Dudgeon, P., & Ugle, K. (2014). Communicating and engaging with diverse communities. In P. Dudgeon, H. Milroy and R. Walker (Eds.), Working Together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Wellbeing Principles and Practice, 2nd edition (pp. 257-268). Commonwealth of Australia. https://www.telethonkids.org.au/globalassets/media/documents/aboriginal-health/working-together-second-edition/wt-part-3-chapt-15-final.pdf

This chapter focuses on the skills and understanding required for communicating and engaging effectively with Aboriginal people in diverse contexts, with particular attention to the urban setting. We briefly discuss concepts of community and culture, such as kinship affiliations, community obligations and values of Aboriginal people.

The work of the late psychiatrist, Mark Sheldon, has been influential in establishing communication and engagement strategies for mental health practitioners working in remote communities, is briefly covered. In addition, protocols for communicating and engaging with Torres Strait Islander people are included. Importantly, the various strategies discussed here are in accord with the National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce 20131 and highlight the need for recognition and respect of cultural difference for all Aboriginal people.