The Morrison Government has committed more than $1 million to the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) to build youth leadership and resilience, help reduce suicide and continue its vital work supporting young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The funding will help the AHCWA implement the WA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Strategy, including engaging with counterparts in other states and territories to drive youth health improvements.
One of the first projects supported by the funding has been this week’s AHCWA Health Youth Committee conference, where almost three dozen delegates came together from across WA and South Australia to discuss youth issues, with suicide prevention a priority.
The youth conference will be an annual event, as part of the broader AHCWA conference.
While respect for our culture and our Elders is fundamental, young people are our future. According to the most recent census, 42 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are aged between 5 and 24 years.
It is critical we support and listen to our young people and encourage them take responsibility for their wellbeing and their future.
The Youth Strategy identifies five key domains to support long and healthy lives:
· Strength in culture - capable and confident.
· Strength in family and relationships
· Educating to employ
· Empowering future leaders
· Healthy now, healthy future
It includes the rollout of a Family Wellbeing Program and an Aboriginal Youth Mental Health First Aid course, along with development of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce specifically to improve youth health.
The Strategy also highlights the value of including lessons about Aboriginal culture, languages and traditional stories in WA schools, along with bush camps to engage youth and reinforce the value of cultural roots.
It will receive $1.05 million over three years, under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Program.
The Morrison Government has also provided $20,000 to AHCWA to support the development of its Mappa project.
Mappa is a free online mapping tool to help people access health services as close as possible to family, home and country.
Our Government is providing $3.9 billion to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the next four years.
For details of the Youth Strategy and the Mappa project, go to https://www.ahcwa.org.au/