Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing

Carlin, E., Cox, Z., Orazi, K., Derry, K. L., & Dudgeon, P. (2022). Exploring Mental Health Presentations in Remote Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia Using an Audit and File Reviews. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(3), 1743.


The study aims to explore the role of mental health care in remote Aboriginal health services in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and provide a more nuanced understanding of the patients presenting for care, their needs, and the clinical response. Little is currently known about primary health care presentations for mental health, suicide, and self-harm for remote dwelling Aboriginal residents of the Kimberley region, despite high rates of psychological distress, self-harm, and suicide across the area. This study was progressed through a retrospective, cross-sectional audit of the electronic medical records system used by three remote clinics to explore the interactions recorded by the clinics about a patient’s mental health. In addition, an in-depth file review was conducted on a stratified purposive sample of 30 patients identified through the audit. Mental ill-health and psychological distress were found to be prominent within clinical presentations. Psychosocial factors were frequently identified in relation to a patient’s mental health presentation. Optimizing patients’ recovery and wellness through service improvements, including an enhanced mental health model of care, is an important next step.