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The 2023 National First Nations Closing the Gap Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Conference is scheduled to be held at the Hilton Hotel in Cairns QLD on September 20 - 22, 2023 which aims to bring together mental health workers, AOD support workers, Head to Health Aboriginal & Torres Straits Islander mental health practitioners, emotional and social wellbeing workers from Indigenous and Non-Indigenous organisations throughout Australia and present unique opportunities for Mental Health workers to meet and discuss issues specifically centered on First Nations peoples' mental health and wellbeing.

The increasing frequency and severity of mental health and wellbeing issues throughout Indigenous Communities has reached a crisis level through the length and breadth of this country. However, this is not news to Indigenous peoples. Communities have proclaimed the need for action to address the needs of many First Nations peoples. 


This year’s conference theme will be based upon the principles of we

all have a role to play in healing wherein a range of issues brought to

the forefront by our communities will be examined and as such will

endeavour to heighten the need for Government, Non-Government,

Primary Health and Community-controlled organisations to refocus on

their duty of care to First Nations peoples.

The event is based upon the principal belief that Indigenous health must be

approached from a holistic view, which encompasses body, mind and spirit;

thus, leading to the fundamental rights of self-determination.


The conference recognises that treating our health must be done by treating the whole person, through mind, body, soul and culture. No matter what your culture is. If you are a First Nations person, statistics show that health, education and the justice system is monstrously weighted against First Nations People. In today’s society Indigenous people have a varied lifestyle, ranging from inner-city living to isolated communities.


The conference is designed to bring together both government and non-government agencies who are working in the Indigenous health sector, therefore focusing on Mental Health and strengthening the life expectancy of First Nations people to equal that of non-Indigenous people. ​In Australia, the most successful initiatives in First Nations Health are the Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) and now the partnerships between government and communities. The first Aboriginal community-controlled health service was established in New South Wales and has been operational for the past forty (40) years.  Today, there are over 120 AMS and countless numbers of Primary Health Care Posts in First Nations communities in Australia.



The 2023 National First Nations Closing the Gap in Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Conference aims to:


  • Provide an open and frank forum for discussions

  • Highlight inspiring initiatives, successes and challenges faced by mental health workers and Aboriginal & Torres Straits Islander social and emotional well-being workers

  • Lend support to individuals and groups working in the field of Indigenous Mental Health & well-being

  • Help grow a global network for the sharing of  information and resources 

  • Bring together both government and non-government agencies working in the field of Indigenous Health

  • Show that poor health is no longer tolerated or acceptable in today’s society

  • To bring together organisations as a united voice in closing the gap

  • Exchange information regarding the successes of community projects in the field of Indigenous Health in general

  • Reduce and prevent the incidence of suicide within the community

  • Strategies for linking holistic policy with health interventions

  • Explore methods for improving accountability at all levels to ensure sustainable progress

  • Provides an opportunity to network and meet face to face to exchange ideas, valuable information and successful programs in place in their communities.

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CLOSING THE GAP Indigenous Conference Services
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