Lifestyle and family health support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
We support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to live a healthy lifestyle at every stage of their lives. This includes measures to encourage people to be active, eat healthy and avoid risky behaviours; family health support; and mental health and suicide prevention initiatives.
Support for a healthy lifestyle
We support a healthy lifestyle to prevent disease and injury through initiatives that:
- encourage Australians to be active – this includes our physical activity guidelines and Get up & Grow resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- encourage people to eat a healthy diet – including through the dietary guidelines and Health Star Rating system
- help reduce rates of overweight and obesity – including through a National Obesity Strategy, which sees Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as a priority
- reduce disease and injury through preventive health measures and a National Preventive Health Strategy, which sees Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as a priority
- reduce smoking rates, through Tackling Indigenous Smoking and our National Tobacco Strategy, which sees Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as a priority.
Family health support
We fund family health initiatives to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families stay healthy at every stage of life.
Our Pregnancy Care Guidelines include a section on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
We manage the Australian Nurse–Family Partnership Program. This nurse-led home visiting program supports women who are pregnant with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander baby. It aims to improve the health of babies and mothers by building a strong bond between the nurse and the client.
We are working to reduce the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. This includes through:
- a 10-year national action plan, which identifies Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women as a priority group
- a new national awareness campaign – to raise awareness of the risks of drinking alcohol while pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding – which identifies Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women as one of the target audiences.
With the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, we fund the Connected Beginnings program. This program works to integrate early childhood health and education services in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The National Framework for Health Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Families aims to improve health services for children and families. The framework guides policies, programs and how we deliver health services.
Mental health and suicide prevention
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are a priority population for mental health support and suicide prevention in Australia.
We have provided extra funding for Primary Health Networks to boost existing mental health services, including for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia is updating the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy, which aims to reduce the rate of suicide among First Nations Peoples. is leading this work, in consultation with stakeholders and community members. Key initiatives include:
- developing community integrated regional suicide prevention plans
- providing local suicide prevention services, such as culturally sensitive aftercare and 24/7 crisis support services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
We have translated a radio ad into 15 Aboriginal languages explaining how people can get support for their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We fund Life in Mind, which provides suicide prevention information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Australia’s National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing guides and supports policy and practice. It:
- is part of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan
- contributes to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan.
Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia is working to refresh the framework and develop an implementation plan, in consultation with stakeholders and community members.