STEPS TO RECOVERY: Health funding to improve Indigenous care
WITH Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders facing massive health challenges, Melissa D'Or is confident this funding windfall is a positive step forward.
As one of Galangoor Duwalami Primary Health Care's social workers, she's at the coalface of crises around alcohol and drug abuse, mental health, suicide and trauma that affect Indigenous Australians every day.
Ms D'Or has welcomed a record $500,000 funding announcement from the Wide Bay, Central Queensland and Sunshine Coast Public Health Network (PHN) to tackle suicide prevention across the Gympie, Maryborough and the North Burnett communities
Wide Bay's funding allocation will specifically focus on men and Indigenous Australians.
It's a welcome relief for Ms D'Or, who says the funding will allow organisations like Galangoor to address the emotional and well-being issues Indigenous men face.
"We know that we need to improve our access to our access to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men," she said.
"Traditionally, that client group doesn't come to services and they're not always going to be open about their mental health and not feeling good from that perspective."
Ms D'Or said Indigenous men would often not seek help because there were no culturally specific services, cutting them off from assistance from mainstream organisations.
She said it was always hard to know whether there was enough funding for the issue because of the complexity surrouding mental health issues.
"It's a sector that has been really underfunded in the past, so there's a lot of catching up to do," Ms D'Or said.
"I'd like to see it spent appropriately so the needs are actually met and it's not a tokenistic approach of 'Here's some funding, do something with it.'
"The funding certainly helps but that level of commitment is really essential to ensure that money is spent appropriately and the right services are delivered."
Erica Mackay, PHN's Quality Assurance Manager for mental health, alcohol and other drugs, said the funding allocation was the latest of several suicide prevention initiatives in the region.
"Because of the complexity of suicide, a one-size-fits-all approach to suicide prevention is not suitable on a national scale," Ms Mackay said.
"The trial uses the Black Dog Institute's LifeSpan model, which uses nine evidence-based strategies in a localised setting.
"Part of those strategies involves the implementation of evidence-based training aimed towards specific audiences such as primary health care workforce like GPs, the general community, and first responders.
If you need help there are plenty of services you can call: Lifeline, 131 114; Beyondblue, 1300 224 636; Kids Helpline, 1800 551 800; Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467