Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

Integrated, culturally appropriate and safe mental health services can holistically meet the mental health and wellbeing needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the local level. 

Recognising the connection to culture and country will lead to improved social and emotional wellbeing. 

Culturally appropriate services can facilitate more effective mental health service delivery and improved mental health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Services

First Peoples' Health and Wellbeing

First People’s Health and Wellbeing provide services that meet the health and wellbeing needs of Australia’s First Peoples by providing holistic, trauma-informed, culturally safe mental health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. With the provision of comprehensive care coordination, including established links with other Aboriginal and mainstream networks and services they deliver a model that covers a range of intensities across the lifespan.

Why is this service needed?

A significant mental health gap remains between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians with twenty-nine per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people report a diagnosed mental health condition and 30 percent report high or very high levels of psychological distress, which is nearly three times that reported by non-Indigenous Australians.

Aboriginal Health Liaisons and services exist within the local health networks:

Aboriginal gathering places strengthen communities through sharing cultural heritage, and participation in health, recreation and social activities. They are also a resource for the broader Australian community to learn and connect. Gathering places are established in Hastings, Frankston, Doveton and Mordialloc.


South East Melbourne Suicide Prevention & Healing Network (SEMASPAHN)

Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency Co Op Ltd (VACCA)

The Network brings together passionate like-minded services and members of the Aboriginal community to proactively address the issue of suicide.

Activities include advocacy, education, promoting partnerships, and supporting healing through a cultural lens.

The group have identified current issues that are impacting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and have put initiatives in place to support their mental health needs in a culturally responsive manner.


Integrated Team Care (ITC) program

Dandenong and District Aborigines Co-operative (DDACL) and Star Health Group Ltd

ITC is provided by a team of Indigenous Health Project Officers (IHPOs), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Outreach Workers (Outreach Workers) and Care Coordinators.

The team works across the Indigenous and mainstream primary care sectors, to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to:

  • obtain primary health care as required,
  • provide care coordination services to eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with chronic disease/s who require coordinated, multidisciplinary care
  • improve access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to culturally appropriate mainstream primary care.

The ITC program has two aims:

  • Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with chronic disease, by providing access to specialist, general practice and allied health services, and offer support for self-management.
  • Improve access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to culturally-appropriate, mainstream, primary health care services

The ITC program encourages a flexible team approach to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the full pathway of care, from encouragement and assistance, to accessing health care, to the provision of care by a variety of health professionals

Why is this program needed?

Chronic diseases are major contributors to the mortality gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other Australians. The Australian Government has committed to closing the gap that exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians across health, education and employment.

The Integrated Team Care Program (ITC) was established to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with complex chronic diseases, who experience challenges of effectively managing their conditions, through access to one-on-one assistance offered by Care Coordinators.

  • Star Health: 9066 1567
  • Bunurong Health Service (DDACL): 03 8902 9700
  • Peninsula Health: Intake Access 1300 665 781


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