Oral health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (AIHW)

This report provides a summary of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child oral health using information from the Child Dental Health Survey, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Receipt of Hospital Dental Care Investigation and the Study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Oral Health in Remote Communities. Throughout the states and territories studied, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children had consistently higher levels of dental disease in the deciduous and permanent dentition than their non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander counterparts. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children most affected were those in socially disadvantaged groups and those living in rural/remote areas. Trends in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child caries prevalence indicate that dental disease levels are rising, particularly in the deciduous dentition. Indigenous children aged <5 years had almost one-and-a-half times the rate of hospitalisation for dental care as other Australian children, and the rate of Indigenous children receiving hospital dental care rose with increasing geographic remoteness. Less than 5% of remote Indigenous pre-school children reported brushing their teeth on a regular basis and many young remote Indigenous children experienced extensive destruction of their deciduous teeth. Improving the oral health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Australia is an important public health and dental service provision issue.
See: http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/index.cfm/title/10411

Rural, regional and remote Australia: a study on mortality (AIHW)


Preventable conditions such as coronary heart disease and traffic accidents were two of the main reasons for the higher death rates in regional and remote areas, according to "Rural, regional and remote Australia: a study on mortality" by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare . The report found that death rates were about 10% higher in regional areas and up to 70% higher in remote areas of Australia .

Higher death rates in more remote areas may also reflect higher prevalence of behaviours associated with poorer health (for example smoking or alcohol consumption) as well as any impact of location (for example accessibility and availability of health services). The higher proportion of Indigenous Australians in rural areas is also a factor.

Innovations in Chronic Disease Self-Management Research Grants Program

In partnership with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Department of Health and Ageing and the Department ofVeterans Affairs will offer grants to fund research aimed at expanding the range of evidence-based chronic disease interventions to
support self-management in Australia. The primary focus will be on the harder-to-reach population groups in the community including: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; people from culturally and linguistically diverse populations; people experiencing
socio-economic disadvantage; and children and adolescents. The Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking proposals which specifically target the veteran population. These proposals should
reflect the demographics of the veteran population which is a relatively elderly one with 75% of treatment beneficiaries being 75 or older. Proposals are being sought for practical applied research projects to identify, develop and test, innovative chronic disease interventions to
support self-management for use in the Australian context. Applications close 14th March 2008.
More information see:

Prisoner health in Australia: contemporary information collection and a way forward

The prison population is known to have relatively poor health, with the poor mental health of prisoners a particular concern. A significant proportion of people in the prison system are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This report highlights the need for reliable national information about the health of prisoners at the point of reception, during custody, and at release and post-release. It contains a national audit of current health information collected by each jurisdiction, and lays the foundation for the development of national prisoner health indicators.


Mental Health Act (ACT)

Mental Health Act
Review of the Mental Health (Treatment & Care) Act 1994 - Options paper (11/12/2007)

The above article describes changes to the mental health act

Mental health resources from Auseinet online

The latest issues of the following Auseinet resources are now available:

Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health, Volume 6, Issue 3 (November 2007) http://www.auseinet.com/journal/index.php [youth suicide is a major focus]

Auseinetter, Issue 29 (November 2007) http://www.auseinet.com/resources/auseinet/netter29/ [articles on indigenous mental health and mental health workforce issues.]

2009 NHMRC Grants

On 7-12-07 the National Health & Medical Research Council announced a redesign of its Grants Schemes and the timetable for 2009 NHMRC research grants and awards.
Go to http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/news/tracker/tracker07/071207.htm

Aboriginal Health Impact Statement and Guidelines (NSW Health)

The purpose of the Statement is to ensure the needs and interests of Aboriginal people are embedded into the development, implementation and evaluation of all NSW Health initiatives. There are 2 elements : 1. A declaration as to whether a specific initiative will impact on the health of Aboriginal people ; 2. A Checklist detailing how the needs and interests of Aboriginal people have been elicited and incorporated where appropriate.


National Indigenous Television to broadcast 9 programs on Indigenous health

The National Indigenous Television service (NITV) will soon broadcast nine programs on Indigenous health which have been produced by the Rural Health Education Foundation.

The programs commence on Sunday 2nd December 2007, at 11.00am each day:

Dec 2nd: Aboriginal Health Workers and Chronic Disease Management
Dec 9th: Breathing Easy: Respiratory Disease in Indigenous Children
Dec 16th: Palliative Care for Indigenous People
Dec 23rd: Keep Safe
Dec 23rd: Grow Strong (at 11:30am)
Dec 30th: Start Strong

With the following programs will be screened early in 2008:

Talking Together - Contemporary Issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health: HIV, Hepatitis and Sexual Health
Overcoming Barriers to Screening of Cervical and Breast Cancer in Indigenous Women
Chronic Renal Disease

Australia's welfare no. 8

Australia's welfare 2007 is the eighth biennial welfare report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. It is the most comprehensive and authoritative source of national information on welfare services in Australia. Topics include children, youth and families; ageing and aged care; disability and disability services; housing for health and welfare; dynamics of homelessness; welfare services resources; and indicators of Australia's welfare.

Highway to health: better access for rural and remote patients/ Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs

While Australia has a relatively sophisticated public and private health care system, for some people geographic isolation inhibits their access to specialist health care. Out of a total population of just over 21 million, approximately 34 per cent of Australians reside in regional, rural and remote areas with limited specialist health services. This Senate report investigates the operation and effectiveness of Patient Assisted Travel Schemes .


The wellbeing of Australians: carer health and wellbeing

Robert A. Cummins, Joan Hughes and others / Australian Centre on Quality of Life, Deakin University

This Report concerns the subjective wellbeing of carers in Australia. It is the product of a partnership between Carers Australia, Australian Unity, and Deakin University. This study assessed the wellbeing of 10,939 Australian carers. Three major outcome measures have been used. The first is the Personal Wellbeing Index, which assesses the average level of satisfaction across health, personal relationships, safety, standard of living, achieving in life,community connectedness, and future security. The other two outcome measures are sub-scales taken from the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale. The study documents the very poor collective wellbeing suffered by carers and their many challenges and worries.

Drought and mental health

Drought focus in mental health conference

Impact of drought focus of rural health meeting (mental health conference at Batemens Bay) http://www.farmonline.com.au/news_daily.asp?ag_id=47290

Both of the above articles relate to the current Mental Health conference at Batemens Bay. They describe the connection and impact of drought as it relates to rural mental health.

Mission Australia 2007 Youth Survey

Each year, Mission Australia conducts a national survey of young Australians (including an indigenous profile) which uncovers the issues that concern them, who they admire and where they turn to for advice and support. This year's survey - the sixth - is the biggest yet with 29,000 respondents, between ages 11-24, taking part in every state and territory around the country. This is a valuable snapshot into the minds of young Australians and provides a wealth of important information for anyone interested in their wellbeing.

Reports can be downloaded from :

Staying well - self care for junior doctors (DVD)

Produced by Northern Territory General Practice Education, this 18 minute DVD stimulates and informs discussion about wellbeing for doctors in the first years of their hospital training. More details and orders :
www.ntgpe.org or (08) 8946 7079.

Youth mental health

Youth mental health a hidden danger sign http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/11/30/2105899.htm

Rural Mental Health

Regional mental health revolution (Bloomfield Hospital and GWAHS focus)http://orange.yourguide.com.au/news/local/general/regional-mental-health-revolution/1096878.html

The article describes the use of new video technology to provide psychiatric assessments across western NSW.