Governments need to take Closing the Gap commitments seriously

Following today’s release of the updated Closing the Gap Data Dashboard, Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia is calling for governments to take their Closing the Gap commitments seriously.

“As with the other reports that have come out in recent weeks, the latest Closing the Gap Data Dashboard update shows what the sector is already well aware of”, said Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia CEO Ms Rachel Fishlock.

“Our people deserve to enjoy high levels of social and emotional wellbeing, but the dashboard update shows we aren’t on track for this to happen – in fact things are getting worse.

“When will governments finally take their Closing the Gap commitments seriously and make the widescale systemic changes needed?”

“Our people have experienced a failed referendum, COVID, cost of living pressures, and natural disasters, all while dealing with the intergenerational impacts of colonisation”, said Professor Helen Millroy, Chair of Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, workforce, and community are working tirelessly to be present, lead, and excel within Australia’s mental health system, but we can’t do it alone”.

The Data Dashboard update is a clear example of why the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration Implementation Plan needs to be launched and embedded into Australia’s mental health system.

“The Gayaa Dhuwi Declaration Implementation Plan was developed by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander National Governance Committee and a Government Advisory Committee. It was tested with community members with a lived experience of mental health and social and emotional wellbeing services”, said Professor Millroy.

“It’s been endorsed by the Minister for Health and Aged Care, and we’re excited to launch it soon and get to work on the actions contained within it”.

The Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration focuses on a ‘best of both worlds’ approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health, social and emotional wellbeing, and suicide prevention; promoting an appropriate balance of clinical and culturally-informed mental health system responses.

Media are reminded of the importance of abiding by the Good Yarn Guidelines when reporting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander matters, including the provision of 24/7 crisis helpline services: 13 YARN (139276); Brother to Brother crisis line (1800 435 799); Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800).

Media contact: Clare Butterfield, Director of Communications, clare.butterfield@gayaadhuwi.org.au or 0437 243 007

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