Culturally relevant mental health services for Indigenous youth

Indigenous communities in remote areas face problems of access and relevance when it comes to mental health services. In areas such as Darwin and Alice Springs, where mental health practitioners are so far they need to be flown in, mental health delivery is costly. Efforts can also be impeded by using Western ideas on public awareness.

Rather than simply focusing on promoting services via social media or other technologies, Indigenous community workers say that grassroots efforts would be more effective. In particular, working through word of youth to challenge the stigma to seeking help. One Indigenous community worker says:

The thing with mental health in Indigenous communities is that it’s normalised. So a campaign about mental-health issues won’t really be effective, because, in the average Indigenous family, there’s going to be all of these things, and they’ve been grown up with, and they’re intergenerational. There’s so many factors that come into that. So rather than discussing them or trying to create an awareness of mental health, Indigenous communities are very aware of that. It’s just creating that space to talk about it, and to act and to get help in a way that is going to get youth and young adults in our doors.

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