Free E-book on Indigenous Volatile Substance Use launched

The Australian Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre (the Knowledge Centre) has launched a new eBook about volatile substance use (VSU). Based on the 2016 Review of volatile substance use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people the interactive electronic version is a powerful learning tool.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew, says 'This is a first for us as we expand our suite of digital tools and new platforms to deliver knowledge and information to the sector. The eBook is a tactile, sensory tool which provides multiple ways of utilising the latest technology to assist learning about this important topic. We have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback from stakeholders in the testing phases and know there is a need for a resource of this kind. We are delighted to be able to provide this - our first eBook.'

The eBook has been created for Apple devices, such as iPads, iPhones, laptops and desktop computers. It is free to download from iTunes and via the Knowledge Centre Users can read it, listen to it, make notes and copy/paste content. Embedded in the eBook are short films and inks to the original source of references. Once downloaded, the eBook can be accessed and used multiple times in any way a user determines.

VSU is an issue of concern to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians. The purpose of the review is to provide a comprehensive synthesis of key information for people involved in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in Australia. The eBook is the review in another dynamic format.

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Aged care: a quick guide

Aged Care: a quick guide by the Parliamentary Library provides a brief overview of aged care in Australia. It describes the types of care provided, arrangements for accessing subsidised care, statistics on aged care, the organisations that provide care, and the regulatory arrangements for ensuring quality care. The quick guide does not describe care that is provided outside of the formal aged care system, such as care provided by family members or accommodation in retirement villages.

Improving maternity services for Indigenous women in Australia: moving from policy to practice

A new maternity services plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in rural and remote communities is urgently required, a new report has found.

Published in the Medical Journal of Australia this week, Improving maternity services for Indigenous women in Australia: moving from policy to practice comprehensively reviewed Australia's National Maternity Services Plan (NMSP) and resulting actions regarding Aboriginal mothers and babies between 2010-2015.

The report found that the NMSP "expired without notable results" in 3 priority areas: building the Aboriginal maternity workforce, providing culturally competent maternity care and developing dedicated programs for 'birthing on country'.

Emeritus Professor Lesley Barclay AO from the University Centre for Rural Health, said: "Almost a quarter of Aboriginal women give birth in remote parts of Australia, compared with just two percent of non-Aboriginal women. The disparities in health outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians are well established, including higher incidence of preterm birth, low birth weight and newborn mortality. We also know chronic diseases take root early in life."

"We're calling on the government to provide urgent funding for priority areas identified and accepted in the past, and for further research into the most effective ways we can arrest and improve health outcomes for all Aboriginal people. "

Report in PDF

About the report

Look After Your Mental Health During Difficult Times

With flooding currently affecting many communities in central western NSW, Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) would like to remind people to look after their mental health.

People should also be mindful of family members and loved ones during this difficult time, and are encouraged to reach out to others, especially if they have not heard from them in some time.

WNSWLHD Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) Consultant, Di Gill said people should take care of their health and wellbeing, especially following a natural disaster. “Natural disasters like flooding can really impact people’s mental health, and we urge everyone in central western NSW in flood-affected areas to make sure they look after themselves, their families and their communities,” Ms Gill said.

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Indigenous-led suicide prevention plan needed to fight Aboriginal death crisis: report

Aboriginal suicides are at record levels in remote Australia and mainstream prevention programs are failing, a major report has concluded.

The ABC has obtained a copy of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP), co-chaired by West Australian professor Pat Dudgeon and former social justice commissioner Tom Calma.

The report calls for a radical rethink in Indigenous mental health policy to place Aboriginal people at the centre of care.

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ATSISPEP Conference Report

Emergency services join forces on mental health policy

Emergency services instinctively react to crisis situations, but mounting compensation claims, adverse publicity and a growing number of employees retired hurt on duty with mental illnesses have forced them to reconsider this strategy when it comes to their own staff.

A mental health strategy released by the NSW Government on Wednesday turns the "crisis response" mentality upside-down and places prevention at the forefront of mental health care, with staff encouraged to be aware of potential issues from the beginning of their career.

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Health expenditure Australia 2014-15 (AIHW)

Health expenditure Australia 2014-15

* Spending on health in Australia (recurrent and capital expenditure combined) was $161.6 billion in 2014-15, $4.4 billion (2.8%) higher in real terms than in 2013-14.

* This was the third consecutive year that growth in health expenditure was below the 10-year average (4.6% between 2004-05 and 2014-15).

* Growth in health expenditure per person was also relatively low, at less than a half of the average annual growth over the decade (1.4% compared with 2.9%).

* Despite the low growth, the share of the economy (GDP) represented by health reached 10.0% for the first time.

Media release: Latest health spending figures reveal mixed trends

Download report: Health expenditure Australia 2014-15

Indigenous suicide rate should be addressed with action, not 'talkfests', Fiona Stanley says

Former Australian of the Year Fiona Stanley says action, not more inquiries or summits, is what's needed to address the escalating Indigenous suicide rate.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has asked Health Minister Sussan Ley to host a summit on the issue in the Kimberley in northern Western Australia and a coronial inquest into the issue has been planned.

Just under a decade ago, Professor Stanley gave extensive evidence to a previous coronial inquest into Indigenous suicides in the Kimberley.

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Mental health expo at The Glen offers help for those who need it and fun family day out

One in four adults will experience­ mental health difficulties at one time or another­ but many will receive­ little or no help – a major reason why this year’s theme for Mental Health Month is Learn and Grow.

The aim is to emphasise the importance of getting help for things causing problems or for changes in the way a person might be feeling­.

For the people behind­ one of the Central Coast’s most successful alcohol and drug rehabilitation services, The Glen at Chittaway Bay, mental health wellness is critical and getting the right help vital.

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New suicide prevention advisory group

This October sees the second meeting of the new Advisory Group for Suicide Prevention.

Established in response to a request in December 2015 by federal Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, the group provides advice, expertise and strategic support for suicide prevention policy across Australia by identifying priorities and promoting action.

In keeping with the National Mental Health Commission’s commitment to the ideal of nothing about us without us, membership includes people with a lived experience of mental ill health.

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