New Indigenous leadership body welcomes PM’s announcement of Indigenous mental health support in pandemic

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia, the new national Indigenous wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention leadership body, welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement today of government support for Indigenous wellbeing and mental health during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia Chair Professor Helen Milroy said:

I thank the Prime Minister for acknowledging the particular pandemic related wellbeing and mental health support needs of our peoples today, and for backing Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia to help meet those needs. The challenges ahead for Indigenous Australians are great. Poverty, racism and trauma already contribute to mental health issues among us, and sustained periods of isolation, and potential loss of employment, sickness and grief ahead will only add to that burden.

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia Patron Professor Tom Calma AO added:

The new body will start immediately to produce a series of ‘tip sheets’ specifically aimed at our households, families and communities. Some will address the concerns all Australians have at this time, but others – cultural concerns and the fear of experiencing of discrimination when seeking treatment, for example, require a uniquely Indigenous lens. We hope to eventually translate these into Indigenous languages and otherwise prepare resources for a wide range of Indigenous audiences: from those in remote communities to urban dwellers.

Professor Helen Milroy closed:

I hope by working together we can spread the word about Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia. As peoples, we have survived many challenges and I am confident that together we can support each other and we will get through this pandemic. Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia has a significant role to play in this as a uniquely Indigenous and trusted source of information, help and hope during the difficult times ahead.


Professors Helen Milroy and Tom Calma AO are available for media requests. Contact 0418 259 651

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia is an Indigenous-led and controlled organisation with a Vision of Indigenous leadership and presence across all parts of the Australian mental health system and the achievement of the highest attainable standard of social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention outcomes for Indigenous peoples. It was formally established in March 2020. To find out more, visit the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia website and read the first of its tip sheets: www.gayaadhuwi.org.au

If you or someone you know needs help or support, contact your local Aboriginal Medical Service or

  • Lifeline: 131 114
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
  • Mensline: 1300 78 99 78
  • Beyondblue 1300 22 46 36
  • Q Life 1800 18 45 27
  • Open Arms Veterans & Families Counselling 1800 01 10 46
  • The National Indigenous Critical Response Service 1800 80 58 0
Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia