Content warning: This article contains reference to suicide. Please refer to the services at the bottom of this article for support.

With World Mental Health Day on October 10, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) is emphasising the importance of funding to close the mental health gap.

NACCHO, representing 143 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) across the Country, has need for continued funding in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap for critical reform.

“Communities are disproportionately represented in mental health statistics and are more than twice as likely to die by suicide compared to other Australians,” said NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills.

“The concept of social and emotional wellbeing is essential. It is central to our ways of being,” said Ms Mills.

“It recognises our connection to Country, community, and culture. To family and kinship.
To spirituality and our ancestors.”

According to Mills, reforms need to be made “in alignment with the National Agreement on Closing the Gap”.

“The National Agreement commits our Country to a new direction and is a pledge from all governments to fundamentally change the way they work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations.”

For Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, rates of suicide have continue to rise during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NACCHO said it highlights the urgent need to develop and invest in culturally safe
mental health services.

“We know Aboriginal leadership, self- determination, and community control by and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people works,” said Mills.

“We will not stop advocating for appropriate funding to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations until the Mental Health Gap is closed.”

World Mental Health day is on Sunday the 10th of October. The 2021 theme is Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality. 

If this article brought up anything for you or someone you love, please reach out to, call or visit the online resources listed below for support.

By Teisha Cloos