Cultural identity and mental health: lessons from older generations

Kilcullen, Meegan, Swinbourne, Anne, and Cadet-James, Yvonne (2011) Cultural identity and mental health: lessons from older generations. In: Proceedings of National Indigenous Studies Conference 2011. From: AIATSIS National Indigenous Studies Conference, 19-22 September 2011, Canberra, ACT, Australia. (Unpublished)

PDF (Abstract Only) - Published Version
Download (157kB)
View at Publisher Website:


It has been argued that identity is a pre-requisite for mental health for Indigenous people. Indeed, having a strong cultural identity has been identified as a protective mechanism for mental health. In order to maintain health and wellbeing, it is critical to understand the factors that impact upon cultural identity. Culture, like cultural identity, is a dynamic, ever-changing entity, with individuals within a culture absorbing and integrating new knowledge into the old. Within this transformative process, cultural identity reflects a sense of belonging or relationship with other members of the same culture. Knowing one's cultural identity provides the basis from which to explore and understand the world and facilitates meaning-making in one's life. Bearing this in mind, there are many lessons to be learned from the older generation in terms of developing and sustaining cultural identity. The current study explored factors that encompassed and impacted upon mental health and cultural identity in a group of urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. A theme of connectedness emerged as reflecting a unique contribution to Indigenous mental health and cultural identity. The role of connectedness to country, family and kinship, knowledge and social support were highlighted. This information has implications both for developing and sustaining mental health and thus cultural identity of young Indigenous people, but also provides a basis for the development of culturally safe programs to positively impact upon the health and wellbeing of Indigenous people.

Item ID: 24989
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2013 05:35
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies @ 30%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 30%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health @ 40%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health @ 30%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 40%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 30%
Downloads: Total: 267
Last 12 Months: 3
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page