Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing

Circle and Dots

Empowering Access

Establishing social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) as a paradigm applied in mainstream and community-controlled service delivery and community support programs for Indigenous people.

Culturally safe approaches to social and emotional wellbeing are defined and strengthened through building evidence of what works.

This stream is working to bridge the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and mainstream mental health services. It focuses on empowering community and services to better meet their needs, by first asking these questions:

  • What are the barriers and enablers to access mental health services?
  • What elements need to be in place to promote SEWB for individuals, families and communities?

Priority is on ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have access to SEWB and culturally safe mental health support both in mainstream mental health and community controlled health services.

Key Projects

Research activities will focus on defining and building evidence of models that successfully implement the SEWB framework including the following programs:

Inform government responses to ensure evidence-based and culturally informed strategy, and identify the barriers and enablers of digital and tele mental health care.

Builds upon previous work in partnership with Langford Aboriginal Association (LAA)

Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service (KAMS) SEWB program: defining and building evidence for community defined and patient centred SEWB care

Building bridges to improve Aboriginal youth mental health and wellbeing, as part of an evolving program led by Chief Investigator, Dr Michael Wright

Project conducted in partnership with Western NSW PHN

Defining and building evidence to implement the mental health act through mainstream services that employ cultural healers and elders

Users of these services and their broader communities will be asked what they need from a culturally safe SEWB program through an initial information gathering stage, and these findings will be used to define and pilot a set of principles and protocols to implement the SEWB framework in diverse programs.

This information will be used to define the key characteristics of culturally safe SEWB programs, that will be piloted and evaluated in later phases of the research.


Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Effective SEWB models, principles and protocols established through evaluation data
  • Community engagement and policy advocacy to inform and implement evidence base
  • International knowledge exchange to empower Indigenous peoples across the globe

We work towards these goals that we believe are the stepping stones to create sustainable improvement to the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.

  • Establish the SEWB framework as a paradigm
  • Inform the implemention of the National SEWB Policy
  • Establish and strengthen National Indigenous Mental Health Networks
  • Ensure SEWB models of care and programs in community-controlled health and mainstream mental health services

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