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Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration Launched

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration Launched

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.”

Aboriginal flag Torres Strait Islander flag

Acknowledgement of Country

The Commission acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands throughout Australia.
We pay our respects to their clans, and to the elders, past present and emerging, and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.


The Commission is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services. The Commission welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lived Experience

We acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and suicide, and those who love, have loved and care for them. Each person’s journey is unique and a valued contribution to Australia’s commitment to mental health suicide prevention systems reform.