Aboriginal Men Heed the Call for Better Health

Aboriginal Men Heed the Call for Better Health

16 July 2013

About 120 Aboriginal men from across Australia have joined together at a national summit to identify ways to improve the health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males in remote communities.

Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, said today the three-day summit involved men from 29 communities from the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia.

For the first time, we are working closely with the men who live in these areas and asking them for their recommendations and ideas on ways to improve their health and the health of their families and communities, he said.

The summit will discuss a number of issues impacting health, including physical, social and emotional wellbeing, culture, employment, incarceration, and access to services in remote Aboriginal communities.

At the end of the Summit, we hope to have developed some plans for action they can take back to their communities.

The Australian Governments National Partnership on Remote Service Delivery has identified each of the communities represented at the Summit as a priority area.

Under the partnership, the Government is working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to improve service delivery and facilities, to raise the quality of services, and support community leadership.

Rather than having Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feel like theyre part of the problem, we want to encourage and support Aboriginal men to be part of the solution,
Mr Snowdon said.

The Australian Government has provided $440,000 to support the Aboriginal Health Summit in partnership with the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress and Wurli Wurlinjang Health Service.

The Australian Government has funded a wide range of programs targeting mens health, following the release of the National Male Health Policy. Including initiatives to prevent and treat prostate cancer, new funding for mental health programs aimed at men, supporting Mens Sheds and funding organisations that address key male health issues including reproductive health.

There has also been funding committed towards programs to address the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men. Recognising and promoting the positive roles Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males have in managing their own health, and in supporting the health of all members of their communities including women and children.

The Australian Government is also investing in providing better treatment for men with prostate cancer, with about 20,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Abiraterone acetate (marketed as Zytiga) will be available on the PBS from 1 August 2013, at a cost of $46 million over four years.

Funding of $7 million over four years was recently announced to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia to support up to 13 Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses to assist and support up to 4,000 men with prostate cancer.

In an effort to address suicide rates particularly among males, the Federal Government is investing $23 million to expand the beyondblue national workplace program, and building on the Info Line for men.

Campaigns are also being developed to address the stigma around depression, anxiety and related disorders.

Through the Strong Fathers Strong Families (SFSF) initiative $6.8 million has been provided to promote the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fathers, partners, grandfathers and uncles and encourage them to actively participate in their childrens and families lives.

More than $300,000 has been provided to establish, equip and promote Mens Sheds as a positive contributor towards health, wellbeing and community engagement issues within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

White Lion has been granted $275,000 to provide intensive outreach support for young Aboriginal people who are incarcerated or have recently been released from incarceration.