Today marks the official launch of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Health Strategy (Strategy).
A first in Queensland, the Strategy was co-launched by Assistant Minister for Health and Regional Health Infrastructure, Julieanne Gilbert MP and the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Youth Health Network (Youth Health Network) at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
This Strategy has been developed in response to youth needs, and driven by the voices of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders that attended the 2019 Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Health Summit (The Summit).
The Summit provided a platform for participants between the ages of 18–29 to inform how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in Queensland want access to healthcare. To ensure continuation of youth voices and leadership, the Youth Health Network was developed.
The Youth Health Network has been a critical part of the Strategy’s development process; they have debated, critiqued and endorsed the Strategy, facilitated by the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC).
“As the next generation of leaders and Elders in our communities, investing in our health and wellbeing today will ensure all of us young mob are here to keep our culture alive and strong,” said the Youth Health Network.
QAIHC’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Cleveland Fagan says this marks an important moment in the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth health is an active concern for QAIHC and our Members - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisations.
“As providers of holistic health services, they know the importance of providing services that are responsive to community needs and to build, strengthen and enable self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” said Mr Fagan.
“I would like to acknowledge the contribution of our young leaders in the development of this Strategy, and the contribution of all the young people who attended the inaugural Youth Health Summit in 2019 and who have engaged with their health service, for their bravery in sharing their stories,” he said.
The Strategy sets the way forward for all young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland to have the opportunity to experience a strong body, calm mind and resilient spirit through self-determination (self-management and ownership), cultural connection and cultural safety.
The launch also hosted special guests including Lance McCallum MP State Member for Bundamba, Michael Berkman MP State Member for Maiwar, Bretine Curtis, Executive Director of the Queensland Mental Health Commission and Aaron Hoffman, Senior Director Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Division.
The voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth are at the centre of the Strategy. The contents and the solutions proposed in the Strategy emerged from information gathered at the inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Health Summit (the Summit) in September 2019 and other available evidence, and have been further developed by members of the QAIHC Youth Health Network.
The Strategy includes three strategic solutions to reducing health barriers for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders – Leadership, Access and Equity. It is a clear opportunity for everyone to work together and support our young people to experience a strong body, calm mind and resilient spirit.
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