Indigenous Australians' understandings regarding mental health and disorders

Ypinazar, Valmae A., Margolis, Stephen A., Haswell-Elkins, Melissa, and Tsey, Komla (2007) Indigenous Australians' understandings regarding mental health and disorders. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 41 (6). pp. 467-478.

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The purpose of the present paper was to determine what is currently documented about Indigenous Australians' understandings of mental health and mental disorders through a meta-synthesis of peer-reviewed qualitative empirical research. The following databases were electronically searched (1995-April 2006): AOA-FT and AIATSIS, Blackwell Synergy, CINAHL and Pre CINHAL, Health source: nursing/academic edition, Medline, Proquest health and medical complete, PsycInfo, Science Direct, Synergy and HealthInfoNet. Eligible studies were those written in English and published in peer-reviewed journals, empirical studies that considered Indigenous people's understandings of mental health and provided details on methodology. Five articles from four qualitative studies met these criteria. Meta-ethnography was used to identify common themes emerging from the original studies. Reciprocal translation was used to synthesize the findings to provide new interpretations extending beyond those presented in the original studies. An overarching theme emerged from the synthesis: the dynamic interconnectedness between the multi-factorial components of life circumstances. Reciprocal translations and synthesis regarding Indigenous understandings of mental health and illness resulted in five themes: (i) culture and spirituality; (ii) family and community kinships; (iii) historical, social and economic factors; (iv) fear and education; and (v) loss. The application of a meta-synthesis to these qualitative studies provided a deeper insight into Indigenous people's understandings of mental health and illness. The importance of understanding Indigenous descriptions and perceptions of mental health issues is crucial to enable two-way understandings between Indigenous people's constructs of wellness and Western biomedical diagnostic labels and treatment pathways for mental disorders and mental health problems.

Item ID: 2313
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-1614
Keywords: Indigenous; mental health; understanding; meta-synthesis; qualitative
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2009 06:30
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920399 Indigenous Health not elsewhere classified @ 51%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 49%
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