14 March 2018

Leaders gather to improve the wellbeing of Australia’s Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people

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People from across Australia’s health organisations, government bodies and Aboriginal communities gathered for the 2nd National Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing Forum in Perth on the 21-23 of February.

During the three-day conference, over 35 community leaders shared their stories on the growing problem of mental health issues amongst Australia’s Indigenous population, and they shared their case studies on how these challenges can be tackled.

Ngaree Ah Kit, Assistant Minister for Suicide Prevention, Mental Health and Disabilities and Assistant Minister for Seniors and Youth in the NT opened day one of the conference and was followed by Maria Baker from Te Rau Matatini in New Zealand, who shared an overview of their current work.

Other presenters on day one also shared their stories on how to engage with communities and Elders to see improved outcomes for people with mental health issues.  

Day two was opened by Josie Farrer MLA, Member for Kimberley. Her passion and personal connections to the topic made for a powerful presentation, which was highly regarded among the attendees.  

Another highly appreciated speaker on day two was Alvin Fiddler, Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation in Canada. Alvin shared his peoples’ similar struggles and how they work to improve the wellbeing within their communities.

Other presenters shared case studies on how to strengthen the resilience within communities and how to develop community-driven approaches to tackle the high suicide rates. Other presenters discussed the importance of youth and how to effectively engage youth in the community.

The forum enabled participants to network and share stories with others from the mental health sector and provided an empowering environment with new energy to keep up the work to improve the wellbeing of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  

Written by: Mimmie Wilhemson

Mimmie grew up in Sweden and first came to Australia as a backpacker after high school. After travelling around the country for two years she returned to Europe and pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism in London. But the longing for Australia and the sun became too strong. After having worked for some time in the media industry, Mimmie decided to make a change and swap the news for conferences. She now gets to do what she loves the most, meeting new people and keep learning about cultures and issues while producing conferences on current topics.

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