Queensland commits to Closing the Gap with healing strategy

Queensland commits to Closing the Gap with healing strategy

by Freya Lucas

March 21, 2019

To commemorate Closing the Gap day, the Queensland Government has today announced that $450,000 will be invested to support the goal of achieving health and wellbeing equity for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by 2030.

 

QLD Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer said the $450,000 healing strategy, led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, would contribute to safer, stronger families and communities and a brighter future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Queensland.

 

“The theme of this year’s National Close the Gap Day is Our Health, Our Voice, Our Choice, and mental health is a really important aspect of overall health and wellbeing,” Ms Farmer said.

 

“The Queensland First Families and Children’s Board is leading us in developing a healing strategy in partnership with the Queensland Mental Health Commission, and this strategy will help build the foundations for lifelong mental health and social and emotional wellbeing.”

 

Ms Farmer said the yet to be developed programs would likely focus on assisting children, improving mental health, and managing alcohol or other drugs, or suicide risk.”

 

The strategy is being jointly funded by the state Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women and the Queensland Mental Health Commission.

 

Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Ivan Frkovic said the healing strategy would help build the foundations for lifelong mental health and social and emotional wellbeing.

 

“We acknowledge that the trauma caused by historical and ongoing disadvantage affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ wellbeing,” Mr Frkovic said.

 

“The healing strategy will be grounded in strong connection to community, family and Country, and build on the rich and resilient Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

 

“Its strength will be its leadership by the Queensland Children and Families Board, and the local approaches that will be delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

 

Mr Frkovic said his organisation welcomed the opportunity, in conjunction with the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, the recently established Queensland Children and Families Board and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, to achieve real change and create renewed hope in the lives of Indigenous people experiencing trauma.

 

The healing strategy arose from a broader strategy to reduce the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care, and will include opportunities to work with communities, under Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership, to design programs that target the early years, mental health, alcohol and other drugs and suicide as determined by the community.

 

“By drawing on the strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and culture, we will build the capability of healing within communities to close the gap and achieve health and wellbeing equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Queensland,” Ms Farmer said in closing.

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