Social and emotional wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a multidimensional concept of health that includes, but extends beyond conventional (Western) views of mental health and mental illness. It expands to embrace connection to body, mind and emotions, country, culture, spirituality, ancestry, family and community as essential to social and emotional wellbeing.
Further, these are located within the broader historical, social and political injustices experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (Gee, Dudgeon, Schultz, Hart, & Kelly, 2014).
‘It is sometimes difficult to know what are the sociocultural norms for different expressions of affect and behaviour… It requires learning about Aboriginal culture, being guided by Aboriginal people, and developing appropriate mental state examination skills… Care must be exercised to avoid stereotypical attributions that can suggest psychological problems.’
Dr Mark Sheldon, 2000
Social and emotional wellbeing from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples’ perspective:
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