Mental health of a patient is a direct reflection of the state of well-being of a person. The person with sound mental health should be able to recognize its own reality and responsibilities (McGough, 2018). They should be able to cope up with the stressful situations they may be subjected to and should also be able to resolve any conflict arising from the same. A mentally sound individual is also able to have a good work productivity and should be well enough to contribute to the community as a whole as well. There is a constant stigma associated with mental health related issues. The state of aboriginal and indigenous population of Australia has been deteriorating continuously in terms of mental health related issues. There has been an increase in the number of people suffering from depression and anxiety leading to increased incidences of suicidal attempts due to the same cause. The incidence has been observed more in age group of 15-24 years in compared to their older counterparts (Sabbioni, 2018). The cases reported in males are also comparatively higher than in females. This is one of the major issues that needs to be pondered upon, in order to reduce the number of cases and provide the people with the desired care and support for managing their condition.
Suicide in aboriginal people has been a fifth leading cause of death and has also found to be a major underlying cause for premature mortality (Maple, 2019). There are multiple risk factors associated with the mental health issues reported in these communities. These risk factors are inclusive of substance abuse, discrimination, wide spread trauma and griefs, economic as well as social factors, identity issue and so on. Identity issue is one of major cause of suicide in these individuals. It has been arising mainly because of separation from their biological patients. This leads them to have conflict in their lifestyle, leaving them no resolution for the same (Gibberd, 2019). Number of deaths reported in these communities have also risen due to lack of primary care services. There are also multiple myths and disbeliefs associated with the common cultural practices of the community. Without any care facilities to manage the depressive state of mind attained from the loss of a loved one, the people are found to be struggling to get back to normal life routine. These post-traumatic stresses thus, piles up, forcing them to opt for unlawful means to help with their ongoing mental turmoil.
These communities have long been discriminated, based on their race and color (Shepherd, 2017). Due to such atrocities their needs and concerns have been supressed over the due course of time. Apart from being not heard for their concerns, there is also a poor literacy index that prevails in their community settings, making it difficult to reach out to them or make them understand about the criticality of the situation. They also thrive on low wages, that makes it difficult for them to manage their both ends meet. Therefore, very less resources are left to help them with their other health related concerns. There is also a higher prevalence of substance abuse in these communities. This has been a leading cause of death, due to drug overdose, mainly affecting the younger population. The suicidal attempts are therefore, observed more in these age group of people.
The intervention management strategies can be based on both pharmacological interventions and non-pharmacological interventions. Non-pharmacological interventions can be based on developing strategies to manage with the crisis situation (Rice, 2018). This can be inclusive of prior planning based on identification of eh short comings that can lead to the disrupted mental health in these individuals. Dialect and cognitive behavioural therapy can also be an inclusive part of the management for the patients. These people also suffer from disruptive family matters. The role of family counselling can be helpful in managing the condition of these individuals. Pharmacological interventions can include treatment with medical drugs based on ketamine and lithium.
Intervention at the level of governmental organizations have been in constant formulation. The government launched an action plan in 1996-2000, that catered to the cause of emotional and social well-being of the aboriginal and tires strait islander’s population (Browne, 2018). National strategic framework has also been established in 2004-2009, aiming to focus on the mental and social emotional well-being of these communities’ individuals (Calma, 2017). These plans have been working on drafting mental health initiatives based on the main purpose of increasing the work force in this field of health services. They have also been working on mending the gap in terms of access of mental healthcare facilities to these individuals.
Nurses also play a major role in helping the individuals with mental health issues. They can help in early identification of the symptoms in these individual and can thus, be helpful in providing them with the required care and attention. The nurses can help by maintaining a therapeutic rapport with the patients and their family (Campbell, 2019). This constant engagement can help in reducing the barriers that can be helpful in smooth facilitation of the services. They can also be helpful in providing them with a safe environment where they can express their griefs and concerns. The nurses can also help with other healthcare professionals, that can help in providing these individuals with multidisciplinary approach to deal with their ongoing turmoil. The nurses can also help in medication reconciliation for these people so that they take their medications with due diligence (Clancy, 2019).
Mental health is one of the leading concerns in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. While suicide is another major underlying cause of death in young individuals of these communities, there are other factors that lead to death. The condition of mental health in these communities has been left undetermined and unevaluated for very long. However, with recent changes in trends and policies the concerns have been taken into due considerations and the reforms have also been implemented to amend the current situation, leading to improved healthcare outcomes in these communities. This has also been helpful in gaining access to other concerns of these communities that have been left unheard for the past years.
Browne, J., Gleeson, D., Adams, K., Atkinson, P., & Hayes, R. (2018). Coverage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nutrition in major Australian newspapers, 1996–2015. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 42(3), 277-283.
Calma, T., Dudgeon, P., & Bray, A. (2017). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing and mental health. Australian Psychologist, 52(4), 255-260.
Campbell, K., Massey, D., Broadbent, M., & Clarke, K. A. (2019). Factors influencing clinical decision making used by mental health nurses to provide provisional diagnosis: A scoping review. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 28(2), 407-424.
Clancy, R., Lewin, T. J., Bowman, J. A., Kelly, B. J., Mullen, A. D., Flanagan, K., & Hazelton, M. J. (2019). Providing physical health care for people accessing mental health services: clinicians’ perceptions of their role. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 28(1), 256-267.
Gibberd, A. J., Simpson, J. M., Jones, J., Williams, R., Stanley, F., & Eades, S. J. (2019). A large proportion of poor birth outcomes among Aboriginal Western Australians are attributable to smoking, alcohol and substance misuse, and assault. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 19(1), 110.
Maple, M., Sanford, R., Pirkis, J., Reavley, N., & Nicholas, A. (2019). Exposure to suicide in Australia: A representative random digit dial study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 259, 221-227.
McGough, S., Wynaden, D., & Wright, M. (2018). Experience of providing cultural safety in mental health to Aboriginal patients: A grounded theory study. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 27(1), 204-213.
Rice, S., Gleeson, J., Davey, C., Hetrick, S., Parker, A., Lederman, R., ... & Russon, P. (2018). Moderated online social therapy for depression relapse prevention in young people: pilot study of a ‘next generation’online intervention. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 12(4), 613-625.
Sabbioni, D., Feehan, S., Nicholls, C., Soong, W., Rigoli, D., Follett, D., ... & Smith, W. (2018). Providing culturally informed mental health services to Aboriginal youth: The
YouthLink model in Western Australia. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 12(5), 987-994.
Shepherd, C. C., Li, J., Cooper, M. N., Hopkins, K. D., & Farrant, B. M. (2017). The impact of racial discrimination on the health of Australian Indigenous children aged 5–10 years: analysis of national longitudinal data. International Journal for Equity in Health, 16(1), 116.
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