Joint Statement – Keeping Spirit Strong

The Voice Referendum and accompanying debate is an important conversation that, as a country, we cannot shy away from. However, for First Nations people it is comes with the burden of increases in incidences and experiences of racism. Racism has very negative effects on individual wellbeing, and the wellbeing of First Nations families and communities. This includes feelings of shame, lack of sleep and increased anxiety and depression.

As organisations working to improve and promote social and emotional wellbeing, mental health, and healing we have joined together to encourage mob to check in with themselves and others. A lot of resources and actions are needed to combat racism, and sometimes that can make us feel even more powerless. Arming ourselves with information on ways we can take care of our social and emotional wellbeing, and look out for others, is one important step we can make together.

We express our commitment to deepen our collaboration to respond to the challenges of racism and improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing, mental health, and healing. This collaboration brings many benefits, but importantly creates recognition regarding enhanced opportunities for partnering with others.

Further to this joint statement our organisations will be developing a collection of community self- care resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities, families.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, our connection to culture, country, community, kin, and family are critical to our wellness. There are things that we can all do to keep our spirits strong, and our families and communities supported, and we hope the featured resources are able to assist you to get started. Resources are available on our website Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia, The Healing Foundation and 13Yarn.

Please see the official joint statement here.

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