National Indigenous Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Conference

10 - 12 December, 2024

Hilton Hotel, Cairns QLD

Conference Aboriginal Art
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THE CONFERENCE

The 2023 National First Nations Closing the Gap Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Conference is scheduled to be held at the Hilton Hotel in Cairns QLD on September 20 - 22, 2023 which aims to bring together mental health workers, AOD support workers, Head to Health Aboriginal & Torres Straits Islander mental health practitioners, emotional and social wellbeing workers from Indigenous and Non-Indigenous organisations throughout Australia and present unique opportunities for Mental Health workers to meet and discuss issues specifically centered on First Nations peoples' mental health and wellbeing. The increasing frequency and severity of mental health and wellbeing issues throughout Indigenous Communities has reached a crisis level through the length and breadth of this country. However, this is not news to Indigenous peoples. Communities have proclaimed the need for action to address the needs of many First Nations peoples.

This year’s conference theme will be based upon the principles of we all have a role to play in healing wherein a range of issues brought to the forefront by our communities will be examined and as such will endeavour to heighten the need for Government, Non-Government, Primary Health and Community-controlled organisations to refocus on their duty of care to First Nations peoples. The event is based upon the principal belief that Indigenous health must be approached from a holistic view, which encompasses body, mind and spirit; thus, leading to the fundamental rights of self-determination. The conference recognises that treating our health must be done by treating the whole person, through mind, body, soul and culture. No matter what your culture is. If you are a First Nations person, statistics show that health, education and the justice system is monstrously weighted against First Nations People. In today’s society Indigenous people have a varied lifestyle, ranging from inner-city living to isolated communities. The conference is designed to bring together both government and non-government agencies who are working in the Indigenous health sector, therefore focusing on Mental Health and strengthening the life expectancy of First Nations people to equal that of non-Indigenous people. In Australia, the most successful initiatives in First Nations Health are the Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) and now the partnerships between government and communities. The first Aboriginal community-controlled health service was established in New South Wales and has been operational for the past forty (40) years. Today, there are over 120 AMS and countless numbers of Primary Health Care Posts in First Nations communities in Australia.

CONFERENCE OBJECTIVES The 2023 National First Nations Closing the Gap in Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Conference aims to: • Provide an open and frank forum for discussions • Highlight inspiring initiatives, successes and challenges faced by mental health workers and Aboriginal & Torres Straits Islander social and emotional well-being workers • Lend support to individuals and groups working in the field of Indigenous Mental Health & well-being • Help grow a global network for the sharing of information and resources • Bring together both government and non-government agencies working in the field of Indigenous Health • Show that poor health is no longer tolerated or acceptable in today’s society • To bring together organisations as a united voice in closing the gap • Exchange information regarding the successes of community projects in the field of Indigenous Health in general • Reduce and prevent the incidence of suicide within the community • Strategies for linking holistic policy with health interventions • Explore methods for improving accountability at all levels to ensure sustainable progress • Provides an opportunity to network and meet face to face to exchange ideas, valuable information and successful programs in place in their communities.

CONFERNECE PHILOSPHY

The philosophy of this conference is to provide an educational platform to the wider community and endeavour to sensitively assist in a culturally appropriate way with the healing of spirit, mind, body and soul of First Nations peoples throughout the world. This conference is formulated by Indigenous Conferences Services whose employees and their families have been profoundly affected by, in one way or another, the issues of stolen generations and inter-generational trauma wherein mental health issues commonly arise from.

The core belief of this conference is that the journey of healing will take generations to come, whilst healing varies from one individual and their family to another. The overarching aim for the conference is to assist with the journey of healing and to act as an open and frank discussion and forum where not just ideas are shared but also have the potential of further uniting First Nations peoples and to highlight to the government that our journey is far from complete. The conference will undoubtedly be educational, inspirational, eye-opening, thought-provoking, initiates brisk debate and certainly provides plenty of opportunities for food for thoughts. Moreover, the conference shall strive to increase cultural awareness and understanding as well as hopefully aid in some way with the long journey of healing. As First Nations Peoples, it is now imperative that we unite and rebuild as sovereign independent nations, in order to assert our sovereign title and rights throughout Australia. This will be a major political and legal fight, but it is our future for not just us, but for our children and grandchildren. THE VISION

The conference is not politically biased. Rather, it should be seen as an opportunity to access information that is not readily available. Today the world has become smaller with the invention of the internet and jet travel. As such, we are of the belief that there is nothing more empowering and more effective than people having an opportunity to network and collaborate. The conference vision for this event is to embrace the philosophy of First Nations community-controlled and mainstream service providers through promoting an informative forum of research, health education and training of staff for the betterment of Indigenous health. This event guarantees the opportunity to enlarge your network and information base, thus empowering all delegates to make greater informed decisions within their professional and extended communities. Furthermore, it has been proven time and time again that events such as this empower and reinvigorate workers with new ideas and enthusiasm, with a greater feeling of support and new contacts that may be utilised for the betterment of their own local community. Whether you are an allied health professional, Indigenous health worker, medical professional or in an administrative clerical role within the organisation, this conference will provide excellent opportunities to gain and share information that will be of use to you and your organisation back in your community. The opportunities that this Conference provides to people involved in First Nations Health is the sharing of knowledge and development of long-term friendships/partnerships. This conference is designed from an Indigenous perspective, in which we all lend support to each other regardless of our employers. With all this in mind, we invite you to actively participate in the upcoming event.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND? The 2023 National First Nations Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Conference is ideal for those responsible for designing and delivering primary mental health care, improving the responsiveness of the health care system to First Nations people's health & wellbeing from: • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clinicians • PHNs & Researchers • Social & Emotional Wellbeing workers • Aboriginal health professionals and practitioners • Elders & Community representatives • Program managers and Policymakers • Governments - State / Territory and Commonwealth • University Lecturers • GPs & Medical Specialists • Psychologist & Social workers • Care finders, health connectors, aged care workers and disability support workers • NGOs & philanthropists • Aboriginal Medical Services • Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations • Mental Health Practitioners • Community Services organisations • Advocates, Counsellors, Educators & Youth workers • Interested Individuals

WHO ARE WE?

Indigenous conference Services (Australia) is a privately owned, wholly self-funded Indigenous business which specialises in events and conferences. Even though we are a self funded enterprise, we come from grass roots backgrounds with a burning passion for social justice issues. As such, we seek to compliment the workings of community initiatives and organisations across a broad spectrum of Indigenous affairs. The events that we design seek not to have a political agenda, however to compliment local, state and national organisations. Indigenous Conference Services (Australia) seeks to employ local community members wherever possible and gives a strong undertaking to adhere to local customs and protocols.

CELEBRATE INDIGENOUS STORIES

Come and celebrate First Nations people & Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, strengths, successes and empowerment. To share First Nations peoples stories and ideas about what has worked for you or your community and how we address life’s challenges. This conference is blessed with the abundance of the highest calibre guest speakers from proud Indigenous peoples around the Australia.

BENEFITS OF ATTENDING FOR THE EMPLOYER

As an employee we are asked to present valid reasons why we should attend. Listed below are valid points that can be raised with your employer to justify your attendance. Staff attending conferences regularly tend to become long term employees An event such as this adds to the positive moral of staff Conferences are a great way of providing ongoing training Provides the opportunity to further enhance the organisation knowledge base The opportunity for saving organisations money because of the short duration of the event Allows delegates to showcase the organisation nationally and internationally May provide organisations with new ideas Gives organisations a showcase and voice at a national level Provide an opportunity to evaluate various programs Because this event is conducted over a short period, staff are only absent for a minimal number of days CALLING FOR PAPERS

(Invitation to submit abstracts for presentations and workshops) Guidelines for Submitting Paper: Papers should not contain offensive language and take in to account cultural sensitivities. Papers may treat the themes in a manner that contributes to a further discussion of the conference aims.

Conference papers must be presented in the finish format not less 60 days prior to the event. Papers that are not chosen in the first round may be resubmitted if there is a second round. Papers should be submitted in IBM and Microsoft Word format. A Brief Outline of Paper (maximum 350 words online).

Author/s of papers presented at the conference will be formally notified acceptance. Presentation time at the conference for your papers will be allowed a maximum of 45 minutes, this will include question and answer time.

Call for papers registration fee of $750 will apply to all persons submitting papers, payable upon acceptance of papers. Papers should explore ways in which the themes show up in the philosophy of the conference. A maximum of two presenters for each paper are eligible for the discounted call for papers registration fee. If 2 presenters, then 2 biographies are required. Two paragraphs outlining the proposed speaker’s Biography required. All papers must be presented in a positive and informative light. A Head and Shoulders photo of papers’ authors/presenters are required within 30 days of confirmation of acceptance of paper. Authors agree to have their paper published as part of the conference proceedings. Authors to agree to allow biography of themselves and their photo published as part of the conference promotion. Authors agree to consent to media interviews, if required. Authors and presenters must show due respect and acknowledgement to Traditional Owners. Hence, presentations and speech must begin with an “Acknowledgment To Country”. The correct wording will be provided as part of your confirmation letter if chosen and successful in being accepted with due respects and acknowledgement to traditional owners of land where we will be convening.

EMPOWERING DELEGATES

The conference may or may not save you, or your organisation, time, money and manpower. However, one thing the event guarantees is the opportunity to enlarge your network and information base thus empowering delegates to make greater informed decisions.

CONFERENCE NETWORKING DINNER

As they say, all work and no play makes for a dull conference. To overcome this, the secretariat has organised a conference dinner to be held on the first night of the event. This dinner will give delegates the opportunity to further network while letting your hair down in an informal setting. The conference dinner will be at a ticket cost of $150 per person. Your ticket includes a 4 course meal. The conference dinner is additional to the conference fees and bookings must be made with our office prior to the event.

SHARING AND CARING

Furthermore, it has been proven time and time again that events such as this empower and reinvigorate workers with new ideas and with enthusiasm, with a greater feeling of support and contacts that may be utilised for the betterment of their own or local community. Whether you are an allied health professional, Indigenous health worker, medical professionals or in administrative clerical role within the organisation, this conference will provide excellent opportunities to gain and share information that will be of use to you back in your community. The opportunities that this Conference provides to people involved in Aboriginal Health is the sharing of knowledge and development of long term friendships/partnerships. This conference is basically designed from an Indigenous perspective in which we all lend support to each other regardless of our employers. With all this in mind, we invite you to actively participate in the upcoming event.

REGISTRATION

(Register early to get a discount!) Please note that registrations are set out in an affordable way for organisations, which changes on a monthly basis. So the earlier you register, the more savings for your organisation. Registration fees include all day access to the event, available conference papers, daily lunch and refreshments for registered delegates only. Fees do not include travel costs or accommodation. Registration fees are non-refundable and must be received within 7 DAYS from being issued an invoice. Otherwise, bookings will not be considered. To register, please click on the registration page and complete the form or you can also request for a conference brochure and the registration form to be sent to you by email at admin@icsconferences.org CONTACT US

ICS-MEES Pty Ltd Indigenous Conference Services (Australia) Postal Address: 8 Kiwi Court, Pt Vernon QLD 4655 Australia Web: www.icsconferences.org Email: admin@icsconferences.org Phone: 07 40009111, +61 4557 76 668

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