Women's Health Education Resource Kit (Jean Hailes Foundation)

The Women's Health Education Resource Kit will be available May 2009. It will be free for health educators as a tool to support the delivery of up-to-date, evidence-based health education sessions to women in their local community. To register your interest send an email with your name and contact details to womenshealthkit@jeanhailes.org.au.

National Institute for Rural and Regional Australia (NIRRA)

The National Institute for Rural and Regional Australia, located in the School of Social Sciences in the Australian National University, commenced in January 2009. NIRRA aims to foster interdisciplinary research on rural issues across regional Australia. Membership is free and open to anyone involved in research on rural issues.

The website features a large number of publications on rural issues.While the health content is, as yet, small but growing, there is a good body of research on topics such as the rural economy, drought, climate change and rural social issues. A network to contribute to and to watch.

Resources for workers in the drug and alcohol field who work with Indigenous communities

This fact sheet provides links to some of the many services that provide resources and support for workers in the drug and alcohol field who work with Indigenous communities. The resources and support services listed in this fact sheet range from pamphlets and information to give to clients, to research and reports, noticeboards and e-lists, workforce development and training, and links to government policies and strategies.

Screening for Tobacco, Alcohol and Other Drug Use

Clinician's Screening Tool (NIDA-Modified Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test or ASSIST) This Web-based interactive tool guides clinicians through a short series of screening questions and, based on the patient's responses, generates a substance involvement score that suggests the level of intervention needed.

Lonesome and blue: the soul-destroying lives of boys in the bush

A mental health worker describes how rural mens mental health is a growing probem. Rural men in their teens and 20s are the most vulnerable group in our society.

They have shown the biggest increase in suicide in the past two decades, the rate almost trebling since the 1960s. Their methods - guns and hanging - are also the most violent. They have the least understanding of mental health issues and the worst access to appropriate services.

Improving respite for carers of people living with dementia (Uni of Wollongong)

University of Wollongong researchers from the Centre for Health Initiatives are calling for carers of people living with dementia to take part in a study looking at how respite services for carers can be improved.

Ms Phillipson and other researchers from CHI will be conducting a series of discussion groups to talk to carers about their needs and past experiences of respite services.

Minister opens new child and family centre (media release)

Minister for Community Services Linda Burney today opened the new Child and Family Centre at the Little Yuin Aboriginal Preschool, Wallaga Lake.

Ms Burney said that the new facility will enable local community agencies to deliver vital outreach services to Aboriginal children and families in the area. The new centre was constructed as an extension to the existing preschool that caters for 20 children in the isolated community.

Options for a National Indigenous Representative Body

The Australian Government has indicated that it intends to establish a new National Indigenous Representative Body. A recent Adelaide workshop investigated the issues in building an effective body which would play a unifying role while representing marginalised groups and reflecting the diversity of indigenous cultures.

International report blames social factors for Indigenous health gap

Indigenous Children's Health Report: Health Assessment in Action, a world-first study comparing child health across Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US has found similar discrepancies between the health of the countries' indigenous and non-indigenous youth.

As there is a diverse genetic heritage amongst the four populations, the report's authors claim that it proves that poor indigenous health is caused by social rather than biological factors.

Common health status disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children found in all four countries include:

* infant mortality rates that are 1.7 to 4 times higher than those of non-Indigenous infants
* higher rates of sudden infant death syndrome
* higher rates of child injury, accidental death, and suicide
* higher rates of ear infections
* a disproportionate burden of respiratory tract illness and mortality
* a disproportionate burden of dental caries
* increased exposure to environmental contaminants, including tobacco smoke.

Press Report

GWAHS towns chosen for pilot project to close gap in indigenous health

Walgett and Wilcannia have been chosen as the NSW trial sites for a new Federal Government initiative to wipe out disadvantage in indigenous communities. Walgett and Wilcannia are the only NSW sites for the trial which will take place in 24 other locations in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. The plan involves providing better and more accurately targeted services by erasing the duplication of state and federal bureaucracies.

The locations chosen in the Northern Territory are also affected by the Federal Government's intervention which includes radical measures such as managing welfare payments in an attempt to improve nutrition and school attendance. The aim initially is to bring the 26 priority communities up to a standard equivalent to other towns of similar size in Australia. If the approach is successful it will be used elsewhere.

The 26 areas will benefit from $5.5 billion earmarked by the Federal Government for spending over the next decade.Over that period the Government will need to make significant improvements in health, education and employment if it has any chance of meeting the targets it has set for itself in improving the lives of indigenous people.The targets include halving the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians in literacy, numeracy, employment and infant mortality rates. It has also promised to close the 17-year gap in life expectancy.

NSW Rural and Remote Allied Health "Beyond the Rhetoric" (Conference)

NSW Rural and Remote Allied Health "Beyond the Rhetoric" , to be held 12-13 November 2009 in Tamworth, is designed to attract delegates and allied health clinicians from across rural and remote NSW; from new graduates to Managers, and will offer something for everyone.There will be a choice of pre-conference workshops on Wednesday 11th November to suit all disciplines, and a variety of conference themes .

The 2009 Program Committee invites authors to submit an abstract for inclusion in the program. Abstracts are to address any of the five topic areas and clearly define 3 "take home" messages:

* Management and Leadership - How has information, data and technology been applied to decision making and management competencies in the rural context?
* Primary and Community Care - What health outcomes have been achieved utilising primary health service models, including models of sub-acute /ambulatory care in the Community setting?
* Acute Care - What changes have been made to rural allied health practice to expand networking, utilisation of information technology and access to services in rural acute care?
* Rehabilitation - What new trends are emerging for rural allied health services which demonstrate the value of a team approach in the rehabilitation and sub-acute care setting?
* Mental Health and Wellbeing - What rural partnerships, project initiatives or research studies have achieved measurable outcomes in rural mental health models of care?
For comprehensive information about submitting abstracts for consideration in the program, visit the Submission of Abstracts page.(Closing date 26 June 2009)

Impact of falling cardiovascular disease death rates: deaths delayed and years of life extended (AIHW)

Death rates from cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease have declined dramatically in Australia since their peak in the mid 1960s. This report quantifies the number of lives saved since the peak and looks at the age and sex population groups where the impact was likely to have been highest.

Media release

Challenges to relapse prevention: psychiatric care of indigenous in-patients / Tricia Nagel, Carolyn Thompson and Neil Spencer / Australian Network for Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention for Mental Health

Relapse is one of the major contributing factors to the high burden of disability of mental illness. Strategies for relapse prevention are needed. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to be over-represented in mental health care nationwide. Partnerships between Aboriginal Mental Health Workers (AMHWs) and non-Indigenous health professionals can assist in provision of culturally appropriate in-patient care and promotion of self-management and relapse prevention strategies.


Australia adopts United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The Government has officially adopted the declaration at a ceremony in Parliament House, reversing the decision of the previous Government who voted against it in 2007.

The declaration, which was originally signed by all but four countries, contains 46 articles which outline Indigenous people's rights in international law, but it is not legally binding and cannot override domestic law.

News release
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Screening for alcohol problems in Fitzroy Crossing

Fitzroy Crossing will screen every child aged three to 10 in the Kimberley town in a bid to discover the full extent of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Fitzroy Crossing leader June Oscar said her town was beginning to heal and assess the damage caused by the chronic consumption of alcohol. She said she hoped the indigenous leaders of the troubled town of Halls Creek -- 290km to the east -- would succeed in their wish for strong alcohol restrictions in their community.


Helping young people affected by a friend's suicide (Australian study)

Researchers at the University of New England are talking to young people about their experience of losing a friend to suicide.

By gaining an understanding of their experience, the researchers hope to develop a framework for understanding similarly bereaved young people in future, and to develop a tool for use in schools and in health and community services to assist in services after a suicide occurs.


Mental health 'overlooked' in Aust hospitals

Researchers are pushing for more mental health workers to be employed in Australian hospitals.
A report in this week's Medical Journal of Australia says patients' psychosocial issues are being overlooked, with greater focus on addressing physical illness.

Keep Them Safe: A Shared Approach to Child Wellbeing 2009 - 2014

Keep Them Safe sets out the NSW Government's five year Plan to improve the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. The Plan responds to the Report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW (November 2008).

Spirituality important in Indigenous social and wellbeing initiatives

Aboriginal health programs must incorporate spirituality if they are to have any sustainable impact on the current state of Indigenous health according to a report launched in Queensland's largest Aboriginal community of Yarrabah which investigates the relationship between spirituality, religion and health.

The report, The Role of Spirituality in Social and Emotional Wellbeing Initiatives: The Family Wellbeing Program at Yarrabah, is one of two new discussion papers from the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health

The second paper, Research Dancing describes the processes for achieving real collaboration and the benefits of doing so. The paper sets out positive strategies for real research partnerships between research institutions and the Aboriginal community groups desperate for evidence to establish successful strategies for building good health and wellbeing in Aboriginal society.