Aboriginal life set, mental health and suicide
Magpie Goose Publishing
Place of Publication
Torrens, Australian Capital Territory
Fejo-King, C., & Poona, J.
This chapter explains the ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have been disadvantaged and marginalised since colonisation. As a contrast, the much healthier lifestyle experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples before the British settled in Australia is described. The main focus of the chapter is on mental health, including the fact that mental health is defined and perceived differently by the dominant white society and its professionals to the way in which it is identified and dealt with by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Lack of accommodation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ culture and customs, and especially their ongoing history of trauma and disadvantage, in dealing with mental illness is raised as an ongoing issue. Suicide being seen by health care professionals as a mental health issue, rather than it being seen as having its roots in issues of social disadvantage, is raised as a concern.