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    Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
    The Honourable Di Farmer

    Thursday, March 21, 2019

    New healing strategy to boost health and wellbeing and help close the gap

    Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
    The Honourable Di Farmer

    Thursday, March 21, 2019

    New healing strategy to boost health and wellbeing and help close the gap

    Today on National Close the Gap Day, the Palaszczuk Government has announced $450,000 will be invested in support of achieving health and wellbeing equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by 2030.

    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,” she said.

    “We know that social an emotional wellbeing, grounded in strong connections to community, family and Country, is an important protective factor against some mental illnesses, problematic alcohol and other drug use, and suicide, and supports recovery.

    “One of the most effective ways we can help improve the mental health and wellbeing of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and reduce suicide rates in the short- to medium-term is to make sure we are guided by and work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at all levels of the mental health system.

    “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.

    “This could be programs that focus on assisting children, mental health, alcohol or other drugs, or suicide risk.”

    The strategy is being jointly funded by the 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. 

    “Through our partnership with the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, the recently established Queensland Children and Families Board and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, we have the opportunity to achieve real change and 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.

    The strategy 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.

    ENDS

    Media contact: Cat Milton 0447 117 132