Mind Australia strongly supports a First Nations Voice to Parliament.
We believe that constitutional recognition and the opportunity to have a greater say in policies and programs that directly affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is essential for the healing and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities continue to experience disproportionately high rates of mental ill-health, suicide and lower life-expectancy.
We recognise that these experiences are interrelated with the ongoing impacts of dispossession, colonisation, intergenerational trauma and structural racism.
We understand that discrimination and marginalisation are interrelated with poorer mental health and service access, and that the experience of inclusion can vary greatly for people.
As a large, specialist mental health service provider, we have a responsibility to address the inequity that exists between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people with regard to mental ill-health and suicide.
We are committed to listening deeply to the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and want to see their wisdom valued and recognised as being integral to Australia’s identity.
We are supporters of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, including building a better future by establishing a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution, and the establishment of a Makarrata Commission for the purpose of treaty making and truth-telling.
We also support the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration to achieve the highest attainable standard of social and emotional wellbeing, mental health, and suicide prevention outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
We are also on our own Reconciliation journey with the launch last month of our second, Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (PDF 2.3 MB).
This Plan commits us to developing and implementing practice guidelines, tools and training programs that more comprehensively provide staff across the organisation with the skills needed to support people of Aboriginal heritage.
We are on our way to achieving our vision of embracing and embedding the wellbeing principles and practices of First Nations people into mental health service design, delivery, leadership and governance.
A First Nations Voice to Parliament will further support this vision and we fully support the proposal.
Gill Callister CEO of Mind Australia