31 Jul 2020
The National Mental Health Commission (the Commission) welcomes the new national Closing the Gap agreement announced by the Prime Minister, Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, and Coalition of Peaks Chair, Patricia Turner, AM.
The Commission’s CEO, Christine Morgan, applauded the collaboration of Indigenous communities and peak organisations, which led to the development of four priority reforms and 16 new targets, with the goal to significantly reduce the rate of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“This is an important step towards improving the lives of all First Nations Peoples, particularly for those facing mental health and wellbeing challenges,” said Ms Morgan.
The Commission also paid tribute to the role of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) in this commitment to the economic, social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. NACCHO has a membership of 143 community-controlled health services across Australia.
“We congratulate NACCHO CEO and Coalition of Peaks Chair, Patricia Turner AM, on chairing this historic advance and also to the representative organisations, who have ensured that thousands of First Nations’ voices were heard in the negotiating of these new measures,” Ms Morgan added.
“The Commission is committed to building on our close working relationship with First Nations leaders and communities to ensure that mental health, wellbeing and suicide prevention responses in the mental health reform agenda are informed and led by their input and guidance.”
More than 4000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people provided input ahead of negotiations into what they believed should be included in a new National Agreement.
NMHC Chair, Lucy Brogden, added that the Commission was committed to continuing the involvement and representation of First Nations Peoples across mental health reform.
“We welcome this approach to partnership which places Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island community-controlled organisations at the centre of Closing the Gap,” said Mrs Brogden.
“This is the first time a commitment like this has been negotiated and agreed upon by all tiers of Australian government and our Indigenous population.”
“The Commission is committed to ensuring that every Australian has access to support and care where and how they need to access it. We believe all Australians should be able to live a contributing life.”