Mental health and connectedness: exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives

Kilcullen, M.L., Swinbourne, A., and Cadet-James, Y. (2012) Mental health and connectedness: exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 48 (s1). p. 62.

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Abstract

Background: It has been acknowledged that the mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been 'bedevilled' by the inappropriate application of non-Indigenous models of mental health. Given that more than 35% of admissions to the neonatal unit at The Townsville Hospital are neonates of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander decent, it is necessary for non-Indigenous practitioners to find in a culturally safe way in which to engage these families.

Method: This study explored urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander's understandings of mental health using a positive psychology framework. A qualitative research design was conducted with a sample of 19 Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants. Data was collected via individual semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Qualitative analysis was conducted using a grounded theory method.

Results: Four themes emerged as reflecting health and wellbeing – coping skills, knowledge social support, with an overarching theme of connectedness to culture, family and kinship, and social networks emerged as reflecting a unique contribution to mental health and cultural identify.

Conclusions: This information will support the development of culturally safe health and wellbeing programs that sustain and nurture the cultural identity and mental health of Indigenous people while on the neonatal unit. In this way, meaningful contributions may be made by health professionals to 'closing the gap' in health and mental health outcomes for Indigenous people.

Item ID: 24979
Item Type: Article (Abstract)
ISSN: 1440-1754
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Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2013 00:25
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 40%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 40%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies @ 20%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health @ 30%
92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920302 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Health Status and Outcomes @ 30%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 40%
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