Sharon Pech is Assistant Director, National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics, Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Sharon will present on ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with a Mental Health Condition’ in the Indigenous Wellbeing stream.
The ABS’ 2014-15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) provides information on the socio-economic circumstances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over. In this survey, information about people with a mental health condition has been included for the first time.
In the NATSISS, 29% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people said they had been told by a doctor or nurse that they had a mental health condition, that is: depression; anxiety; behavioural or emotional problems; and/or harmful use of, or dependence on drugs or alcohol. The majority of them (23% of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) also reported having one or more other long-term health conditions.
This presentation will paint a picture of the outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a mental health condition compared to those with other long-term health conditions and no long-term health conditions.
Indigenous mental health
Some of the associations between mental health and other characteristics that will be explored include:
Overall Life Satisfaction
Health status and risk factors
Employment, household income and education
Family and community connections
Crime and safety
Mobility and housing impermanence
The topics covered in the NATSISS provide a lens through which the complexity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity, health and wellbeing can be understood and communicated.
Sharon Pech started her 'accidental' career at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as a fresh-faced school leaver and later attained a BA in Social Sciences, with an elective major in professional writing. Most of her career has been in the social statistics stream of the ABS.
In 2002, she joined the National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics, where she has been involved in the development of numerous Indigenous-specific social and health surveys, and in the dissemination of results from these surveys and the 5 yearly Census. Her belief in the adage that “knowledge is power” motivates her to find and share these data stories – both as an evidence base for effective policies and programs, and as a means of empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to chart their own destiny.
Indigenous mental health as well as a wide range of mental health issues will be discussed at The 17th International Mental Health Conference; Guiding the Change. The Conference will be held at the Sea World Resort Conference Centre on the Gold Coast, from the 11 -12 August 2016. To register your attendance at the conference CLICK HERE.
This conference brings together leading clinical practitioners, academics, service providers and mental health experts to deliberate and discuss Mental Health issues confronting Australia and New Zealand.
The conference program will be designed to challenge, inspire, demonstrate and encourage participants while facilitating discussion. To view the Program CLICK HERE.