New Govt Advisors on Indigenous Health
Tuesday, 18th June 2013 at 9:30 am
An advisory group has been established to assist the Federal Government on improving indigenous mental health and suicide programs.
The group met for the first time in Canberra this week to discuss its priorities, including implementation of the recently released National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy.
Australia’s first Indigenous psychologist Prof Pat Dudgeon and human rights campaigner Dr Tom Calma AO, the new chancellor of the University of Canberra will chair the advisory group who will advise on practical and strategic ways to improve Indigenous mental health and social and emotional wellbeing.
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. She is currently 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 high levels of suicide within Indigenous communities was highlighted by the inaugural National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy released recently.
The Strategy aims to reduce the incidence of suicidal and self-harming behaviour among Indigenous people.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan and the renewed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Wellbeing Framework are also on the agenda for the first meeting.