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Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration Launched

27 August 2015

Supporting Indigenous Leadership in Mental Health 

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH) Chair and National Mental Health Commissioner Professor Pat Dudgeon launched the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration at the TheMHS Conference in Canberra on 27 August 2015.

The National Mental Health Commission is proud to support the Gayaa Dhuwi Declaration which provides a framework for Indigenous leadership in mental health and suicide prevention.

NATSILMH member Professor Tom Calma AO said: “NATSILMH call on Australian Governments, in a bipartisan way, to formally adopt and commit to the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration by the 30th of June 2016, and to work with Indigenous mental health leaders to develop implementation components within a year of that."

“It’s time for action if the mental health of our peoples is to improve, and for our suicide rates to come down to at least the same as that of other Australians. We must cement Indigenous leadership as fundamental and non-negotiable in that response, and the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration provides framework for that.”

View the Declaration

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration

Image: Tom Brideson - NATSILMH, David Butt - National Mental Health Commission, Professor Pat Dudgeon - NATSILMH, Dr Lesley van Schoubroeck - QLD Mental Health Commission and Commissioner John Feneley - NSW Mental Health Commission at the launch of the Declaration.

Mental health conditions, self harm and suicide are reported among Indigenous Australians at over double the rate of other Australians and the situation may be getting worse. While the Australian mental health system has made many strides in the right direction, further efforts are needed if the situation is to turn around. In particular, Indigenous leadership is needed to ensure that culturally informed practices and methods are available to us in addition to clinical responses.

Commissioner Pat Dudgeon

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