Submission into Mental Health from the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector, comprising: National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO); Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC); Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO); Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC); Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia (AHCSA); Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA); Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC); Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT); and Winnunga Nimmityjah Health and Community Services.
This submission is written on behalf of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector. It outlines the prevalence of mental health issues, how they arise, how mental ill-health impacts an individual’s participation in community, and how ACCHOs are best placed to achieve outcomes relating to mental health.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples suffer disproportionately from mental health conditions compared to non-Indigenous Australians. This impedes the ability of individuals and communities to prosper. Disconnection from culture, intergenerational trauma, and enduring systemic racism are contributory factors to the deterioration of the mental health of our people.
- The submission recommends that Federal, State and Territory governments work with NACCHO and the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector to fully support and further develop the work ACCHOs currently do in improving the mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- It is recommended governments enact and support the implementation of the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration Implementation Guide.
- Suicide is now the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 14-34.
- Many of our Elders are within living memory of immensely traumatic events. Patterns of trauma often iterate across generations and create cycles which must be identified and broken. The impact of trauma needs to be considered when assessing, treating and referring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The concerns raised in this submission have been voiced by the Sector for years. NACCHO and its Sector Support Organisations urge the Productivity Commission to recognise and support the work that has been done and continues to be done by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and their representatives in addressing the issues of our people.