Book of Proceedings: SYMPOSIUM PAPER: Working Across Sectors, Concepts and Cultures. Bringing Aboriginal and Mainstream Mental Health Services , People and Pathways Together.

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Authors: Robyn Humphries, Helen Kennedy, Sabin Fernbacher, Jamie Waring, VIC

Year: 2014

Event: 2014 TheMHS Conference

Subject: book of proceedings 2014, symposium paper, indigenous mental health, Victorian Aboriginal Health Service/Family Counselling Team, the Northern Area Mental Health Service and Neami National towards achieving genuine partnerships

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

ISBN: 978-0-9757653-9-5

Abstract: Aboriginal people experience higher rates of mental illness and lower rates of social and emotional wellbeing than other Victorians. Mainstream mental health services have not been at the forefront of providing services that are culturally safe, appropriate and responsive to the needs of Aboriginal individuals, families and communities. Collaboration between Aboriginal and mainstream organisations has been identified as one of the ways to minimise barriers to accessing mental health services by Aboriginal people and their families in order to provide choice of access to Aboriginal, mainstream or a mix of both service systems according to preference of the Aboriginal person. In response to shifting demographics and escalating mental health concerns of the local Aboriginal community, the project at the Northern Area Mental Health Service demonstrates that improved access and outcomes can be achieved through new and innovative collaboration between Aboriginal and mainstream mental health services. Forming partnerships and working collaboratively are the foundations for achieving change; however enacting collaboration and partnerships in a genuine way that is respectful of organisational and cultural differences takes courage, openness and commitment.

This symposium explores the relationship building, challenges and learnings from the development of new partnerships between the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service/Family Counselling Team, the Northern Area Mental Health Service and Neami National towards achieving genuine partnerships. We will discuss some of the systemic changes and outcomes that have been achieved, including new referral pathways, roles and changes to practice and models of care through our work together. This symposium will also look at some of the future challenges we may face as we continue to develop and sustain this work.

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