Purro Birik - Authors Note

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Purro Birik - (Healthy Spirit)



Authors’ notes


1. The focus of this discussion paper is on the improvement of mental health services to Aboriginal people in Victoria. It is acknowledged that there are many closely related issues that arise and deserve attention in the discussion of this issue, such as the relationships between the mental health and child protection systems, and the mental health and drug treatment systems. However, the scope of this paper has been limited to ensure that recommendations for the improvement of services are clear, achievable in the short to medium term, and of maximum benefit to Aboriginal people experiencing mental health and social, emotional and cultural wellbeing problems.


2. Every effort has been made to reflect accurately the issues and strategies raised during consultations. Sections 5 and 6 are summaries of the many days of consultation.


3. The recommendations for the implementation of an improvement strategy are made from a statewide perspective with the aim of addressing the developmental need of Koori health and mental health services to improve their response to the mental health and social, emotional and cultural wellbeing needs of Koori people.


4. The following definitions apply in this discussion paper:


  • The term 'Aboriginal' includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, while the term 'Koori' refers to the Aboriginal people who are the traditional caretakers of the lands of south eastern Australia.

  • The term 'mental health service' refers to aged, adult, child and adolescent, and psychiatric disability support services.


5. While the importance of Koori community controlled health services is emphasised throughout this discussion paper, it is also assumed that mainstream mental health services have a responsibility to provide culturally appropriate quality services to Koori people. It is further acknowledged that Koori people are entitled to choose whether they wish to access Koori specific services without jeopardising their entitlement to mainstream services.



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