Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and suicide prevention

The mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has become a critical issue and available data indicates an entrenched, worsening, mental health crisis.  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide occurs at double the rate of other Australians. Suicide is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of 15 to 34 years of age, accounting for 1 in 3 deaths.  At the core of any solutions are concepts of community ownership and valuing culture. New approaches where mental health profession needs to and have begun to engage with Indigenous people in ways that support self-determination and assist recovery and cultural maintenance are essential. The national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) at UWA were undertaken in response to appalling rates of suicide. ATSISPEP achieved the development of an evidence base for what works in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention and the development of a culturally appropriate evaluation framework. It identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community suicide prevention needs and that system-level change  was required. As a result, the Centre of Best Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP, UWA) was established to reduce the causes, prevalence and impact of suicide on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, their families and communities.  CBPATSISP aims to identify best practice programs and services and  research in Indigenous suicide prevention through an Indigenous ‘lens’ for Indigenous peoples. Also  to identify the need and facilitate innovative research, to translate best practice for practical application for stakeholders. This presentation will review main messages from the Solutions That Work Report and work of the CBPATSISP.


Biography:

Professor Pat Dudgeon is from the Bardi people of the Kimberly area in Western Australia. She is a psychologist and Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society. She is a researcher at the School of Indigenous Studies at the University of Western Australia in Perth, Western Australia. Her area of research includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention. Amongst her many commitments, she is a Commissioner of the Australian national Mental Health Commission, deputy chair of the Australian Indigenous Psychologist’s Association, chair of the National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Leaders Mental Health and co-chair of the ministerial Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group.  She is currently the director of the National Empowerment Project: an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention project working with eleven sites in Aboriginal communities across the country, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project and the UWA Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP).  She has many publications in Indigenous mental health in particular, the Working Together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Wellbeing Principals and Practice 2014. She is actively involved with the Aboriginal community and has a commitment to social justice for Indigenous people.

Realising our value by succeeding where others have failed

Joanne Travaglia, PhD, Professor, Health Services Management, Director, Centre for Health Services Management, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney

It is 20 years since the start of the modern patient safety movement. In that time numerous strategies, and millions of dollars and hours have been spent word wide trying to reduce the rate of errors and improve the quality of care. While there have been some successes, the grim fact is that the overall rate of errors seems to have remained the same. In this keynote I will discuss why I think this might be, and why Allied Health professionals might provide the answer to reducing errors, preventing harm and improving the quality of care.


Biography:

Professor Joanne Travaglia is a medical sociologist with a background in health services research, management and leadership. She is Professor and Chair of Health Services Management, Director of the Centre for Health Services Management and Discipline Lead (Health Services Management) Faculty of Health, UTS. Her research examines the quality and safety of care, through the lens of critical theory. Her research has addressed issues such as inter-professional practice, health care leadership, vulnerability and the quality and safety of care. Originally trained as a social worker, Professor Travaglia has particular interest in the leadership, practices and impact of allied health workers.

Her work addresses: the implementation of policy and theory in practice; social and organisational origins of errors and adverse events; clinical governance and its enactment; inter-professional and interdisciplinary collaboration and learning; mixed method research; and the management of workplace diversity. Her research focuses on the visualization of intersectional vulnerabilities and population level determinants of patient safety.

The first 1000 days: Why they matter and what they mean for allied health professionals

Dr Tim Moore, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH) at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne

The first 1000 days – the period from conception to the end of the child’s second year – is the period of greatest developmental plasticity, and what happens during this time can have life-long consequences for health and wellbeing. This presentation summarises the biological processes and environmental characteristics that shape development during the first 1000 days, and what impact these have over the life span. While the importance of the early years is now widely acknowledged, research in this area is rapidly advancing, and our understanding of the specific mechanisms that impact upon development is becoming more and more detailed and nuanced. This research has revealed whole aspects of biological functioning that were not previously recognised as playing a role in development. These include epigenetics, telomere effects, the role of the microbiome, and how all of these effects can be transmitted across generations. We have also learned about the broad environmental forces that shape these biological changes, including the developmental origins of health and disease hypothesis, social climate change, the mismatch hypothesis, and the social determinants of health and disease. This presentation describes what immediate experiences and exposures have this effect – including parenting experiences and family environments, physical environments and environmental toxins, nutrition, adverse experiences and stress, and poverty. The long-term impact of early experiences and exposures are described and implications for allied health professionals explored.


Biography:

Dr Tim Moore is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH) at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. Tim trained as a teacher and psychologist at the University of Melbourne, subsequently completing his Doctoral studies at the University of Surrey on self esteem and self-concept in children. He has worked as an educational and developmental psychologist for over 30 years, both in Australia and England.

Tim has taken a leading role nationally in the development of policy and training in the early childhood intervention field.  He has been based at CCCH since 2000 where he heads a small team with responsibility for monitoring, reviewing and synthesising research literature on a wide range of topics relating to child development, family functioning and service systems.

A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, Dr Moore has been lead writer on many of CCCH’s reports, conference papers and policy briefs and also develops training and resource packages for early childhood and family support services. He has also taken a leading role nationally in the development of policy and training in the early childhood intervention field. His work has had a significant impact on practice and policy in the early childhood intervention and early childhood fields both nationally and internationally.

NAHC Conferences

2007, Hobart (7th NAHC)

2009, Canberra (8th NAHC)

2012, Canberra (9th NAHC)

2013, Brisbane (10th NAHC)

2015, Melbourne (11th NAHC)

2017, Sydney (12th NAHC)

2019, Brisbane (13th NAHC)

Conference Managers

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