Demographic trends characterize the measurable trends in variables concerned with the population. The average age of an Aboriginal male and female is 71.6 and 75.6 years respectively. $441 is the median weekly income of Aboriginal people in Australia. As of the year 2016, there are 798365 Aboriginal people in Australia (Morphy, 2016).
Around 40 per cent of the Aboriginal people in the year 2018 reported at least one chronic illness. The mortality rate of Aboriginal people is around 1.6 times higher than the Australian people of other descents. The overall claim for the specialist services among the Aboriginal people is 43 per cent lower than the other Australian people (Koleade, Farrell, Mugford & Gao, 2018).
Around 40 per cent of the Aboriginal adults are illiterate. A total of 65 per cent of the Aboriginal adults are not literate in terms of speaking English. The employment rate among Aboriginal people is estimated to be 40 per cent (Phillips et al. 2017).
The mental disorder and anxiety rates among the Aboriginal people are estimated to be 29.2 per cent and 16.2 per cent respectively. The death rate for the Aboriginal people is 5.65 per cent as compared to the 0.3 per cent among the Non-Aboriginal people (Phillips et al. 2017).
There are various mental health concerns influencing the Aboriginal people. These issues involve anxiety and depression as a result of devastating grief and trauma. With regards to mental health issues, the substance abuse and elevated suicide rates among the Aboriginal people are issues of escalating concerns (Stone & Waldron, 2019). They also suffer from issues of neuropsychiatric and behavioural problems.
The risk factors influencing the mental health of the Aboriginal people are an economic and social disadvantage, incarceration, substance misuse, violence, discrimination on the basis of culture or race and issues related with their division from culture and identity. Their unmet needs in concern with the social inclusion and culturally acceptable healthcare setting also withdraw from the access to the mainstream healthcare services. Poverty is another contributing risk factor in their poor mental health and wellbeing (Stone & Waldron, 2019). The poor socio-economic status deprives them for admittance to better nutrition and activities.
The Aboriginal people for a long time have witnessed social exclusion which has also resulted in their poor mental health. Henceforth, an active inclusion in society can be a protective factor in wellbeing and mental health. Social connectedness and cultivation of a sense of wellbeing can yield good results in elevated health outcomes. Better acceptance of the culture of the Aboriginal people and culturally-inclusive healthcare centres can motivate them to access healthcare services (Stone & Waldron, 2019). Having Aboriginal cultural awareness is also beneficial in ensuring that mental trauma and anxiety issues are diminished to an appreciable level. Good mental and emotional health is a key protective factor for their wellbeing.
As a result of stakeholder consultation, constructive and productive analysis of diverse needs of the Aboriginal people in the context of wellbeing and mental health is determined. It makes it easier to track challenges and trends. While interacting with the stakeholders, it needs to be made sure that a proper mapping of the discussion is done and the relevant and authentic articles and journals are referred for gaining an enhanced insight into the same. As a result of discussion with the stakeholders, some of the identified mental health needs of the Aboriginal people are needed for a collective enclosure, access to mental health services, culturally-acceptable and incisive hospitals and the need for Non-Aboriginal people to comprehend their language as the linguistic barriers can further discourage the Aboriginal people from accessing the mainstream services.
As per the mental health statistics, in comparison with the other Australians, the Aboriginal people are more likely to incur dementia and depression. The probability of occurrence is more than 30 per cent. Many Aboriginal people above the age of 45 sustain symptoms of dementia. The economic health problems further contribute to the feeling of inadequacy and mental trauma (Hamdullahpur, Jacobs & Gill, 2017).
Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing Framework 2017-2027 is an initiative by the Victorian government for addressing the wellbeing and mental health of the Aboriginal people. It intends to provide culturally-appropriate services to the indigenous as well as the ethnic minorities in the country (Evans et al., 2019). The National Mental Health Strategy is another initiative of the government. It is a joint Commonwealth-State funding program having a special division for the Aboriginal people (Sydney Local Health District, 2018). The NSW Aboriginal Health Strategy employs Aboriginal mental health workers and provides mental health services to 30786 Aboriginal people in NSW.
The prominent features of the health programs are based on the prevention of neurological disorders and the concerning disabilities. For promoting good health, the preliminary objective is to ensure that the recognition of cultural diversity is fostered among the healthcare workers and the staff must also be from Aboriginal descent. Its focus is on early prevention by engaging in different workshops. Home-visiting facilities are provided for Aboriginal families requiring further support. 48-hours follows ups are being taken and also, integrated care initiatives are provided (Sydney Local Health District, 2018). Employing the school-based intervention must be a cardinal part of an intrusion strategy for educating regarding the healthy lifestyle, community engagement ad accessing the healthcare while incurring the adversative symptoms.
These programs will address the health issues of the Aboriginal people because it taps their fundamental need which is acceptance and culturally-appropriate healthcare needs. These programs ensure strong indigenous representation in the schools and the health facilities to encourage them to come forwards and get mental health treatment. For comprehending their needs in a better way, the NSW program is also amalgamating with the Aboriginal controlled health organizations.
Evans, J., Faulkhead, S., Thorpe, K., Adams, K., Booker, L., & Timbery, N. (2019). Indigenous archiving and wellbeing: surviving, thriving, reconciling. Community Archives, Community Spaces: Heritage, Memory and Identity, 129.
Hamdullahpur, K., Jacobs, K. W. J., & Gill, K. J. (2017). A comparison of socioeconomic status and mental health among inner-city Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women. International journal of circumpolar health, 76(1), 1340693.
Koleade, A., Farrell, J., Mugford, G., & Gao, Z. (2018). Prevalence and risk factors of ACO (asthma-COPD overlap) in aboriginal people. Journal of environmental and public health, 2018.
Morphy, F. (2016). Indigenising demographic categories: a prolegomenon to indigenous data sovereignty. Indigenous Data Sovereignty, 99.
Phillips, B., Daniels, J., Woodward, A., Blakely, T., Taylor, R., & Morrell, S. (2017). Mortality trends in Australian Aboriginal peoples and New Zealand Māori. Population health metrics, 15(1), 25.
Stone, L., & Waldron, R. (2019). Great expectations and e-mental health:'The role of literacy in mediating access to mental healthcare'. Australian journal of general practice, 48(7), 474.
Sydney Local Health District. (2018). Aboriginal Health Strategic Plan 2018–2022. Retrieved from: https://www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/pdfs/AboriginalHealthStrategicPlan2018-2022.pdf
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