MOUNT GAMBIER CONSULTATIONS & RESEARCH FINDINGS
The most commonly discussed issue throughout the consultations with community was about the increased use of illicit drugs and alcohol in the Mount Gambier.
Mental health was the second most significant issue raised as a concern. Whilst many spoke about the primary health care issues and needs, most people spoke about mental health and specifically about issues to do with depression.
Not having stability within the family has caused many people to express their concern about family dysfunction and disconnect. Parenting concerns, family feuding and lateral violence were raised by many as issues and concerns.
We need more help and support for younger kids as people also under 40's have chronic diseases. How do we deal with this? It causes a shock to find out about diabetes in younger people.
The cost of living in Mount Gambier and its surrounds has an impact on many people and their inability to support other needs and costs for children within the households. There was also a strong link between lack of local employment opportunities and that without work, people aren't able to afford basic necessities.
One of the most common responses received from people when raising the issue of transport was the lack of affordable local transport in town. Many people said that they were unable to keep medical appointments, because often this required travel from Mount Gambier to Adelaide, and people could not afford this.
Dealing with grief and loss was difficult and some people spoke about the specifics of not feeling supported from their workplaces because bereavement leave isn't adequate or appropriate, whilst others were concerned that members of the local community were passing on at an early age.
Appropriate education opportunities have been identified in Mount Gambier. People are concerned about cultural appropriateness and childrens and parents non-engagement with the schools.
Culture and the need to reconnect to country was mentioned by many people as being important to them, their families and the community. Many spoke about the lack of cultural programs and activities in Mount Gambier, something they would like to see more of.
“Not enough cultural activities happening locally to promote culture and identity. And no culturally specific programs or camps being run.”
The need to have a stronger focus on family was overwhelmingly the most highlighted theme that people in Mount Gambier area said was important to ensure that individuals, families and community was strong.
Culture and the need to reclaim and pass on knowledge and information about various cultural traditions and values was something that would provide strength to people. Having a positive attitude about life and setting achievable goals was also highlighted as a need.
The recognition for the need for more local Aboriginal role models and also local programs to support individuals and families were also highlighted.
Getting the community to come together united and in support of one another was raised as something that would make people strong. This included the need to build relationships with local services and agencies.
The most common response from people when asked about what types of cultural, social and emotional wellbeing, empowerment and healing programs they preferred, was ‘culturally focused.’
There were a lot of specific cultural activities and aspects that were raised, including Aboriginal culture delivered by Aboriginal people, camps, Outreach for the Elders to pass on culture knowledge from generation to generation, everyone to come together for cultural and spiritual learning and supporting kids doing cultural, artistic and sporting activities.