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Coordinated Aboriginal mental health care: A best practice model

Coordinated Aboriginal mental health care: A best practice model for rural and metropolitan service delivery

The aim of the Coordinated Aboriginal Mental Health Care (CAMHC) project was to develop, implement and evaluate agreed protocols and pathways for care of Aboriginal people and their families affected by mental health (MH) including alcohol and other drug (AOD) issues, often in the context of multiple health and social challenges.

This project responded to recommendations from the project team's previous research, and requests from the Aboriginal community in the Eyre Peninsula region of South Australia. It was also part of the team's larger program of work directed at assisting Aboriginal people affected by MH/AOD issues and coexisting physical illnesses. An action-oriented research approach was used. Decisions about implementing identified strategies were driven by participating health services' priorities and capacities.

Achievements associated with the project included:

Research actions included:

In 2009 the project team boosted its research transfer activities, informing a wide range of peak Aboriginal health bodies and community leaders, and key service providers, policymakers and program funders, about the project findings and the strategies that the research team have been developing and trialling. The project team facilitated agreement of key stakeholders to implement the IRIS (Indigenous Risk Impact Screen) as part of a system-wide, consistent approach to providing best practice coordinated Aboriginal MH/AOD care in South Australia.

Key findings:

A systematised approach to delivering best practice Aboriginal MH/AOD care across all levels of the health system (Aboriginal and mainstream) must be implemented as a matter of urgency. Key steps include:

Partners involved: Flinders University, Port Lincoln Aboriginal Health Service (PLAHS), Ceduna–Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service (CKAHS), University of Adelaide, Eyre Peninsula Division of General Practice

Related resources:
Project leader

Inge Kowanko



Administering institution:

Flinders University