Aboriginal Health Council commits funds to mental health training

Image: BHP Billiton

Image: BHP Billiton

Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) has allocated $1 million of funding to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal communities.

Communities that are set to receive mental health training by the end of 2019 include the mining regions of the Pilbara, Kalgoorlie and Kimberley.

In 2016, the death by suicide rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians was more than three and a half times the rate of non-indigenous Australians.

It is a major cause of early death among Aboriginal people.

At Rio Tinto, more than 12 per cent of its workforce in the Pilbara are indigenous.

BHP also employs 654 Aboriginal and Torres Islanders in the Pilbara, which represents 72 per cent of its 907 national indigenous workforce.

Mental Health Minister Roger Cook said, “As the first program of its kind in Western Australia, I am proud to be part of a state government that supports initiatives to help Aboriginal individuals, families and community organisations improve their health and wellbeing.

“I look forward to seeing this program continue to progress as we work toward increasing the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people across Western Australia.”

Education will be brought by Aboriginal Medical Services, Aboriginal workers and community members in the Central Desert region. They are currently being trained by the AHCWA.

The training helps to identify contributing factors that impact on family wellbeing and strategies to overcome social and emotional challenges.

Cook said, “Delivering programs like this locally is important because it is those who are on the ground that understand the issues facing their communities best, and can provide input into how to best address those particular issues.”