Data suggest that mental illness is the leading contributor to the Indigenous burden of disease in Queensland, contributing up to 20 per cent of the total disease burden and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders experience higher rates of psychological distress, mental illness, assault and suicide than other Queenslanders.
Queensland Health is the main provider of specialist hospital and community mental health services and drug and alcohol treatment services in Queensland.
The overarching vision of the Queensland Health Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Strategy 2016-2021 is elimination of the gap in mental health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders and non-Indigenous Queenslanders. The strategy focuses primarily on improving the responsiveness and effectiveness of Queensland Health's mental health services to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders with severe mental illness.
Actions against four result areas will help achieve the strategy's vision:
- Developing culturally capable mental health services.
- Connecting healthcare.
- Partnering for prevention and recovery.
- Enhancing the evidence base.
Implementation of the actions in this strategy will be monitored through six-monthly qualitative and quantitative progress reports and analysis of national and state datasets undertaken by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Branch.
The strategy underpins the Connecting Care to Recovery 2016-2021: A plan for Queensland's State-funded mental health, alcohol and other drug services by providing specific strategies to strengthen mental health service provision to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
It is complemented by the Queensland Mental Health Commission's Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Wellbeing Action Plan 2016-18 'Proud and Strong' which focuses on addressing the systemic social and emotional well-being issues affecting Queensland's Indigenous population more broadly.