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Social and Emotional Wellbeing Program outcomes

Local Thriving Communities Social and Emotional Wellbeing Program 

The Queensland Government’s Local Thriving Communities (LTC) reform is a whole of government commitment, led by the Department of Treaty, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Communities and the Arts (DTATSIPCA), to enable self-determination and local decision making in the design and delivery of services, programs and policies that impact Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities. 

In 2019 the Queensland Mental Health Commission (the Commission) partnered with DTATSIPCA to fund community-based organisations, through the LTC reform agenda, to deliver Social and Emotional Wellbeing programs in First Nations communities across Queensland. 

You can find out more about LTC here.  

What we did

Through the LTC Social and Emotional Wellbeing Program, DTATSIPCA supported community-led initiatives co-designed with local leadership to improve mental health and social and emotional wellbeing outcomes, respond to substance misuse, and reduce rates of suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Projects included the Bwgcolman Youth Program (Palm Island), Galangoor Child and Youth Connect Program (Maryborough and Hervey Bay), a Social and Emotional Wellbeing Coordinator in Napranum, Yulu-Burri-Ba Indigenous Youth Social and Emotional Wellbeing Program (North Stradbroke Island), Inala Wangarra Seventy7 Youth Hang Out Centre, and the Coen Men’s Crisis Service Centre. 

What we found

The key findings from the LTC Social and Emotional Wellbeing Program 2019 Final Report were: 

  • The programs helped increase culturally appropriate care, and referral coordination across the health sector. 
  • There was increased levels of cultural capability of government, non-government organisations and private enterprise partners to respond to community priorities.
  • The initiatives contributed to self-determination, local leadership and decision making through co-design and meaningful engagement with First Nations peoples to deliver funding and health services in remote communities. 
  • Place-based programs help promote opportunities for career pathways and economic participation through paid employment for First Nations peoples.  
  • Longer funding terms, flexibility, and joint commissioning approaches that enable meaningful establishment, delivery, and evaluation of effective programs in partnership with local leaders would support funded organisations to optimise service delivery, maximise impact and ensure successful programs can continue. 

How does this support reform?

The initiatives were informed by the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and the Local Thriving Communities Action Plan 2022-2024, and aligned with the Queensland Government’s broader strategic mental health and suicide prevention priorities through Better Care Together: A plan for Queensland’s state funded mental health, alcohol and other drugs services to 2027 and Shifting Minds: The Queensland Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs, and Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan 2023–2028.

They specifically support reform by:

  • Strengthening the social and emotional wellbeing of First Nations Queenslanders.
  • Increasing participation in education, training, and local employment opportunities. 
  • Investing in initiatives that will make communities stronger and make a difference in people’s lives. 
  • Supporting First Nations people to make decisions about their own future and create thriving communities. 

Next steps

The Commission recently entered a renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with DTATSIPCA to fund future initiatives aligned with Achieving balance: The Queensland Alcohol and Other Drugs Plan 2022-2027 and Every life: The Queensland Suicide Prevention Plan 2019-2029

The Commission and DTATSIPCA will use the findings from the Social and Emotional Wellbeing Program 2019 Final Report  to ensure there is a stronger focus on program sustainability, and support culturally appropriate evaluation to inform the evidence-base for future investment.