Page 1463 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 1 June 2022
Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Working Group and the participation of our local First Nations community. I thank everyone who has contributed to helping us reach this point.
This adds to increased support for Winnunga, including psychologist and nursing staff at the Alexander Maconochie Centre, in the last ACT budget. Winnunga provides a unique service to people in the AMC, as well as providing care through their community clinic so that people have continuity and can access holistic care, not just for the individual but also for their family. Additional resources were also made available to Justice Health Services during the public health restrictions in 2021 to support the mental wellbeing of people in the AMC. In March of this year the ACT government announced funding of $9.5 million through the bilateral agreement between the ACT and the commonwealth on mental health and suicide prevention services for a multidisciplinary youth mental health service in the ACT.
The ACT government’s Youth at Risk program will deliver coordinated responses for young people at risk of developing enduring mental illness. A key element of the program is an evidence-guided therapeutic approach and an adolescent trauma service. With the high proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people who have experienced challenges and complexities in their lives, this is an important service for young people and their families. But we know that there is still more that we need to do to provide the right services at the right time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT. This starts with listening to, and understanding, what our First Nations community is telling us about what mental health services are needed and how they should be delivered, through a needs analysis led by the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Working Group.
We also know that, despite the high rates of disability among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, they are less likely to have NDIS plans, and that those with plans often have lower levels of resourcing in their plans. With the recent change in federal government, I am hopeful that we will be able to work with Minister Bill Shorten to address inequities in the system and make accessing NDIS an easier process that is true to its intention of providing choice and control for people with disability.
Part of the process of supporting people with disability is identifying when someone needs support. Screening for disability at Bimberi Youth Detention Centre is helping the youth, education and health workers there to better identify who might need support and what kind of adjustments need to be made to provide care for young people who may have complex circumstances. Recognising that too many Aboriginal young people end up in the justice system, we are working to put in place better and earlier supports for children and their families to reduce young people engaging in harmful behaviour. These include a trial of functional family therapy delivered by OzChild and establishing Narrabundah House as a safe place for young people to call home while they are undergoing community corrections orders.
As part of ongoing work towards raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility, I will continue to support plans for more services to support young people and