Strong spirits and strong minds – helping local Aboriginal people reduce harm from alcohol and other drugs

The Primary Health Network is helping 25 local Aboriginal people complete a Certificate IV course in Drug and Alcohol, with the option of completing additional units to also obtain a Certificate IV in Mental Health. “Like all Australians Aboriginal people are at risk of health and social problems associated with alcohol and drug use. However, for Aboriginal people cultural differences can mean they face barriers in accessing culturally safe alcohol and drug services. We also know that Aboriginal people are under-represented in the health workforce”, said John Manton, Manager for Aboriginal Health at the PHN.

“For Aboriginal people health is not just their physical well-being, it is also the social, emotional and cultural well-being of the whole community in which they live. Therefore it is very important that if we are to close the gap in Aboriginal health we get more Aboriginal people working in the health field”.

 “That’s why we so excited this week to have 25 local Aboriginal people starting their Certificate IV course in Drug and Alcohol”

“What we hope to achieve through this training program is to blend mainstream models of practice in the drug and alcohol field within the context of an Aboriginal worldview. Our aim is to empower Aboriginal people and to demonstrate respect for their cultural beliefs, values and family systems.”

“A key way to engage Aboriginal people so they are comfortable and willing to seek support and treatment for their drug and alcohol problems is to have more Aboriginal people employed and working in drug and alcohol treatment services”

“Aboriginal ways of being healthy are for people to look after themselves by making good choices, and to care for their family, community and culture. Alcohol and other drugs can tangle and weaken the spirit and mind. This will affect a person’s emotional, social, spiritual and physical wellbeing and weaken the connection to family, community, culture and country”

 Funding for this program is part of the Australian Government’s contribution under the National Ice Action Strategy and demonstrates continued commitment to building safe and healthy communities by reducing the impact of drug and alcohol misuse to individuals, families and communities.

View interviews with course participants on our Youtube Channel