Last month we celebrated mental health week, which had a specific focus on a review into our mental health system recommended Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health be prioritised and mental health be included in Close the Gap targets.
We want to bring special attention to a Melbourne organisation who provides tireless work to help establish culturally-safe aboriginal health programs. They are DDACL in Dandenong.
The Co-op was established in 1975 and over the years has developed strong links to mainstream agencies and increased their capacity for providing essential services to improve Aboriginal health in the area. They have a first hand knowledge of issues effecting local indigenous communities and the health services DDACL offers include:
- GP services – doctors are selected to provide the best fit to prevent and manage ill-health
- Maternity services – a free initiative to provide support for mothers (both new and expecting)
- Chronic care – to manage and prevent chronic disease in the aboriginal community
- Tobacca program – to help individuals quit smoking in a culturally safe and friendly place
The DDACL plays a crucial role in the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and we are proud to highlight their work and hope any other local indiginous families in need can also utilise their services.
We also want to pay tribute to NAIDOC week (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) which runs from the first Sunday in July until the following Sunday. This helps the wider community gain an appreciation of the original inhabitants of Australia, through Indigenous Australian music, reading dream time stories, visiting Indigenous Australian websites on the Internet and organising an art competition. It is hoped that with greater awareness and appreciation will come a smaller gap in the lifestyles of white and indigenous Australians.