Andersen, K., Henderson, J., Howarth, E., Williamson, D., Crompton, D., & Emmerson, B. (2015). Way Forward: an Indigenous approach to well-being. Australasian Psychiatry, 23(6), 609–613.

Objective: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals are overrepresented in mental health services in the state of Queensland (QLD), Australia; indicating greater prevalence and less preventative management of mental illness. This paper describes a project to enhance the model of care to improve mental health, alcohol and other drug outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community members in two metropolitan Hospital and Health Services, in Brisbane, Australia.

Methods: Individual and focus group consultations were conducted with stakeholders, to determine key themes.

Results: The consultative phase of the project revealed three priority areas for action: governance and supervision arrangements for the workforce in the area of Indigenous mental health, alcohol and other drugs; the cultural capability of non-Indigenous clinicians; and consumer access to services.

Conclusions: The Way Forward project is a broad workforce redesign approach to address these three key areas. This approach is designed to acknowledge the strengths among the Indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce and to utilise their specialised cultural knowledge. This strategy will also include working in relationships with key Community-controlled health and other organisations. The approach will be reviewed and evaluated.