Thursday, 28 May 2020
Key vulnerable groups within the Indigenous population still lack the basic support of a household or community during the ongoing pandemic. We are concerned about the homeless, the LGBTQI+ community, our children in care, and the rate of Indigenous imprisonment. If COVID-19 gets into the prisons that is a very big worry for our community - some COVID-19 protective reforms are still needed, including considering the early release of those with minor convictions.
The immediate and long-term effects of COVID-19 on both the physical and mental health of our diverse Indigenous population needs to be adequately monitored, with data collected and shared in a culturally appropriate way. Already the pandemic has made it difficult to access and monitor suicide statistics over the past two months. We consider suicide to be a reflection of a whole range of issues that need to be addressed in communities including supporting cultural, social and emotional wellbeing, self-determination, self-government, and re-establishing kinship and cultural connections.
Continuing this vital research and making sure the public is aware of what works, through the crisis and recovery period, is the only way that we can be as prepared as possible for whatever comes next, be it a second wave of COVID-19 or something else.
A key learning that we can take away from COVID-19 so far is that – where we see glaring problems in our society, we need to fix them up immediately. Sometimes we resign ourselves that things will not change in our generation; COVID-19 has taught us they can.
Simone Hewett (UWA Media and PR Manager) 08 6488 3229 / 0432 637 716