Authors: Inge Kowanko, Colleen Prideaux, Jackie Ah Kit, Lourdes Ordasi, Helen Murray and Charlotte de Crespigny, SA
Event: 2006 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Indigenous People's wellbeing, Eyre Peninsula
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Recent aggregated statistics confirm our experience as Aboriginal health service providers and researchers that Aboriginal people in the Eyre Peninsula region of SA are living with many challenges to their health and wellbeing. Mental health disorders are prevalent and complex, and include substance misuse, grief and loss, and diagnosed mental illnesses, often complicated by other physical health problems, trouble with the law, and social support needs. The effects on individuals are profound, and extend to families/carers and communities. Services are inadequate, under-resourced, often inaccessible or inappropriate, and struggling to meet the complex needs of their clients. Issues identified at Ceduna-Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service and Port Lincoln Aboriginal Health Service include: cultural respect, workforce recruitment and retention, professional development, confidentiality, communication, and coordination of care. Practice innovations and strategies being developed through participatory action research include: using traditional and modern approaches side by side, psychiatrist visits communities and works closely with families, flexible short courses based on local workforce training needs, training that brings together workers from different sectors and encourages collaboration, mental health promotion, case management approach, advocacy for policy and legislative change, effective and agreed referral documentation, protocols to ensure sharing of information critical to patient safety while safeguarding confidentiality.