Our commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' mental health

Reconciliation

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) vision for reconciliation is one in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have equal access to mental health and psychiatric care in a culturally appropriate environment.

The RANZCP recognises and acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of Australia, and their continuing spiritual connection to land and sea.

We value the culture, history and traditions that are important components of the identity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples. We acknowledge that these essential elements contribute to the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The RANZCP supports the recognition of Australia’s first peoples in the nation’s founding document, the Constitution, as a policy initiative that will strengthen and empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities.

The RANZCP Apology 1999

In 1999 following the release of the Australian Human Rights Commission Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families, the ‘Bringing them home report’, the RANZCP responded by apologising for the role played by psychiatrists in the perpetuation of the Stolen Generations.

RANZCP Apology for the role played by psychiatrists in the Stolen Generations

This landmark Apology was a crucial step in the RANZCP’s reconciliation journey, providing a foundation for future reconciliation initiatives. The Apology forms the ongoing basis of the RANZCP Position Statement: Stolen Generations.

Reconciliation Action Plan

RANZCP Reconciliation Action Plan 2016-2018 [PDF; 9 MB]

The Reconciliation Action Plan 2016–2018 adds to the College’s effort in advocating for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to have access to culturally safe mental health and psychiatric care. It is a step towards a ‘stretch’ model for reconciliation; aiming to ensure accountability and transparency for the actions taken by the RANZCP, including measurable outcomes.

Development of the plan was led by the RANZCP’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Committee and is strongly supported by the RANZCP Board. 

Since the introduction of the Reconciliation Action Plan 2014-2016, followed by the Reconciliation Action Plan 2016-2018, the RANZCP is able to report on the following achievements:

  • The RANZCP Fellowship Training Program provides trainees with the opportunity to train in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' mental health. This is a step towards the promotion of cultural competence with the acquisition of knowledge of communities and the mental health issues they face.
  • A number of support initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees have been implemented, including the Trainee Financial Support Scheme, hosting of Trainee Forums (funded by STP), and grants to participate in examination preparation workshops.
  • Online resources to support culturally appropriate mental health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been launched, including an updated RANZCP position statement in support of the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution.
  • Cultural and historical respect has been upheld by acknowledging the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land before every RANZCP event and meeting. Plaques of acknowledgement have also been installed in the RANZCP Head and Branch offices.
  • Several RANZCP activities have helped to increase awareness and discussion of mental health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and communities, including presentations at key internal and external conferences and events by members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Committee; the hosting of community booths at the annual RANZCP Congress; and an annual exhibition booth at the Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association conference since 2011.
  • The RANZCP is now a signatory on an Accord with the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.
  • Commemoration of key calendar dates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. 

We continue to implement these actions, whilst scoping the development of the RANZCP’s third RAP.

Current initiatives and resources

Current initiatives and resources in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Committee

The RANZCP's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Committee is composed of psychiatrists who have direct experience working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members who are involved in mental health service provision and policy development. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health committee

Further information


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