Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) provided a submission to Western Australian Government’s development of a State Women’s Health and Wellbeing Policy as part of its commitment to achieving the shared vision and strategic priorities of the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-2030. AHCWA has been represented on the Western Australian Women’s Health and Wellbeing Policy Working Group and, further to verbal advice already provided, provided this submission with formal written feedback on the policy.
- AHCWA strongly advises that the policy be amended to recognise the importance of (Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Centres) ACCHSs in the WA health sector, and to highlight the opportunities ACCHSs present for improving health outcomes for Aboriginal women.
- AHCWA recommends careful consideration be given to the selection of statistics demonstrating health challenges and outcomes for Aboriginal woman. Infographics must send a clear message on women’s health issues and must not be ambiguous or open to misinterpretation.
- Mainstream concepts of mental health and mental illness are limited in considering all factors impacting on wellness. As noted by the draft policy, Aboriginal people prefer the concept of social and emotional wellbeing as it is based on a holistic view of health. AHCWA recommends providing mental health support for Aboriginal women from a social and emotional wellbeing perspective as this is most likely to result in better outcomes.
- ACCHS are best placed to provide social and emotional wellbeing services and support for Aboriginal women, and to drive the outcomes the policy aims to achieve.
- AHCWA recommends that any women’s health programs targeting chronic conditions which may involve Aboriginal women, ensure information about the program is provided in culturally appropriate language.