Aboriginal Mental Health Service and Workforce
Acknowledgement to Country
Aboriginal Mental Health Service and Workforce would like to Acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Nations within Hunter New England Local Health District and pay our respects to Elders, past, present and emerging.
We acknowledge the significant place that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples hold in Australia, as the first Peoples of this Nation.
We ask all those that walk, work and live on traditional Aboriginal lands to be respectful of culture and traditions.
Yarn Up ... Feel Deadly Aboriginal Mental Health Service and Workforce provides culturally appropriate support and advocacy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health consumers and their communities across the Health district.
Our service is committed to increasing its Aboriginal employment rates and growing a diverse and skilled Aboriginal workforce.
By increasing the number of Aboriginal employees in mental health services with a focus on clinical positions, we are building an Aboriginal workforce that ensures professional development and growth.
Delivering mental health services in an appropriate way is essential to our Closing the Gap strategies and aligns with the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) standards guide to improve care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers.
We offer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health professional undergraduate traineeships and District Allied Health cadetships, that are supported by Aboriginal people to ensure safe and culturally competent high quality services.
Our goal is to enhance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumer engagement with the service by learning from their lived experience and implementing culturally appropriate tools within service delivery that is led by following local cultural protocols.
Our priority is to provide a culturally safe service to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities within Hunter New England Local Health District by implementing the annual mental health service Closing the Gap action plan with a focus on:
- Increasing the number of Aboriginal employees in mental health services with a particular focus on clinical positions
- Ensuring and improving upon providing culturally appropriate service to Aboriginal consumers
- Improving partnerships with Aboriginal communities including Community Controlled Health Services
Solutions that have been implemented were facilitated through Yarning Circles, which were instrumental in ensuring we are co-designing mental health services with Aboriginal communities throughout the District.
Led by Aboriginal Mental Health Service and Workforce staff, we have implemented:
- Outreach drop-in clinics
- An Aboriginal mental health logo and Aboriginal mental health T-shirts
- The Aboriginal Mental Health Service and Workforce traineeship model
- The Closing the Gap committee and pledge
- The Aboriginal Mental Health Service webpage
- Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) cultural clinical supervision policy compliance procedure
- The Yarn Up ... Feel Deadly app with 'The Warrior Within' testimonial videos and mental health resources
Yarn Up ... Feel Deadly app
The app is available to download for free on both Android and Apple devices in Google Play or the App Store, or via the internet/computer access.
The intent of the app is to improve access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to our mental health services.
While the app targets Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the content is of interest and benefit to all.
The app includes Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal mental health testimonial videos, factsheets, links to useful websites, courses of potential interest and local community events.
Anyone can submit enquiries via the app or provide feedback.
Consumers and staff can choose to receive notifications about particular topics of interest that encourage key health promotion messages.
For more information, please see the User guide and Information sheet.
Closing the Gap Committee
'Bringing us one step closer: The Hunter New England Mental Health Service Closing the Gap Committee'
Closing the Gap is a national strategy that aims to reduce disadvantage for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Current statistics clearly demonstrate the inequity that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience.
These statistics, and the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, can be improved considerably by considering the way we design and deliver mental health services.
Hunter New England Local Health District has the largest population of Aboriginal people of any NSW Health Service.
We have a responsibility as a Public Health Service to provide appropriate and effective health care to all population groups in our region.
Our District was proud to host the first meeting of the Hunter New England Mental Health Closing the Gap Committee on May 29, 2015.
The committee provides strategic leadership and service planning for our mental health services and oversees the development and implementation of the "Closing the Gap Action Plan", which identifies inequities within our services for Aboriginal consumers and staff and allow us to implement strategies to reduce these imbalances.
The committee is co-chaired by Bron Rose, District Manager of Aboriginal Mental Health Service and Wworkforce and Leanne Johnson, General Manager of Mental Health Services.
Its membership consists of Aboriginal and service representatives from across our District.
Meetings are held in person three times a year at a moving venue and members meet via video link each month.
The Closing the Gap Committee will focus on areas including:
- Closing the Gap for people we serve
- Closing the Gap for our employees and building relationships with the community to enhance Closing the Gap strategies
Our goal is to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feel comfortable accessing services and working in a safe and culturally appropriate environment:
- Hunter New England Mental Health Service is committed to Closing the Gap and improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- Hunter New England Mental Health Service is committed to the development of culturally safe partnerships with local Aboriginal communities, organisations, community controlled health services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff of Hunter New England Local Health District
- Hunter New England Mental Health Service is committed to the provision of culturally safe and respectful services and a culturally safe environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing our services, their families and community and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working within our service
- Hunter New England Mental Health Service is committed to the elimination of racism in all its forms
- Hunter New England Mental Health Service aims for all mental health services to offer equity and access and contribute to the improved health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people