM

CEO

Mental Health First Aid Australia

369 Royal Parade

Parkville  l 3052

T: +61 3 90790201+61 3 90790201

E: bettyk@mhfa.com.au

 

<!–
 
 –>

NACCHO Political news :Reducing Aboriginal incarceration rates.Closing gap is ‘not the only way’ Mundine

611900-51405c18-9ddb-11e3-b0f0-c1d617d9b2b1

THE head of the Prime Minister’s indigenous council, Warren Mundine, says he does not believe reducing levels of indigenous incarceration should become a formal Closing the Gap target, despite the large number of Aborigines in jails being high on his agenda.

PATRICIA KARVELAS  From: The Australian Picture There is no doubt that incarceration rates need to be dealt with’, Warren Mundine said. Source: AFP

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience suicide at around twice the rate of the rest of the population. Aboriginal teenage men and women are up to 5.9 times more likely to take their own lives than non-Aboriginal people.

REFER PREVIOUS Justin Mohamed Chair NACCHO commenting on the crisis 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health: Estimated 400 suicides in our communities in last three years

This is a crisis affecting our young people. It’s critical real action is taken to urgently  address the issue and it’was heartening to see the previous Federal Government taking steps to do that.

For any strategy to be effective, local, community-led healthcare needs to be at its core.

But so far we have not heard from this Government on the future of The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group and the $17.8 million over four years in funding to reduce the incidence of suicidal and self-harming behaviour among Indigenous people.”

Justin Mohamed Chair NACCHO

Mr Mundine is this week in Parliament House meeting politicians in an effort to revitalise the bipartisan approach to indigenous affairs. Yesterday he met with Labor’s first indigenous MP, Nova Peris, who is also the deputy chair of the committee charged with coming up with a form of words to change the Constitution to recognise indigenous Australians.

But Mr Mundine has rejected a push by indigenous groups lobbying for a new justice target, arguing Closing the Gap targets are not the only way to deliver big change.

It comes as the Abbott government has said it was considering a target to reduce indigenous incarceration rates as a new Closing the Gap measure. Labor promised the new target during the election campaign, and the Coalition offered bipartisan support but has since been silent on the issue.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said the government had not made a final decision but was committed to reducing incarceration rates.

“There is no doubt that we have to decrease the number of kids going into detention centres but I don’t want it to become about just numbers decreasing, it’s about how do we keep people out of the prison system and how do we work upon jobs and education programs – that’s the main focus.

“There is no doubt that incarceration rates need to be dealt with, but we need to be dealing with it in a very constructive way about decreasing crime and decreasing the number of people who are getting arrested and going to jail and how you overdo that is to break this cycle of crime.”

He said he did want “proper data” on detention and jail rates.

“I think people get too much fixation on the Closing the Gap targets, everyone knows I’m a supporter of decreasing incarceration rates but let’s just start doing it.”

He said he had become concerned that the bipartisan approach to Aboriginal affairs was breaking down.

“I want to start having the conversation with the opposition because we need to have the government and the opposition onside. The main issues on our agenda are schooling, jobs and education and health and incarceration and I want to tell them that we need to be working together and I am going to make this happen.”

Mr Mundine’s broader indigenous council has now backed proposals put forward by him, including job and training placements for indigenous teenagers in juvenile detention, first in Western Australia, then nationally.

Mr Mundine said the council’s focus must be on the missing and disengaged young people who were neither in school nor work.

Mr Mundine said a proposal by mining magnate Andrew Forrest to stop young indigenous people obtaining welfare had merit but there were scores of youth not receiving welfare because they relied on family and friends.

“There’s about 40,000 to 50,000 people not in the Centrelink system or in employment so what they’re doing is they’re living off their families,” Mr Mundine said.

“We’ve got to put in place processes to make sure they don’t go into criminal activity.”

summit-2014-banner

ABSTRACT SUBMISSIONS  AND REGISTRATIONS NOW OPEN

NACCHO SEWB News: NACCHO CEO appointed to new Aboriginal Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group

Lisa Final

Pictured above NACCHO CEO Ms Lisa Briggs appointed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group.

Please note: Official Goverment release is included below

NACCHO as a member The Close the Gap Campaign today welcomed a significant mental health milestone:  the establishment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group.

The new ministerial advisory body, co-chaired by Dr Tom Calma AO and Professor Pat Dudgeon, is the first of its kind in Australia.

The other members of the new Group are (alphabetically): Mr Tom Brideson, Ms Lisa Briggs, Mr Ashley Couzens, Ms Adele Cox, Ms Katherine Hams, Ms Victoria Hovane, Professor Ernest Hunter, Mr Rod Little, Associate Professor Peter O’Mara, Mr Charles Passi, Ms Valda Shannon and Dr Marshall Watson.

It will provide expert advice to government on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention.

Close the Gap co-chair and Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda, said the group will help drive reform in mental health and suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Improving mental health and suicide prevention is fundamental to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health overall, and to closing the health and life expectancy gap with other Australians,” Mr Gooda said.

Mr Gooda said the advisory body would help ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people benefit from national mental health reforms and the significant investment in mental health in recent years.

He said the advisory body would also improve strategic responses to suicide and mental health by enabling partnerships between government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts in social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are experiencing mental health problems at almost double the rate of other Australians.

“Addressing difficult and entrenched challenges like this mental health gap requires long term and sustained commitment and a truly bipartisan approach.

“It is particularly important as we move into a Federal election that closing the gap remains a national project that is supported and sustained beyond electoral cycles,” Mr Gooda said.

 Commonwealth Coat of Arms

THE HON MARK BUTLER MP ,THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP, JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

NEW HIGH-LEVEL GROUP ADVISE ON TACKLING INDIGENOUS SUICIDE

A new expert group has been set up to advise the Federal Government on improving mental health and suicide prevention programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group will be chaired by two eminent Aboriginal experts in the field, Prof Pat Dudgeon, recognised as Australia’s first Indigenous psychologist, and human rights campaigner Dr Tom Calma AO, the new chancellor of the University of Canberra.

The new Group will advise on practical and strategic ways to improve Indigenous mental health and social and emotional wellbeing.

The Group met for the first time in Canberra today to discuss its priorities, including implementation of the recently released National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy.

Also on the agenda for the inaugural meeting are the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan and the renewed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Wellbeing Framework.

Professor Dudgeon is from the Bardi people of the Kimberley and is known for her passionate work in psychology and Indigenous issues, including her leadership in higher education.  Currently she is a research fellow and an associate professor at the University of Western Australia.

Dr Calma is an elder of the Kungarakan tribal group and a member of the Iwaidja tribal group in the Northern Territory. He was appointed National Coordinator of Tackling Indigenous Smoking three years ago.

Previously, he was Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2004 to 2010 and served as Race Discrimination Commissioner from 2004 until 2009.

The other members of the new Group are (alphabetically): Mr Tom Brideson, Ms Lisa Briggs, Mr Ashley Couzens, Ms Adele Cox, Ms Katherine Hams, Ms Victoria Hovane, Professor Ernest Hunter, Mr Rod Little, Associate Professor Peter O’Mara, Mr Charles Passi, Ms Valda Shannon and Dr Marshall Watson.

The Federal Labor Government’s commitment to reducing high levels of suicide within Indigenous communities was highlighted by its development and recent release of Australia’s first National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy.

The Strategy is supported by $17.8 million over four years in new funding to reduce the incidence of suicidal and self-harming behaviour among Indigenous people.

This builds on the Labor Government’s broad strategic investment in suicide prevention, as outlined in the Taking Action to Tackle Suicide package and the National Suicide Prevention Program which, together, include $304.2 million in vital programs and services across Australia.

Funding already allocated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs under these two national suicide programs, includes:

  • $4.6 million for community-led suicide prevention initiatives.
  • $150,000 for enhanced psychological services for Indigenous communities in the Kimberley Region, through the Access to Allied Psychological Services program.
  • $6 million for targeted suicide prevention interventions.

Media contact: Tim O’Halloran (Butler) – 0409 059 617/Marcus Butler (Snowdon) – 0417 917 796