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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

AMA - Good mental health and wellbeing essential to close Indigenous health gap

Date posted: 9 April 2013

Australian Medical Association (AMA) President Dr Steve Hambleton has stated that factors that contribute to poor mental health and social and emotional wellbeing among Indigenous Australian peoples should be given greater priority in the nation's health policy agenda.

Nearly one-third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults report levels of psychological distress in their lives that are two-and-a-half times the rate reported by other Australians and the situation is even more dire among Stolen generation survivors. Young Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders are particularly at risk. The suicide rates for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men between 15 and 19 years of age are nearly six times that of other Australian men of that age.

A positive state of mental health and happiness can be a buffer against adverse circumstances and health conditions. The physical health and mental health of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders are therefore intertwined. This means that, in measuring what it will take to close the gap in Indigenous health, it is critical to include mental health and social and emotional wellbeing in the equation.

Source: NACCHO communiqué


Colin Cowell
National Communications and Media Advisor
National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)
Ph: (02) 6246 9309
Fax: (02) 6248 0744
Mobile: 0401 331 251


Last updated: 15 July 2014
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