Yarning with the Aboriginal people of NSW - Forums (MHCC)

Yarning with the Aboriginal people of NSW October 2013 (PDF): The The Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) of NSW has developed a draft Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW that reflects the needs, wishes and priorities of people across the State.

Good old-fashioned listening is an essential part of the process and to that end the Commission held a series of community meetings - yarns with a diverse range of groups and communities across NSW.

These Living Well yarns were opportunities for people - young, old and in-between - to share their experiences, views and ideas for change.

The things we heard were synthesised into documents such as this one, which were then used to refine ideas, to generate more ideas and, ultimately, to inform the draft Plan.

In September and October, several community meetings were held to hear what some of the Aboriginal people of NSW had to say about mental illness, and social and emotional wellbeing within their communities.

The meetings took place in Kempsey, Dubbo, and the Sydney suburb of Mount Druitt, and were facilitated by Aden Ridgeway, a Gumbaynggirr man, former NSW Senator and now spokesman for Recognise, the movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution.

The Western Sydney Aboriginal Medial Service (WSAMS) and the Redfern Aboriginal Community also invited the Commission to attend meetings they were running independently, and some of the issues raised at those events also inform this document.

A vast range of valuable perspectives and ideas came out of the meetings, but three areas of concern emerged with notable consistency.

  1. Respect, knowledge and understanding
  2. Aboriginal health workers – more please
  3. Cohesive, personalised and user-friendly support systems
  4. Mental health services – there simply aren’t enough
  5. Funding concerns
  6. Aboriginal communities yarning amongst themselves
  7. So, what to make of all this?

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