Strong Spirit Strong Mind
The concept of social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB), mental health and mental health disorders within an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context is very complex due to the cultural and linguistic diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
However, there are some common characteristics.
Aboriginal health does not mean the physical wellbeing of an individual , but refers to the social, emotional, and cultural wellbeing of the whole community.1
This definition recognises the importance of connection to land, culture, spirituality, ancestry, family and community, and how these affect the individual.2
For this reason, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people prefer the holistic term of social and emotional wellbeing over the term ‘mental health’.
National Aboriginal and Islander Health Organisation (now the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation), 1979.
Dudgeon, P., Milroy, H., and Walker (2014), Working Together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Wellbeing Principles and Practice, p. 548.