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A screening tool assessing Indigenous mental health is being validated and will be ready for distribution across the country this year.
The Here and now Aboriginal assessment screening tool (HANAA) has been developed by the UWA Community, Culture and Mental Health unit in close consultation with Aboriginal people.
Project co-ordinator and UWA Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences Assistant Professor Zaza Lyons says mental health is a neglected area of Aboriginal health.
'While there are no surveys that have measured mental illness among the Aboriginal population at a national level, in part due to the lack of a suitable tool, smaller community based studies have found high levels of mental illness and psychological distress,' A/Prof Lyons says.
'The HANAA overcomes some of these difficulties by providing an easy to use tool that will screen for social and emotional problems among Aboriginal people and can be easily administered with minimal training.'
The screening tool assesses the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal people, focusing on the mental and physical health of the respondent. It has 10 domains that cover, among others, depression, anxiety, suicide, and substance use. It also focuses on positive aspects of the respondent's mental state, such as resilience and ways of coping.
The HANAA will be distributed through various mental health networks and will be freely available to those that work in the field.
Source: NACCHO communiqué