In recognition of National Close the Gap Day, the National Mental Health Commission has called on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to add a mental health target to the ‘Closing the Gap’ program in order to bridge the staggering divide between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians in relation to mental illness.

Mental illness is second only to heart disease as one of the main reasons for the health gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians and the suicide rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is over twice that of other Australians.

The National Mental Health Commission also found that:

– Up to 12% of the ten-year life expectancy gap with non-Indigenous Australians has been attributed to mental health conditions; 4% to suicide; and 6% to alcohol and substance abuse
– Poor mental health contributes to suicide risk and high rates of smoking, alcohol and substance abuse and obesity that in turn progresses chronic disease: which is documented as the biggest killer of Aboriginal and Torres-Strait Islander peoples

Click here to read the full media release and for more information.

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