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In August 2019, the Commonwealth Minister for Health announced a new national Intergenerational Health and Mental Health Study (IHMHS). The Study will run over three years from late 2020 to 2023 and comprise surveys of health, nutrition and physical activity, and an optional biomedical survey (see Appendix 1: Overview of the IHMHS). There will also be a National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, which was last conducted in 2007. As was the case for the Australian Health Survey (AHS) in 2011-2013, the ABS’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survey program will be expanded under the IHMHS to accommodate the collection of this information across the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, from 2022 to 2023.
The ABS is committed to early and ongoing conversations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to ensure all surveys are done in a culturally appropriate way and reflect the priorities, values and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Discussions with several Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) have occurred, alongside the considerable advice and guidance provided to ABS by their national body (NACCHO). Their advice is influencing our approach to engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including in developing the content of this paper. The ABS Round Table on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics (consisting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from across the country) has also provided invaluable feedback and direction for how we should undertake this focussed engagement.
The mental health survey component of the IHMHS is a total population survey which does not have an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific component, although the topic of mental health is part of the ABS’ engagement for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey. This is discussed further in the survey content section of this paper.
Now we need to hear from you to help us shape the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survey components which will be undertaken as part of the IHMHS. We want to hear about your information needs and how the data should be collected to help make the survey culturally appropriate and successful and we’re seeking input on three broad issues:
This discussion paper provides one avenue for consultation and should be considered as the beginning of a conversation rather than the conclusion.
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