Frontline workers in Queensland are benefiting from a decision by the Coalition Government to roll out Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid training across the country.
The first of 17 training workshops to be held in Queensland was held on Palm Island last week with positive feedback from participants. Over time, the training will be rolled out to more than 1500 frontline workers in more than 60 remote locations across Australia.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the roll out of Indigenous Mental Health First Aid training was part of a suite of decisive actions the Government had taken to address the mental health issues that exist within many Indigenous communities.
“The workshops will focus on training frontline workers and the broader community about how to recognise early signs of mental health issues, provide support and encourage professional help,” Minister Scullion said.
Townsville based Government Senator Ian Macdonald said he was pleased the Coalition Government was committed to working with Indigenous communities to deliver better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and welcomed the commencement of the training on Palm Island.
“There is an urgent need for frontline staff who work in remote communities in Queensland to receive this training – given the very high rates of suicide in Indigenous communities,” Senator Macdonald said.
“The three-day training on Palm Island will support 20 frontline staff from the Coalition Government’s Remote School Attendance Strategy and Community Development Programme in the community.
“These frontline staff are in contact with people in their community on a daily basis and the training will help them to identify the early warning signs of mental health issues and give them knowledge about the most appropriate response for vulnerable families and children.
First Australians are more than twice as likely to be hospitalised for mental health-related conditions as non-Indigenous Australians. In addition, suicide rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are twice as high.
Recent suicide initiatives supported by the Coalition Government include the Critical Response Project to address suicide-related trauma in Western Australia and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project.
RSAS participant Delena Foster proudly showing off her Certificate of Completion with the National Employment Services Association (NESA) trainer Melanie Jolliffe. Photo supplied by NESA.