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The Improving the capacity of workers in Indigenous communities measure is a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) mental health reform package. The Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH), in the Department of Health and Ageing, is responsible for the administration and implementation of this Indigenous-specific measure. The measure forms part of the Commonwealth's component of the COAG National Action Plan on Mental Health 2006 - 2011.
Under this measure, health practitioners including Aboriginal Health Workers, counsellors, and clinic staff will be trained to identify and address mental illness and associated substance use issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, recognise the early signs of mental illness, and make referrals for treatment where appropriate. Support staff, such as transport and administration staff, will be trained in mental health first aid. The measure also provides additional mental health worker positions nationally, as well as development of resources and information to support health practitioners to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at risk of, or experiencing mental illness.
Social Health Section
Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH)
Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing
GPO Box 9848
Canberra ACT 2601
The Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council (CS&HISC) have developed training resources and support materials to improve the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers to recognise and respond to mental illness and alcohol and other drug issues. This report describes the background to the project and its progress to date.
Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract