A 24/7 CRISIS line 'for mob' is a national first for Indigenous Australians to access phone support, with same-culture support workers on the other end of the '13YARN' line.
Embracing the new government-funded service, Orange Aboriginal Medical Service's CEO, Jamie Newman believes the platform will be beneficial, though, "a few things still need to happen" when it comes to intensive care of mental health.
"I support 13YARN, because we're giving our people another option here and it's going to be a step up," Mr Newman said.
"But for these ones who engage fully and say 'I'm willing to seek help, but I just don't know where to go' - that's when these fullas need to be ready to respond, especially for somebody who might be suicidal, where time is critical."
The OAMS CEO feels long-standing flaws around funding, local services providers and the Aboriginal community is where "the rubber hits the road" and are overdue for restructure.
"A lot of times for Aboriginal people, if someone mentions the word 'hospital' - they get hung up on," he said, "and we have a traditional and contemporary bad relationship with hospitals.
And for the most vulnerable population, we have to beg, borrow and steal? It's no wonder we're struggling with Aboriginal health.- OAMS CEO, Jamie Newman on funding difficulties around intensive mental health support
"We need interagency communication and better funding, but for the most vulnerable population - we have to beg, borrow and steal? It's no wonder we're struggling with Aboriginal health."
Census statistics showed around three in 10 people, or 30 per cent of the Indigenous population aged 18 years and over, reported "high or very high levels of psychological distress."
Sadly, it also evidenced double the suicide rate than that of non-Indigenous Australians.
"We're still getting high numbers here [in Orange] of our people committing suicide; young Aboriginal males, especially," Mr Newman said.
"We have a crisis in mental health and I believe that our response [as a community] has been slow, especially for Aboriginal and ATSI people - it's not acceptable."
Mr Newman said that, if funded correctly, the "failure of mainstream to deal with mental health for our people" would be highlighted", with the feeling of shame a real, cultural and critical factor.
We have a crisis in mental health and I believe that our response [as a community] has been slow, especially for Aboriginal and ATSI people - it's not acceptable.- Jamie Newman on service access and reliability for the Aboriginal community
"This shame negates access and engagement for a lot of our people ... but when you have high incidents of young Aboriginal males committing suicide and not funding a service to provide intensive clinical care, then that number's going to increase," he said.
"We're past steps one and two for intervention and prevention already, it's not needed - it's like putting an ashtray on a motorbike. Intergenerational trauma for our people is going back generations, so we're starting off traumatised at a level three already.
"Our people need access to and availability of intensive, high-level clinical mental health care and we're not mad - we are traumatised by generations and generations of trauma."
For more local information on community and health services, contact Orange Aboriginal Medical Service on (02) 6393 9000.
To talk with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander crisis worker, the 13YARN line can be phoned on 13 92 76.
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