The Balit Durn Durn Centre: A landmark moment for Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing  

May 18, 2022

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) was honoured to launch the Balit Durn Durn Centre of Excellence in Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing at Federation Square yesterday.

The Balit Durn Durn Centre is an initiative designed to foster innovation and improvement in social and emotional wellbeing practice, policy and research.

VACCHO is thrilled to be launching the Centre alongside Deputy Premier of Victoria and Minister for Mental Health, the Hon. James Merlino MP, whose leadership in this space has been instrumental to the Centre’s establishment.

The launch builds on the strength and advocacy of Aboriginal communities and leaders; the vision set out in Balit Durn Durn, VACCHO’s submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System; and Balit Murrup, the Victorian Government’s ten-year Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing Framework 2017-2027.

The Balit Durn Durn Centre is a key outcome from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. The Commission marked the first time in history that Aboriginal leaders, organisations, people, families, carers, and Communities were given the opportunity to have their voices and experiences included in a redesign of the mental health system.

Executive Director of the Social and Emotional Wellbeing Centre of Excellence Sheree Lowe says the launch of the Balit Durn Durn Centre is a major step forward for the health and wellbeing of Community.

“For too long, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria have fallen through the cracks of a fragmented and culturally unsafe mental health system.”

“The launch of The Balit Durn Durn Centre is an important time as it brings Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing to the forefront.”

“The Centre will focus on strengthening mental health and the Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) service system by providing Aboriginal leadership, empowerment and collaboration.”

VACCHO CEO Jill Gallagher says the launch is a landmark moment that encompasses physical, mental, social, and spiritual health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“The launch of The Balit Durn Durn Centre is a historic moment for Community and will see culture front and centre as a key protective factor for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

“Aboriginal stories, truth-telling and culture are at the heart of healing. They are our best medicine.”

“The Balit Durn Durn Centre will be instrumental in supporting our Social and Emotional Wellbeing workforce and celebrating the critical role that they play.”

Balit Durn Durn means strong brain, mind, intellect and sense of self in Wurundjeri/Woiwurrung language.

More information about the Balit Durn Durn Centre here.

VACCHO CEO Jill Gallagher believes it is time to create a new day that is inclusive for everyone.

“It is time for us to press the reset button and create a new day – a new date – a day where we can all celebrate and feel included. January 26 is not that day – January 26 hurts.”

“Change needs to be led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with our voices at the forefront, but we need allies around us, and we need a focus on educating all Australians about the true history of this country.”

“We also need a bold and brave government to make this change. Last year we saw the government listen to Aboriginal leaders and free the flag – we must keep the momentum going and do something about this date.”

“The time for change is well and truly overdue and needs to happen now.”

 

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Media enquiries

For further media enquiries please email communications@vaccho.org.au or contact our media unit on (03) 9411 9411.

Background 

VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in Victoria – the only one of its kind – with 32 Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations as Members. VACCHO Members support over 65,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria, and combined are the largest employers of Aboriginal people in the state.