Reviews

A review of the social and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous Australian peoples – considerations, challenges and opportunities (peer reviewed)

Posted on: 1 October, 2008
Issue: Vol 8 No 4, October 2008 - December 2008
Related to Social and emotional wellbeing

Garvey D (2008)
A review of the social and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous Australian peoples – considerations, challenges and opportunities. Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin 8(4). Retrieved [access date] from http://healthbulletin.org.au/articles/a-review-of-the-social-and-emotional-wellbeing-of-indigenous-australian-peoples-considerations-challenges-and-opportunities/

Darren Garvey is an Indigenous professional with experience as a recipient and provider of services aimed at addressing the social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) needs of Indigenous people, and as an academic involved in the training of Indigenous and non-Indigenous professionals in providing such services. Darren’s perspective as ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’, and his professional interest in the development of a culturally competent workforce contributes to the narrative pursued in the review, and to the interplay of academic, policy and practical concerns.

The review describes aspects of the social and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous Australian people and elements of the Australian contexts in which they live. Major signposts, research findings and interventions concerning Indigenous Australians are highlighted in this review, and a number of general and significant trends are identified. The review attempts to distill several considerations, challenges and opportunities for people involved in the area and for those considering more substantial involvement.

The review begins by discussing the terminology used in the context of Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB). Challenges regarding appropriate service provision, policy, intervention and research priorities are discussed, as well as the means by which practical and conceptual dilemmas regarding these challenges might be resolved.

What emerges is a picture of Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing which is bleak in its account of the mental health problems prevalent among Indigenous people, but also encouraging in the resilience shown by Indigenous people in the face of such adversity. Encouraging too are the efforts made by health service and other professionals to be more conscious of their roles in promoting good SEWB for Indigenous people and the exploration of the varied sites and opportunities in which such work can take place.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract