Authors: Danny McCulloch, SA Contributions – Bronwyn Tragenza
Event: 2011 TheMHS Conference
Subject: supported accommodation service for Aboriginal men with complex needs (Mental Health, Disability and Substance Abuse), port augusta
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Aboriginal people are well over represented in all Australian health morbidity and incarceration statistics and on average have a significantly lower life expectancy than most Australians (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2009). It is also well known that many Aboriginal people don’t access mainstream health and community services for a range of reasons, or in many cases culturally appropriate and acceptable services are inadequate or non-existent (Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet 2010). Life Without Barriers and the Exceptional Needs Unit in South Australia have developed a 24/7 supported accommodation service for Aboriginal men with complex needs (Mental Health, Disability and Substance Abuse), based in Port Augusta, South Australia. Some of the main goals of the service have been to reduce resident’s number of presentations to accident and emergency departments across the local region and the frequency of interaction with the criminal justice system. This has been achieved. The program has a strong focus on enhancing and restoring resident’s connection to country, homeland and family a particularly challenging issue for some residents who have been ostracised, banned from or have restricted access to their home community. This presentation evaluates the set up and implementation of the project, outcomes for residents and other challenges such as building a culturally appropriate rural workforce. Also demonstrated is how an integrated community based approach is vital if human service providers are going to make a difference to closing the gap.