Dudgeon, P., Derry, K. L., Mascall, C., & Ryder, A. (2022). Understanding Aboriginal Models of Selfhood: The National Empowerment Project’s Cultural, Social, and Emotional Wellbeing Program in Western Australia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(7), 4078. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19074078
Culturally safe and responsive interventions that acknowledge Aboriginal models of selfhood are needed. Such interventions empower Aboriginal peoples and communities by increasing self-determination over individual and community social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB). In response to this need, the National Empowerment Project developed the Cultural, Social, and Emotional Wellbeing Program (CSEWB). The CSEWB aims to strengthen SEWB and cultural identity and subsequently reduce psychological distress in Aboriginal peoples. An Aboriginal Participatory Action Research approach ensured community ownership and engagement. Seven research questions and a culturally modified adaption of the Most Significant Change technique informed a thematic analysis of the evaluation content. Aboriginal adults (n = 49; 53% ≥50 years, 66% female, 34% male) from three Western Australian urban communities participated in the program evaluation workshops. Participants reported the benefits of enhanced SEWB and reduced psychological distress. This research reaffirms the need for culturally safe programs that acknowledge social determinants of health and are guided by the SEWB framework. Long-term commitment from the government is needed to support such programs.