AMSANT AOD and Mental Health Program Support

“Supporting the Social and Emotional Wellbeing of our Communities”

AMSANT understands that social determinants are critical to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal Communities and recognises the role that these determinants play in the development of mental health and harmful substance use issues within communities. AMSANT therefore recognises that a crucial component of providing support to the delivery of AOD and MH programs and services through the Community Controlled Sector is to continue to advocate and lobby for the improvement of the social determinants of health and mental health for Aboriginal people. We understand that these determinants extend beyond issues relating to, for example, housing, education, and employment, to more fundamental issues relating to the importance of control and culture and the legacy of a history of trauma and loss (Cooper, 2011). AMSANT will continue to advocate and lobby for greater government understanding of the significance of these determinants of health and well-being and their impacts on the mental health and substance use issues that we see within our communities. As stated in ‘Working Together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Well-Being Principles and Practice’;

“Until Aboriginal people are generally equal in terms of social indicators… the prevalence of harmful substance use and mental health problems among them is unlikely to decline”

(Wilkes, Gray, Saggers, Casey and Stearne, 2010, p.128)

AMSANT is committed to working alongside Community Controlled Health Services, specific AOD services and other relevant community and government organisations to develop a strategic approach to the challenges of dangerous alcohol use in Aboriginal communities. Some important steps in this journey so far have included the development of a model that describes an integrated approach to the provision of Social and Emotional Well-being services in Aboriginal Primary Health care and sets out a clear case for increased resourcing for the sector Model for Integrating Alcohol and Other Drugs. The model emphasises the importance of community driven, community development and preventative approaches as well as clinical/therapeutic approaches. Another step has been the development of a policy on alcohol control, as outlined in this policy; AMSANT continues to argue for the necessity of introducing a floor price for alcohol throughout Australia as an effective, evidence-based means of reducing alcohol consumption and the associated harms.

Most recently, AMSANT has employed a Mental Health Professional to provide support to AOD and Mental Health programs and workers throughout our sector.

AMSANT works to support the provision of AOD and MH services as part of comprehensive Primary Health Care throughout the NT with the aim of enhancing the detection and management of MH and AOD problems within our communities. In supporting this program area we work closely with the Remote AOD Workforce Support Team from Remote Health (see Remote AOD Workforce Program website by clicking here). Together with this team, AMSANT helps those working with AOD and MH issues in Aboriginal PHC to access the most appropriate consultation, resources, training, support, clinical supervision and assistance with program development. This work also involves providing ACCHSs with information and advice on relevant policies and initiatives relevant to the provision of MH and AOD services in Aboriginal PHC.