Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing

Dudgeon P, Bray A, Blustein S, Calma T, McPhee R, Ring I, and Clarke R (2022). Connection to community. Produced for the Indigenous Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Clearinghouse. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Government. Cat. no. IMH 9. Canberra: AIHW.


Connections to community are an important source of resilience for Indigenous Australians. Previous research has shown that being connected to community builds a sense of cultural identity which can reduce suicide. Although clinically based evidence is vital to targeted interventions with at-risk individuals, an understanding of social determinants of suicide is increasingly important in developing prevention strategies, interventions, and initiatives that connect people to community support.

Based on a review of literature from scholarly articles, government reports and grey literature, the authors establish that strong and healthy connections to community protect people from suicide. The paper discusses several protective factors resulting from community connection that work to prevent suicide by strengthening resilience and increasing social and emotional wellbeing. It also identifies approaches that do not work to prevent suicide among Indigenous Australians, gaps in research on this topic and concludes with several recommendations for further research.