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Forum looks to unlock mental health crisis

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are outrageously over-represented in Australia’s justice system.

According to the Human Rights Watch Report 2018, Indigenous children and youth are 25 times more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system compared to non-Indigenous youth.

About one quarter of Australia’s prison population is made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. However, Indigenous people only make up three per cent of Australia’s total population.

The Human Rights Watch Report also states that more than half of Australia’s prison population has a disability, which often includes mental health issues.

However, as prisoners don’t have access to Medicare, it’s up the states’ health and justice budgets to accommodate for prisoners’ needs.

Leaders from across Australia will come together to speak at the upcoming National Indigenous Mental Health & Wellbeing Forum in Perth on the 21st-23rd February to share their thoughts on the growing mental health crisis.

Some of the speakers include Ngaree Ah Kit, Assistant Minister for Suicide Prevention, Mental Health and Disabilities and Assistant Minster for Seniors and Youth in the NT, Josie Farrer, Member for Kimberley, Aunty Cheri Yavu-Kama-Harathunian from the Indigenous Wellness Centre, Gerry Georgatos, Suicide Prevention and prison reform researcher and Mervyn Eades from Ngalla Maya.

They will, together with other presenters, share their stories, case studies and practical strategies on how to change the statistics and improve the mental wellbeing of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

Speakers will also discuss the correlation between mental health issues and imprisonment and address the importance of appropriate support within jails and detention centre as well as post-release.

It’s time to change the statistics – and that starts with everyone taking action.

For more information and to register, visit here.


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