Friday, 26 July 2013

Seminar series - AIMhi Yarning about Indigenous mental health

If you attended journal club this month you would have been introduced to the AIMhi project examing Aboriginal and TorresStrait Islander mental health.

The following seminar is presented by Tricia Nagel, Associate Professor at both Flinders University and Menzies School of Health Research and Carolyn Griffin Senior Indigenous Research Officer based at Menzies School of Health Research

The content of this seminar is the property of Menzies School of Health Research.  The video and other related videos can be viewed from their site:

The new news.

Do you currently get the news headlines sent to you from the Resource Centre?

At the moment the RC offers a service where we forward on "Today's News" - a collation the daily AOD news from Australia. Essentially, it's an email with a list of news headlines and hyperlinks.

For a while now we've been considering how to do the news differently. Two concerns were: upping the mental health content and making it more accessible.

So here's what we've gone with... an online newspaper!

At the moment I've just set one up in my name to trial the concept*, but I'd love for you to have a look.  

Eventually, we'll set one up under the final name of the Resource Centre and start promoting it.

The benefits are:
  • Presentation - pictures and video clips in the display
  • Time effective way for the RC to disseminate the latest news - both AOD and MH
  • You interact with it the way you want - visit it when you feel like, subscribe to get a daily email update, go through the archives to see news from previous days... 
  • It can be embedded in our Resource Centre website when it's finalised.
Please have a look and leave a comment here if you have time- I'd really like to hear what you think.

*Please excuse my profile picture! It's my daughter pulling a hilariously horrified face when she was 3months of age. Obviously, this is not the image we'll use when setting up the real newspaper... or is it?... :-) 


Medibank Health have launched a new website 1800Respect: National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service.

The website provides access for clients to online and telephone counselling, information for significant others, and resources for professionals and workers.

You might want to have a browse around the site and see what's available, or follow these two links to get directly to the information that applies to your role:

Alcohol & Other Drug/ Substance Misuse Workers

Mental Health Professionals & Counsellors

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Prevention factsheet

The Australian Drug Foundation have just released a new prevention factsheet, which covers the basics of drug prevention strategies.  You can find it here:

As stated in the factsheet, most of the content comes from this document by the Premier's Drug Prevention Council in Victoria - "Resource guide for planning effective community drug prevention."
This item was published in 2009, however the research used within is dated back to 2007. 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Where's the evidence base?

Evidence-based practice in all areas of health care*, including AOD and Mental Health is old hat now.  If you're not familiar, the general premise is that practical decisions, or clinical practice decisions, are informed by research and that this research meets the requirements or norms that suggest scientific rigor.

In practice, we may not know the exact evidence base for the way we do things.  It may just be the way that we were trained or taught - so Alcohol and Drug Findings have come up with two handy little matrices to help link research to practice.

Alcohol Matrix

Drug Matrix

Choose the intervention level and intervention type and select the corresponding box - Et voilĂ ! a list of the key articles, seminal works, reviews and guidelines in that area.

**When choosing the intervention level, column A and B are most relevant for those working directly with clients, column C and D for their managers, and column E for community partnerships and policy level work.

When choosing an intervention type, row 1 is most useful for those in generic or harm reduction services, row 2 and 3 for those in specialist medical services, row 4 for counsellors and therapists in specialist services, and row 5 for those who work in criminal justice.

For example, someone working in CAFSS may be interested in box 1A on the Drugs Matrix- "Effectiveness of harm reduction interventions".  When they click on this box they are taken to a list of articles that provide evidence for harm reduction interventions.  Items marked with an S are Seminal, K are Key, R is a Review, and G are Guidelines.  You can then click on an article to open the abstract or the article itself.  If you are unable to access the full text of an article you can contact the Resource Centre about obtaining a copy.** 

It is a bit heavily weighted with items from the UK, being a resource from there. But useful nonetheless.

*In all professions now? EBP is certainly a buzz phrase in Library and Information circles recently.  
** This item was updated on 23/08/13 with further information on how to use the matrices

Online resources for working with Indigenous clients - Part 2

Two new resources that have come to my attention over the last week:

The Lowitja Institute - Australia's National Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research.
- An excellent portal to research, key resources and news items


The Handbook for Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Work (2012)
- Scroll to the bottom of the record to open the pdf file.

Comment below with your suggestions.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Where is that book?

No home to go to :-(

We've run out of space on the shelves in the mental health section of the resource centre.  If you're looking for a book and it's not on the shelf it may be on the shelving trolley...

We're endeavouring to do something about this situation soon.  Thanks for your patience in the meantime!

Online resources - working with Indigenous clients and communities

It's the end of NAIDOC week and perhaps a good time to reflect on the resources that are available online that have been designed for working with Indigenous clients and communities, both in mental health and AOD.

Mental Health

Social and emotional wellbeing (including mental health) – as part of the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet
· Includes reviews, publications, resources, workforce development info
· This site has a wealth of information and is relatively easy to navigate
Australian Indigenous Mental Health:
· This site has been developed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Committee of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and beyondblue: the national depression initiative.
· Has case studies, guidelines, information on key issues
· Website frequently updated – primary audience is psychiatrists, but plenty of useful information for other counselling practitioners

Guidelines for providing Mental Health First Aid to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Person (scroll half-way down the page)
· Series of pdfs to complement Mental Health First Aid
· Information on cultural considerations, depression, psychosis, suicide, trauma and loss, and problem drinking

Social and emotional wellbeing and mental health services in Aboriginal Australia
· Website to help find services
· Resources available (or linked to) include culturally specific screening tools and adapted mainstream tools
· Contains information on the idea of “promising practice” vs “best practice”


Drugs and Alcohol

Resources for workers in the drug and alcohol field who work with Indigenous Communities– factsheet (2009)
· Bit of a “cheat sheet” for resources for AOD workers
· Lots of useful links

Culturally secure resources for Aboriginal people – from the West Australian Drug and Alcohol office
· Printable resources on a range of topics including injecting drug use, alcohol, speed, and chroming

Substance use – part of the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet
· Includes reviews, publications, resources, workforce development info
· This site has a wealth of information and is relatively easy to navigate

Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (SA)
· Resources for printing and for purchase

 For your own information

The theme of this year's NAIDOC week is We value the vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963. You can read more about this important event in Australia's history here:

If you are interested in extending your cultural knowledge, libraries across the states and nationally are working to provide great info online and in the community.

State Library of South Australia – Indigenous collections and services

State Library of New South Wales – Australian Indigenous Services

State Library of Queensland – Indigenous Knowledge Centres

National Library’s Indigenous Collection


Have some suggestions for your colleagues? Comment below!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Journal club follow-up: Yarning about Indigenous mental health

This month's journal club article was:
Nagel, T., Hinton, R., & Griffin, C. (2012). Yarning about Indigenous mental health: Translation of a recovery paradigm to practice. Advances in Mental Health, 10(3), pp. 216-223

The following points were recorded by Sarah in the journal club session (thanks Sarah!):
Discussion points:

·         A quote from the article that resonated with the participants was “Holistic care planning that address other dimensions of life is important, but additional emphasis on culture and the strength of cultural identity, family and kinship, language and country is needed for Indigenous peoples” (p. 221).

·         The challenges that Indigenous workers and service providers face – the institutional racism – that can go both ways. For example, some Indigenous people may not want to visit a hospital for a check-up because in the past it has been perceived as the place where people go to die. Or upper management may hold the belief that the past is the past and shouldn’t be discussed.

·         The brief therapy the article highlighted – Motivational Care Planning (MCP) – was another point of discussion. The combination of some of the best bits of different therapies – like MI, positive psychology, problem solving therapy and solution focused therapy – was of interest and the possible synergies with current best practice for dual diagnosis that is core business for the organisation was discussed.

·         One last thing (a little off topic)…We dreamed about a time where the national education system incorporates Indigenous culture, languages and the history of Australia from an Indigenous perspective, the possibilities and positive impact this would have on the Australian culture. Oh the possibilities! J

This month’s discussion was very interesting. It was wonderful to have some insights from our frontline workers, particularly from Trevor who was fantastic at providing some insights as to the challenges an Indigenous worker and Indigenous clients encounter.

The authors of the article were involved in the implementation of the resources and training available on this website.
Click on the "Resources" tab at the top for links to free factsheets and resources that may be of use.
An earlier article from one of the researchers, that focuses on motivational care planning, is:
Nagel, T. & Thompson, C. (2008). Motivational care planning: Self management in indigenous mental health. Australian Family Physician, 37 (12), 996-1001.
This may provide some additional reading for those interested in Motivational Care Planning.
Great article and very timely!

Friday, 5 July 2013

So you think you can Google?

Google - how did we ever get by without it?
Most of the time Google is great - it brings 138,000,000 results in 0.27 seconds! Brilliant!

But, sometimes the answers it brings back aren't the greatest... not even close.
It can be useful to have a few "tricks up your sleave" when dealing with the world's biggest search engine - here a few search operators that might help you get what you need.

Search Operator
What it does
The minus symbol
Google doesn’t understand “not” as a search operator. Not even if you write it in caps… or yell it at the screen several times over…  
So if you want Google to exclude a word from the searching it’s doing, you need to use the minus symbol before the word you want it to exclude. Don’t leave a space.
e.g.  I want to find information on ageing and mental health, but when I use those terms the first few pages of results are from the Department of Health and Ageing, and not relevant. So I want to exclude any results with the word “Department”
My search looks like this:
Ageing  “mental health” -department
When you know which website you want to get your information from you can get Google to search that site specifically – rather than pulling up results from all over the net. A good one for websites you use often, particularly if they don’t have a search function on the page.
Use “site:” with the URL directly following (no space)
e.g. I want information on the newly released health budget from the source, but my search just brings back opinion pieces and news articles
My search looks like this:
Tells Google the file type that you want to search.
This one is my new favourite.  It’s great for searching for journal articles or printable materials. Use “filetype:” with the type of file following (no space)
e.g. I search Google scholar for articles on a subject, say drug use and young people in Australia, but most of the results are abstracts and I have no access to the journals. I want Google to bring me back PDF results to help increase the chances of getting full text articles in my results.
My search looks like this:
“drug use” youth Australia filetype:pdf

Any tips and tricks you'd like to share? Comment below and help your colleagues out!