MDAS Mildura celebrates Close the Gap Day

All welcome to Close the Gap Day 

Mallee District Aboriginal Services will roll out the welcome mat and stoke up the barbecue on Thursday to mark national Close the Gap Day.
Mini health-checks, giveaway bags and an all-day barbecue will be on offer at the MDAS Health carpark between 9 am and 2 pm on Thursday March 21.
MDAS Allied Health Coordinator Crystal Kirby said the goal was to reach community members who might not be engaging regularly with health services.
“Our health service is geared specifically for the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and that’s what our community members are responding to,” Ms Kirby said.
“We’ve had a 200 percent increase in the number of health checks we do in our Mallee clinics in the past four years, and that’s a great start, but closing the gap in our community is a long-term process,” she said.
Regional coordinator for tackling Indigenous smoking, Nathan Yates, said the goal was to encourage people take the first steps to be proactive about their health.
“We want to engage with community members who haven’t visited us before and we want to reconnect with those who might have got out of the habit of putting their health first,” Mr Yates said.
“So, we thought a great way to start is to offer people the chance to come and have a yarn and stay for lunch.”
MDAS Chairman Keith Hampton said Close the Gap Day was a time for communities to come together and commit to achieving equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.
“Closing the Gap is tough, and it’s definitely a long-term process, but the challenge is for everyone in the community to be part of the solution,” Mr Hampton said.
“It starts with each of us, at an individual level, to start looking at our lifestyles and making the changes we can for ourselves and our families,” he said. 
“But as an organisation, we know that health and healing is often as much about mental health and healing people’s spirits and culture as it is about the medicine, so we’ve gone about putting in place the best possible mix of health services for our communities.
“It reflects the community’s needs, recognises the cultural values of the community and feels ‘safe’ for Aboriginal people.
“Having good quality Aboriginal health services delivered by and for Aboriginal people has proven to be the most effective way of improving the health of our people,” he said.
MALLEE DISTRICT ABORIGINAL SERVICES  “Our Vision: Generations of vibrant, healthy and strong Aboriginal communities”

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