Mental health among Indigenous Australians

Hunter, Ernest, Gill, Neeraj, and Toombs, Maree (2013) Mental health among Indigenous Australians. In: Hampton, Ron, and Toombs, Maree, (eds.) Indigenous Australians and Health: the wombat in the room. Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, VIC, Australia, pp. 206-224.

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[Extract] The concept of social and emotional well-being was discussed in Chapter 4. As you may recall, well-being for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is seen from a holistic viewpoint and is an indicator of good health. Moreover, good health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is viewed through this holistic framework and this is the foundation through which an understanding of good physical and mental health is formed (Department of Health and Ageing, 2005). Physical and mental health is defined by the WHO as a 'State of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity' (World Health Organization, 2001, p. 10).

This definition extends beyond the Western biomedical paradigm that considers body, mind and society as separate entities. When referring to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, health must be considered in light of a more holistic approach (J Campion & J Nurse, 2007). Booth and Carroll (2005) agree that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' belief of good health is holistic and defined by the harmony that exists between individuals, communities and the universe. A holistic approach to social, emotional and spiritual health is predicated on cultural and spiritual beliefs. This concept relies on a cultural approach to health and treatment. Indigenous Australian health relied on holistic approaches which varied greatly from one cultural group to another, reflecting the importance of links to country on identity and health.

Item ID: 32626
Item Type: Book Chapter (Teaching Material)
ISBN: 978-0-19-551962-4
Keywords: mental illness; aboriginal; torres strait islander; mental health services; remote communities; psychosis; substance misuse; social and emotional well-being
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2014 00:13
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920399 Indigenous Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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