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National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH) is a core group of senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working in the areas of social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention. Most are based in, or associated with, national and state mental health commissions or other nationally important mental health bodies.

NATSILMH’s aim is to help restore, maintain and promote the social and emotional wellbeing and mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by advocating and providing advice and leadership in these areas. It also aims to reduce the high rates of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

NATSLMH was established following the international Wharerata Declaration (2010) on Indigenous peoples’ mental health and its vision of healthy Indigenous individuals, families and communities. Wharerata Declaration’s foundation principles include recognition of indigenous leadership in developing holistic, cultural and community-based approaches in mental health, and the need for support for such leadership.  It also recommends partnership approaches between mainstream and indigenous mental health bodies to that end. The Australian mental health commissions agreed to support the development of NATSILMH as a part of their commitment to the Wharerata Declaration.

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration

NATSILMH’s priority work is to lead and provide advice in the above areas for the mental health commissions of Australia.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health leaders from all over Australia joined Canada’s Professor Michael Chandler in Perth on June 23 and 24, 2014, for The Third Conversation, a roundtable discussion of the challenges and opportunities in pursuing better mental health and social and emotional wellbeing for Indigenous people and communities. NATSILMH was launched on the second day of the event.