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Social and Emotional Wellbeing

Social and emotional wellbeing

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people consider health to be holistic, and that physical health is affected by the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of both individuals and the broader community. In particular, the negative impacts of the post-colonial experience on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has shown strong correlations with unhealthy lifestyles, leading directly to physical illnesses.

'They Weren’t Separated': Missions, dormitories and generational health

In 1997 the Bringing Them Home Report brought attention to those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were taken away from their families for the purpose of assimilation. Less attention was given to those children who were also taken away but grew up in mission and settlement dormitories. Over a number of decades, and until the early 1970s, a large number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were taken into mission and settlement dormitories. In various ways they were physically and socially separated from their families.

A Culture of Ill Health: Public health or Aboriginality?

My career in Indigenous health was first ignited in my teenage years as part of an overall desire to work among my own people. At that point in my life, I never really felt Aboriginal, owing, in part, to my being of mixed descent, light-skinned and having been raised in a predominantly white neighbourhood in an urban area. My claim to Aboriginality somehow felt a little inauthentic in light of the public imaginings of Aboriginality that I had been exposed to growing up.

A review of programs that targeted environmental factors for improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

Objective: Effective interventions to improve population and individual health require environmental change as well as strategies that target individual behaviours and clinical factors. This is the basis of implementing an ecological approach to health programs and health promotion. For Aboriginal People and Torres Strait Islanders, colonisation has made the physical and social environment particularly detrimental for health.

A Systematic Review of Empirical Research on Self-reported Racism and Health

This paper reviews 138 empirical quantitative population-based studies of self-reported racism and health. These studies show an association between self-reported racism and ill health for oppressed racial groups after adjustment for a range of confounders. The strongest and most consistent findings are for negative mental health outcomes and health-related behaviours, with weaker associations existing for positive mental health outcomes, self-assessed health status, and physical health outcomes.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Participation in Ethical Review of Health Research

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is in the process of reviewing two important documents (Statement and Guidelines on Research Practice (1997) and the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans (1999)) that provide an ethical framework for conducting research with humans. During the review process of these documents it is timely to raise the importance of Indigenous (see footnote 1) participation in the ethical review process.

Aboriginal Holistic Health: A Critical Review

This is the second in the CRC for Aboriginal Health's Discussion Paper Series. The concept of Aboriginal holistic health occupies a central position in Aboriginal health policy discourse. This review seeks to establish a definition, and to understand how the concept affects policy, programs and strategy. One hundred and fifty-three publications of the health professional literature that made explicit reference Aboriginal holistic health were reviewed, and a content and thematic analysis was undertaken.

Aboriginal Mental Health Workers and the Improving Indigenous Mental Health Service Delivery Model in the Top End

Objectives: This article reviews the changing Aboriginal mental health service delivery model of Top End Mental Health Services, and highlights the importance of Aboriginal mental health workers in improving communication with Aboriginal patients. The Australian Integrated Mental Health Initiative Northern Territory Indigenous stream (AIMHI NT) is introduced. ?Method: Baseline measures of AIMHI NT in 2003, and findings from two clinical file audits (1996 and 2001) at Royal Darwin Hospital inpatient unit are presented.

Aboriginal People Travelling Well literature review: driver licensing issues, seat restraint non-compliance, Aboriginal health, Aboriginal disability

This review focuses on the interaction between access to safe and sufficient transport, and the effects on the wellbeing and health of Aboriginal people. Aspects under specific consideration are driver licensing, use of seat restraints, and health and disability needs. Attaining and retaining a drivers license for life, and travelling safely, which includes being trained to drive safely and being educated and aware of the efficacy of seat restraints are important issues for Aboriginal people.

Aboriginal Spirituality: Aboriginal Philosophy, The Basis of Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing

Although this discussion paper has been developed for people working within health practice, as it explains, the wholistic philosophical basis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture that encompasses wellbeing has applications in every area of engagement with Indigenous Australian people. This literature review draws on a diverse range of sources including history, anthropology, sociology, literature, biography and autobiography, government reports, websites, and the writings of health and social and emotional wellbeing practitioners, describing their approaches to the implementation of programs.

Aboriginal women's perinatal needs, experiences and maternity services: A literature review to enable considerations to be made about quality indicators

The overall direction of this review has been on antenatal care, along with preconception, labour, birth and postpartum care in terms of Australian Aboriginal women and the Australian health system. Literature from beyond these perspectives, primary health care and cultural context, has also been included where it has been of relevance and/or consequence.

Agreement between a Brief Food Frequency Questionnaire and Diet Records Using Two Statistical Methods


To compare intra- and inter-method reliability of a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) designed specifically to measure beta carotene (BC) and retinol intake, using two methods - the limits of agreement (LOA) and the correlation coefficient. DESIGN: A cross-sectional study of dietary intake. SETTING: A randomized trial of vitamin A supplements in 2769 subjects with past asbestos exposure. SUBJECTS: Data from 57 men and 26 women, aged 28-72 years, living in Western Australia.

AIMHI NT 'Mental Health Story Teller Mob': Developing stories in mental health

The Australian Integrated Mental Health Initiative in the Northern Territory is one of a number of sites funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council. The project has been working with Aboriginal Mental Health Workers (AMHWs), and the Top End Division of General Practice (TEDGP) to adapt mental health information to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context through development of mental health stories. The stories focus on personal strengths and family support, and use local artwork and images, local language, metaphors and music.

Ambivalent Helpers and Unhealthy Choices: Public health practitioners' narratives of Indigenous ill-health

Public health practitioners in Australian indigenous health work in a complex political environment. Public health training is limited in providing them with conceptual tools needed to unpack the postcolonial nexus of fourth-world health. A workshop was designed by the authors to facilitate critical reflection on how the concepts of race and culture are used in constructions of indigenous ill-health. It was attended by researchers, students, clinicians and bureaucrats working in public health in northern Australia.

An 'Experiment' in Indigenous Social Policy: The rise and fall of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC)

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) was established in 1990 as part of the Australian government's attempts to address the extensive disadvantages faced by Indigenous Australians. ATSIC was described as a "path-breaking experiment" in indigenous affairs, combining administrative and representative functions in one statutory body. By 2004, however, ATSIC was all but dead. This article describes the short life history of ATSIC and examines the major con?icts, tensions and criticisms that have led to its demise.

An Aboriginal family and community healing program in metropolitan Adelaide: Description and evaluation

This paper describes and evaluates the process, impacts and outcomes of an Aboriginal Family and Community Healing (AFCH) Program based in metropolitan Adelaide, South Australia. The evaluation used participatory action oriented methodology, mixed methods and multiple data sources. The AFCH comprised complex and dynamic activities for Aboriginal men, women and youth built around community engagement, and hosted by the regional primary health care Aboriginal outreach service.

An Analysis of National Health Strategies Addressing Indigenous Injury: Consistencies and gaps

This paper reviews the inclusion of injury in national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health strategy. The review focused on strategies published during the period 2003 2008 or strategies which are otherwise identified as current for this period. Their content in relation to injury and its antecedents is described. This content is evaluated using the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Safety Promotion Strategy as a benchmark.

An Approach to Treating Depressive and Psychotic Illness in Indigenous Communities

This study is one of the activities of a multi-site research program, the Australian Mental Health Initiative (AIMhi), funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council. AIMhi in the Northern Territory collaborated with Aboriginal mental health workers and Northern Territory remote service providers in developing a range of resources and strategies to promote improved Indigenous mental health outcomes. A brief intervention that combines the principles of motivational interviewing, problem solving therapy and chronic disease self-management is described.

An empowerment intervention for Indigenous communities: an outcome assessment


Empowerment programs have been shown to contribute to increased empowerment of individuals and build capacity within the community or workplace. To-date, the impact of empowerment programs has yet to be quantified in the published literature in this field. This study assessed the Indigenous-developed Family Wellbeing (FWB) program as an empowerment intervention for a child safety workforce in remote Indigenous communities by measuring effect sizes. The study also assessed the value of measurement tools for future impact evaluations.


An Introduction to the Social Determinants of Health in Relation to the Northern Territory Indigenous Population

This paper re-examines the factors underlying the continuing poor health of the NTs Indigenous population versus the non-Indigenous population. In particular, it focuses on recent research including the well-known Whitehall Studies that demonstrates poorer health outcomes for people with less power/status in their communities/workplaces. The paper concludes that, along with greater availability of primary health care, efforts to raise the socio-economic status of the NTs Indigenous people and allow them increased control over their lives will yield improved health outcomes.


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