12 Feb 2016

By Linda Kurti, National Director

ASEWP Eval_v2

Urbis is partnering with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation, Aboriginal consultants Karen Milward (Karen Milward Consulting), Graham Gee and Alan Thorpe (Dardi Munwurro) and with renown forensic clinical psychologist Professor James Ogloff, to deliver the 2016-2018 evaluation of the first Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing Plan for Victorian prisoners.

With the tabling of the eighth Closing the Gap report in Federal Parliament this week, we have heard much about the disparities in incarceration rates between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

Compounding high rates of incarceration, within the prison context, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners fare markedly worse on many health and wellbeing indicators compared to other prisoners. A 2013 study which was a precursor to the Plan found that ” excluding substance misuse disorders, 71.7% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and 92.3% of women had received a lifetime diagnosis of mental illness” (Ogloff et al, 2013).

The Plan recognises the risks that discrimination, unresolved grief and trauma have on mental health and the influence that spirituality, connection to country and strong cultural identity has on building resilience and protecting against poor mental health.

The Plan itself acknowledges that “Aboriginal mental health encompasses all aspects of an individual’s life, including the social, physical, emotional, cultural and spiritual wellbeing of the individual and their community. The Plan recognises the risks that discrimination, unresolved grief and trauma have on mental health and the influence that spirituality, connection to country and strong cultural identity has on building resilience and protecting against poor mental health.”

The importance of the Plan is clear. It’s great news that an independent, arms-length evaluation has been commissioned to occur alongside implementation. This will allow interim findings to make a real and immediate impact on effective delivery of the Plan’s goals.

We are very much looking forward to working closely with such a terrific project team and with our commissioning partners within the Department of Justice and Regulation – Justice Health and Corrections Victoria.

For more information on Urbis’ Economic and Social Advisory team and the services they offer click here

 

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