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Monday, May 27, 2024
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Call to hear new voices

NEW indigenous voices need to be heard in the wake of the defeated Voice to Parliament referendum, according to a James Cook University (JCU) psychiatrist.

Dr Andrew Amos, who chairs the Queensland Section of Rural Psychiatry at the RANZ College of Psychiatrists, stressed the significance of addressing pressing issues, particularly regarding family violence in remote Indigenous communities.

Highlighting the challenges faced by Indigenous Australians in accessing healthcare, Dr Amos points out the barriers of distance and logistics.

“There are many gaps between First Nations’ and other Australians’ health and wellbeing, widening with remoteness,” he said.

“First Nations Australians report health care access requires communication and trust to overcome barriers of distance and logistics.”

Research conducted by the Federal Government indicated a troubling increase in family violence rates in remote areas.

Factors contributing to this rise include social and geographic isolation, as well as the stigma and lack of privacy prevalent in close-knit communities where everyone knows local police and health professionals.

Despite the sensitive nature of the topic, Dr Amos underscored the importance of engaging in difficult conversations.

“Contributing factors include social/geographic isolation, stigma/shame and the lack of privacy when all community members have personal relationships with local police and health professionals,” he said.

Dr Amos suggested that any alternative solutions to the Voice to Parliament must be capable of addressing complex issues, such as the role of cultural factors in the health and mental well-being of Indigenous women and children in rural and remote communities.

Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Social media criminals targeted by DICE and Funding for disability organisations.

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