Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA) welcomes the Government’s pledge to support mental health during COVID – 19.

14 Apr 2020

Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA) welcomes the Government’s pledge to support mental health during COVID – 19.

Media release: 14 April 2020

Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA) welcomes the Government’s pledge to support mental health during COVID – 19. 

The commitment, totalling $74 million, will support mental health services during the COVID – 19 pandemic.  “We warmly welcome this commitment and thank the Australian Government for recognising the mental health needs of all Australians during these challenging times,” states AIPA founding Director Professor Pat Dudgeon.  

With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples more vulnerable to the impacts of COVID – 19, AIPA are conscious that this additional funding is not only necessary, but crucial in ensuring access to culturally safe supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.  There are those in the AIPA membership who are providing psychological care to people impacted by COVID -19, ranging from working with frontline essential workers to families, and persons who have experienced family violence.

Professor Pat Dudgeon mentions, “Professionals who are working in mental health who are supporting Aboriginal people must be working within the framework of cultural safety.  Also, psychologists must have experience in working with people and families from culturally diverse backgrounds.”

AIPA Chair, Tania Dalton (Jones) says “Telephone counselling lines and online counselling services are now available, which will increase awareness, and encourage help seeking by improving reach and access to professional practitioners.  However, the cultural capabilities of practitioners and culturally safe standards of service provision are critical to ensure therapeutic support delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is culturally appropriate to support healing. These measures are to ensure clients are supported and not re-traumatised.”

Mental health services must understand the cultural context for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people if they are to deliver the best possible outcomes. As the national body representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander psychologists, AIPA must have a seat at the table to ensure that mental health supports reflect the needs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.   

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Media contacts

Professor Pat Dudgeon
AIPA Director
aipa@psychology.org.au

The Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA) is the national body representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander psychologists in Australia.  Visit our website: http://www.indigenouspsychology.com.au/