Beyondblue has recently received a grant to undertake a project under the direction of Associate Professor Tricia Nagel at the Menzies School of Health Research. The project was granted under the award of Beyondblue National Priority Driven Research Program. The grant amount was roughly $80,000 in order to assist in the costs associated with undertaking the project so that improvements can be made.

The scope of the project involves the fact that Indigenous youth face some serious health issues and that they are not always receiving proper care under the current health system due to disparities in the level of care provided to Indigenous youth versus other populations in the area. In particular, mental health issues are a significant number of these cases but unfortunately Indigenous youth are the least likely to become engaged with quality health care services that are able to diagnosis and successfully care for patients suffering from mental illnesses. The current data shows that some health care professionals may be resistant to work with Indigenous health care providers to help diagnose and treat depression.

This project focuses on trying to improve the delivery of healthcare services to Indigenous youth and focuses mainly on helping to make diagnosis, treatment and the documentation of mental illnesses more commonplace. The researchers in the program are putting together a method to audit the current healthcare system for the Indigenous population and figure out methods for improvement by looking at the current systems, work flows and outcomes of care. The staff will be asked to use tools to help the researchers monitor and collect data about Indigenous healthcare. The researchers will work to develop these tools that will be used for the audits as part of the initial stages of the new program so that they can eventually train the staff to use the tools as well.

The primary services that need to be addressed when it comes to healthcare for the Indigenous populations is what the researchers plan to focus on as the main area that will require significant improvements. The focus on health care is designed to help with mental health care services primarily. The healthcare staff will be able to use the data collected by the researchers in order to see where there are areas where improvement is needed so that when the grant ends the healthcare staff can continue to work towards improvement as well as implementing better systems.

The program is aimed to run through the year 2013 when it will reach its completion date sometime later this year. Researchers hope that the real outcome of the grant will be that there will be a better integration between mental health services for the Indigenous population and the primary care health care services so that there will no longer be a gap between the Indigenous population’s ability to receive care for mental illnesses and other groups.

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