Poche Centre for Indigenous Health

Culture, wellbeing and mental health

The centrality of culture and wellbeing to promoting good mental health in Indigenous communities is widely acknowledged and has been recognised in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan.

Traditional healers and cultural healing practices play a fundamental role in nurturing the emotional and social wellbeing of Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal culture is a resilience-building, preventative health measure.

Poor mental health and social and emotional wellbeing issues contribute significantly to the life expectancy gap for Aboriginal people. The historical legacy, intergenerational suffering, chronic stress, contemporary trauma and loss, and disadvantage, particularly in education, all contribute to poor mental and physical health and chronic disease.

The key aims are the recognition of Aboriginal knowledge and cultural understanding in health and the promotion of wellbeing and positive mental health for Aboriginal young people across a range of settings.

Winthrop Professor Jill Milroy, Dean of the School of Indigenous Studies, will lead the work in this area.