This chapter explores current understandings of the social determinants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing and its development. We show that the determinants of this wellbeing are multiple, interconnected, and develop and act across the lifecourse from conception to late life. This chapter firstly focuses on the theoretical frameworks linking social factors to health and their applicability in Aboriginal population contexts. It then examines how social and emotional wellbeing develops in individuals, with a specific focus on the broad mechanisms that prompt, facilitate or constrain social and emotional wellbeing in all individuals. The chapter then discusses the social determinants and processes that pose a risk to the development of poor outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as well as the factors that promote or protect positive wellbeing. We highlight that there are a unique set of protective factors contained within Indigenous cultures and communities that serve as sources of strength and resilience.
It should be noted that this chapter primarily examines and refers to ‘social and emotional wellbeing’, as opposed to the terms ‘mental health’ or ‘mental illness’. The social and emotional wellbeing concept reflects the broader, holistic view of health that is an intrinsic part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (herein referred to as ‘Aboriginal’) culture. It recognises the importance of connection to land, culture, spirituality, ancestry, family and community, and how these affect individual’s wellbeing.
The information contained on this website has been sourced by the Australian Indigenous Psychology Education Project (AIPEP) and AIPEP 2. The first AIPEP was funded by the Australian Government Office of Teaching and Learning. AIPEP 2 is part of the Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing Project, funded by the Million Minds Mission Grant. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Office of Teaching and Learning or the Million Minds Mission Grant.
Several of the images used throughout this website are credited to Chris Lewis