Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing

Dudgeon, P., Smallwood, G., Bray, A., Walker, R. & Dalton, T. (2020). Wellbeing and Healing Through Connection and Culture. Lifeline Report. 


This review summarises the emerging research and  knowledge, key themes and principles surrounding  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural perspectives and concepts of healing and social and emotional wellbeing as they relate to suicide prevention. These discussions will support Lifeline to enhance and refine their existing knowledge and practices to promote culturally responsive suicide prevention services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This review explores the importance of the delivery of staff training programs to achieve this along with external training and
program development for Lifeline services, including the telephone crisis line, Online Chat and emerging Crisis Text. Adopting an Indigenous research approach, this review prioritises Indigenous knowledge of healing and wellbeing and provides examples of culturally appropriate and effective practices.

Culturally responsive Indigenous designed and delivered e-mental health services play a crucial role in overcoming barriers to help seeking experienced by Indigenous people such as a lack of culturally appropriate gender and age specific services, forms of institutional and cultural racism and poor service delivery which intensify mental health stigma and shame along with fear of ostracism and government intervention (Canuto, Harfield, Wittert & Brown, 2019; Price & Dalgeish, 2013). A lack of such services can result in barriers to help seeking which contribute to higher levels of intergenerational trauma, self-harm and suicide (Isaacs, Sutton, Hearn, Wanganeen & Dudgeon, 2016; Mitchell & Gooda, 2015). Self-determination in the form of community controlled suicide prevention and healing has been identified as a solution to the  transmission of intergenerational trauma contributing to suicide (Dudgeon et al., 2016).