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Aust N Z J Ment Health Nurs. 2001 Mar;10(1):33-41.

Australian Indigenous mental health.

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  • 1School of Nursing and Health Care Practices, Southern Cross University, Lismore, New South Wales, Australia.


Understanding the complexity of another culture's health concerns is fraught with difficulty, yet 'ways forward' abound. Many researchers, including Indigenous people, have recorded cultural understandings of health, and made recommendations that have influenced the planning of Indigenous peoples' mental health care. Indeed, there is anticipation with vision for the future. Australian Indigenous people have suffered many losses, which have resulted in much social unrest, and mental and spiritual sorrow. The difficulty of belonging and adjusting to two different cultural contexts has led to particular physical health and mental health concerns for some. Health for Indigenous people is viewed within a holistic and community lifestyle framework, which is related to both past and present issues, and it is not necessarily individualized or compartmentalized. A closer liaison between the health traditions of both cultures, working together with education, good will and understanding of each other's health business, and working together within mainstream health services may assist with healing, reconciliation and improved Aboriginal holistic health.

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