15 March 2018

To mark National Close the Gap Day 2018, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH) are launching two important documents for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention. 

The first is NATSILMH’s Health in Culture - Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration Implementation Guide.  

This a comprehensive guide for governments and organisations across the mental health system to implementing the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration as required by Article 12.3 of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan. NATSILMH launched the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration in 2015. It champions a ‘best of both worlds’ approach that supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ choice of cultural and clinical treatment for mental health difficulties as the path to the best mental health outcomes. It further champions the presence and visibility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers and leaders across the mental health system as a primary way of achieving this.

The second is NATSILMH’s Health in Culture – Policy Concordance

The value of the Policy Concordance is that it will now be possible to ascertain what documents as diverse as the Fifth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, the Social and Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Framework, the Cultural Respect Framework, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan and the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration, among many others, require of Australian governments, PHNs and the mental health system overall. The Concordance aims to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the mental health space and our communities by providing this important accountability tool.

Both documents are available on the NATSILMH website: natsilmh.org.au

At a time when the COAG Closing the Gap Framework is being refreshed, NATSILMH believe these two significant contributions to the social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention space will be a catalyst for significant action and investment to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and health outcomes.

NATSILMH is a core group of senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working in the areas of social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention. The group is jointly supported by the state and national Mental Health Commissions, including the Mental Health Commission of NSW, with many of the group’s representatives involved with the Commissions and other leading Indigenous health organisations.

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Last updated: 15 March 2018