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 Protocols For The Delivery of Social and Emotional WellBeing and Mental Health Services in Indigenous Communities

click here for a sample of  the 'Protocols'




If you have requested or received a copy of the Protocols, we would appreciate very much if you would provide us with your contact details and a description

of how you are using or intend to use the document. This will allow us to keep track of the ways it is being used and also to place you on a communication

list to notify when the second edition and new accompanying materials become available.


The Protocols for the Delivery of Social and Emotional Well Being and Mental Health Services in Indigenous Communities: Guidelines for Health Workers,

Clinicians, Consumers and Carers” was written to fill a significant gap in resources available to Primary Health Care and Mental Health services. Inspiration for the

document rose from the recognition of the need for a key practical resource and tools to guide training, management and clinical and community practice in Wellbeing

and Mental Health to complement the physical health–oriented practice manuals and guidelines. Audits conducted with remote area health services in Far North

Qld demonstrated the need for more support to the Primary Health and Mental Health Care Workforce to gain confidence, ensure continuity and integration of effort,

engage families and show accountability in this area of service delivery to assist in meeting National Mental Health Standards (AIMhi NQ, 2003, 2005, 2007).


There has been a major surge in national interest for resources to assist services to embed both social and emotional well being and mental health support into

Indigenous primary health care frameworks. The document aims to be responsive and flexible in recognizing needs, translating academic understanding and integrating

experience of all those involved. It has attracted attention nationally as it appears to be among the first of its kind as an education and training document as well as a

practice guide to primary mental health care pathways. The authors and users anticipate that the protocols will be continually improved allowing new ideas and

tools, adjustments for a changing workforce and new opportunities.


These Protocols were written and improved over a six year period by Researchers of the North Queensland Health Equalities Promotion Unit, University of Queensland,

together with Regional Psychiatrists of the Remote Area Health Service of Queensland Health. Development was guided by the Steering Committee of the AIMhi

Indigenous Stream in North Queensland which included representation from Queensland Health, Royal Flying Doctors Service, Apunipima Cape York Health Council,

Disability Services, Wuchopperen Health Service, carers and communities. The AIMhi Indigenous Stream in the Northern Territory generously provided key resources

and information sheets found in the document. All parties are extremely grateful to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and the authors of

their Clinical Practice Guidelines for Clinicians, Consumers and Carers, which were adapted for use in the document. The original Guidelines published by RANZCP can

be accessed at


The completion of the document in 2006 and its subsequent improvement in 2008 was made possible by funding from Queensland Health, the National Health and

Medical Research Council (Australian Integrated Mental Health Initiative (AIMhi)) and the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (Priority Driven Research grant

to the North Queensland Health Equalities Promotion Unit). 


The First Edition of the Protocols was launched on April 23, 2009 at James Cook University in Cairns. The Protocols are now going through a national peer review

process organised by the Cooperative Research Centre for  Aboriginal Health. A How-to-Manual  is also being developed through implementation processes in two Far

North Queensland communities. We expect that both the second edition and the Manual will be available in early 2010.


To get on our mailing list for updates, please send your contact details and brief description of intended use to: Rachael Wargent (,

Ernest Hunter ( or Melissa Haswell ( See also for information on the

North Qld Health Equalities Promotion Unit.


To obtain a full version of the 'Protocols,' please click

For Further Information regarding "THE PROTOCOLS FOR THE DELIVERY OF SOCIAL and EMOTIONAL WELLBEING and MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES IN INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES” please contact Rachael Wargent in the CREW team via email: