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Understanding Indigenous women’s social and emotional wellbeing and wellness : program development in conjunction with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

conference contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by M Walker, Bronwyn Fredericks, D Anderson
The term “Social and Emotional Wellbeing” (SEWB) was coined through the noted inability of conventional psychiatric terminology when addressing Indigenous holistic connections and opposes the mainstream terminology that often boxes “mental health” as a diagnosis, disease or illness into separate origins from that of other personal holistic Indigenous existence, which in turn directly objects to Indigenous thinking and perceptions of wellbeing. In an attempt to capture the broader and more holistic ways of Indigenous thinking and interpretations around Indigenous mental health, Indigenous Australian Brisbane North women’s perceptions of wellbeing and wellness were explored through the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women whom had experienced or were at risk of developing SEWB problems. This Indigenous mental health nurse led research highlighted the inherent differences intertwined within the essence of Indigenous women’s SEWB perceptions, beliefs and knowledge’s. Including the interconnectiveness that centres around not only ones physical wellness but the inherent connections embedded within the land, environment, community, and law/lore underpinning the fabric of a women’s life, relationships and wellbeing and intern directly attributing to their mental health and wellness. Data was derived from semi-structured narrative focus groups and included the incorporation of Indigenous specific “Yarning approaches”. The major themes centred around wellness and wellbeing, autonomy, Indigenous women being heard, historical factors of discrimination and racism, support, and the development of an Indigenous Women’s Wellness program including the SEWB benefits of this while encompassing a mental health centred Indigenous women’s specific program development focus, that is effective, inviting and community centred.


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Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia


Australian College of Mental Health Nurses

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Peer Reviewed

  • No

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

Learning and Teaching Education Research Centre (LTERC); Queensland University of Technology;

Era Eligible

  • No

Name of Conference

Australian College of Mental Health Nurses. Conference