18 October 2005
New funding for Aboriginal mental health research
NSW Minister for Health John Hatzistergos today announced funding of over $750,000 to the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council for Aboriginal mental health in NSW.
The announcement was made as the Minister opened the state's first Aboriginal Health Research Conference where over 200 delegates from across Australia will present the advances made in Aboriginal health research in recent decades.
The funding for the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council will be:
The Minister said Aboriginal communities faced a higher level of distress which directly affected their mental health.
"Indicators show that Aboriginal people are twice as likely to suffer degrees of distress which can impair their ability to cope with day to day living*," Mr Hatzistergos said.
"This research will help us to provide better and more appropriate mental healthcare to the indigenous community," he said.
"The new role of statewide coordinator for Aboriginal mental health at the AH&MRC will work in partnership with a range of agencies on research into the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal people in NSW.
"There are significant cultural differences to be considered when treating mental illness among the Aboriginal community and there is a need for mainstream services to be culturally sensitive.
"The Aboriginal definition of mental distress encompasses recognition of the historical, socio-economic and political circumstances of Aboriginal people.
"Aboriginal people see a higher rate of distressing experiences such as serious illness and deaths in families and unemployment.
"The coordinator will work to develop and implement a revised Aboriginal mental health policy for NSW in partnership with NSW Health," he said.
For a range of health information, go online to www.health.nsw.gov.au