Workforce Initiatives To Improve Aboriginal Mental Health

The Andrews Labor Government is investing $8.4 million to boost the number of Aboriginal health workers in the system and provide more culturally appropriate mental health services for Aboriginal Victorians.

Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley said the funding would support two new workforce initiatives designed to improve the mental health and social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal Victorians.

The new initiatives include an Aboriginal Mental Health Traineeship Program for Aboriginal people interested in a career in mental health services, and the provision of ten new clinical and therapeutic mental health positions in Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations across Victoria.

The Traineeship Program aims to boost the number of Aboriginal people working in mental health, increase culturally safe and inclusive mental health care for Aboriginal people, and to strengthen partnerships between Aboriginal communities and their local health service.

As part of the program ten Aboriginal Victorians will be offered placements at eight mental health services while they undertake tertiary mental health studies.

The ten new clinical and therapeutic mental health positions will be located within Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations across Victoria including Ballarat, Swan Hill, Warrnambool, Healesville, Halls Gap, Heywood, Morwell, Portland, Purnim and suburban Preston.

The positions may include clinicians from a range of disciplines, such as mental health nurses, occupational therapists, psychologists and social workers, as determined by the needs of each organisation.

This funding is on top of the Labor Government’s $4 million investment in Aboriginal mental health demonstration projects in the Victorian Budget 2018-19.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley

“Historically Aboriginal people have had difficult experiences with the mental health system, so what we want to do is to break down barriers and build trust.”  

“Everyone working in mental health should be considering how they can make things better for Aboriginal Victorians with mental illness, ensuring they receive culturally appropriate treatment, care and support.”

“Having Aboriginal health workers in the system will help achieve this and foster cross-cultural understanding.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins

“These initiatives, which are important in helping the mental health, social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal Victorians, also break down barriers and help strengthen the relationship with local health services.”