From the 21st to the 23rd of February, Maria Baker (CEO, Te Rau Matatini), attended the 2nd National Indigenous Mental Health & Wellbeing Forum in Perth, Australia. Maria had the honour of being the only attendee from Aotearoa invited to speak at the event.
Similar to Aotearoa, there are health disparities between indigenous and non-indigenous people in Australia. For example, indigenous Australians’ experience higher rates of psychological stress and suicide than non-indigenous Australians. The aim of the National Indigenous Mental Health & Wellbeing Forum is to provide practical tools to address these inequities, to improve the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through holistic approaches to mental health.
Through her presentation Maria shared the work that Te Rau Matatini is doing in Aotearoa to improve mental health outcomes for Māori. She covered several key topics, including:
- Increasing the Māori health workforce.
- Incorporation of Māori worldviews and holistic models into mainstream mental health sector policies.
- Greater participation of Māori employees and leaders in the sector.
- Pushing for stronger engagement and retention strategies.
- The radical shift needed in New Zealand and plans for the next decade.