It was a real privilege for AAMH staff to attend this 6th Creating Futures conference in Cairns, May 2015. Accompanied this year with an inaugural Leadership in Mental Health: Island Nations course (auspiced by Sangath and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), this conference attracted a bright and vibrant crowd from Australia and Pacific countries.
With international keynote speakers, including University of Melbourne’s Professor Helen Herrman, this conference provided a wide range of evidence and innovation in identifying and addressing the social determinants of mental and physical health and wellbeing.
As part of the Leadership Island Nations stream to this conference, AAMH teamed up with regional partners such as Dr. Paul Orotaloa on Mental health and development partnerships in Solomon Islands. Marieke van Regteren Altena and Dr. Mireta Noere from the MOHMS Kiribati presented on developments in the mental health services-‘Te Meeria’ – more than just a name change: The growth of a blossoming mental health service in Kiribati. Health promotion was also presented through a short talk highlighting the work from Tiapapata Art Centre and the Mental Health Unit in Samoa to improve the public understanding of mental illness and trauma and to provide a voice through the medium of art for people experiencing mental illness.