The Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia takes its name from the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration)

On 27th August 2015, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH), a precursor body to Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia, launched the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-specific companion to the Wharerātā Declaration (see below) and as the touchstone of its work to promote Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention.

After two years of promotion by NATSILMH, the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (2017) commits Australian governments to:

Improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander access to, and experience with, mental health and wellbeing services in collaboration with ACCHSs and other service providers by: recognising and promoting the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and supporting implementation of the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration (Action 12.3).

The Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration has five themes:

  1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander concepts of social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and healing should be recognised across all parts of the Australian mental health system, and in some circumstances support specialised areas of practice.
  2. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander concepts of social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and healing combined with clinical perspectives will make the greatest contribution to the achievement of the highest attainable standard of mental health and suicide prevention outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values-based social and emotional wellbeing and mental health outcome measures in combination with clinical outcome measures should guide the assessment of mental health and suicide prevention services and programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  4. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander presence and leadership is required across all parts of the Australian mental health system for it to adapt to, and be accountable to, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for the achievement of the highest attainable standard of mental health and suicide prevention outcomes.
  5. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders should be supported and valued to be visible and influential across all parts of the Australian mental health system

The Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration is the touchstone of Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia’s work to reform Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention and secure a fit for purpose mental health system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples.

Supporting documents:

The Wharerātā Declaration)

The Wharerātā Declaration

The Wharerātā Group of Indigenous mental health leaders from Canada, the United States, Australia, Samoa and New Zealand developed the Wharerātā Declaration in 2010. It comprises five themes on the importance of Indigenous leadership in addressing the common mental health challenges faced by Indigenous peoples around the world. The Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration is a companion declaration to the Wharerātā Declaration developed for use by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Health in Culture - Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration Implementation Guide)

Health in Culture - Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration Implementation Guide

An initial guide for governments and organisations across the mental health system to implementing the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration as per Article 12.3 of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan. This guide was the basis of eight national workshops co-hosted by NATSILMH and the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention over 2018-2019 and whose reports are listed below.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH) website)

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH) website

NATSILMH were a precursor body to Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia. The NATSILMH website is now maintained as an archive and contains resources, submissions and other material dating back to the body’s establishment in 2014.

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia