South West Aboriginal Medical Service send care packages to elders in the community

The South West Aboriginal Medical Service is delivering information, activities and essential items packs to at risk Aboriginal Elders in the community. SWAMS can be contacted on SWAMS can be contacted on 9726 6000 or the toll free number 1800 779 000. Image supplied.
The South West Aboriginal Medical Service is delivering information, activities and essential items packs to at risk Aboriginal Elders in the community. SWAMS can be contacted on SWAMS can be contacted on 9726 6000 or the toll free number 1800 779 000. Image supplied.

The South West Aboriginal Medical Service has been working hard to coordinate more than 70 special care packages for at risk, Aboriginal Elders in the South West.

The packs include activities to do while staying at home, essential items, mental health information and important information on how to stay safe and well during the COVID-19 outbreak.

SWAMS chief executive officer Lesley Nelson said they have been working tirelessly to keep Elders and the local Aboriginal community safe, but it was up to everyone to do their bit by staying home and by following hygiene and distancing guidelines.

"At SWAMS, we offer culturally sensitive health care to the Aboriginal community which is so important, especially during troubled times," she said.

"We are committed to get the message out there, to keeping our community safe and to working through the outbreak, offering essential health care to the community.''

Aboriginal people are two to three times more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions such as diabetes, congenital heart conditions and other co-morbidities and are at a higher risk of developing complications if exposed to the COVID-19 virus.

Many remote Aboriginal communities throughout the country have been locked down during this outbreak, however there are high Indigenous populations in rural and metro areas that also need to be taken care of during this time.

Ms Nelson said there was a large Aboriginal population in the South West and it was essential they were able to continue offering essential services throughout this pandemic.

''Often, during times of high stress, we see an increase in mental health needs such as anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol use and violence in the home," she said.

"It is important to reach out if you need support, our mental health team are still here for a yarn.

"It's important to keep your spirit strong as well as your body.''

SWAMS has a dedicated mental health team with tertiary qualified Aboriginal counsellors and a social worker, alongside specialist mental health workers to assist with any issues that may arise during this time.

SWAMS can be contacted on 9726 6000 or the toll free number 1800 779 000.

This story Care packages for South West Aboriginal elders first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.