Aboriginal mental health
The Mental Health Commission has committed $22.47 million over four years to fund a statewide mental health service for Aboriginal people with severe and persistent mental illnesses.
The Statewide Specialist Aboriginal Mental Health Service (SSAMHS) model is an innovative arrangement which delivers whole-of-life mental health care. In addition to specialist clinical interventions, this model involves the family and engages traditional healers identified by people with mental illness and their families through community networks. This approach ensures a culturally secure service, thereby ‘closing the gaps’ in the mainstream mental health system and, in the context of Aboriginal engagement with services, addressing inadequacies of the traditional medical model. SSAMHS is focused on delivering improved access to mental health services for Aboriginal people and a career structure to encourage recruitment and retention of Aboriginal staff.
The key objectives of SSAMHS are:
- improving access to culturally appropriate mental health services for Aboriginal people and their families
building the capacity of the Aboriginal mental health workforce
- developing and maintaining interagency partnerships aimed at the development of a more holistic approach to Aboriginal mental health care
- improving the cultural understanding and functioning of mental health service providers.
SSAMHS is developing a skilled, specialist and appropriately supported aboriginal mental health workforce that addresses mental health, social and emotional wellbeing, and substance use issues for children, adults, families and communities across all aboriginal settings.
SSAMHS is delivered by the Department of Health mental health services in both metropolitan and country areas except for the Kimberley region, where services are delivered by the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council, and the Kimberley WA Country Health Service. An additional $22.3million has been allocated to social and emotional well being programs through the Department of Health. Most of these will be delivered by non-government organisations.