The aim of this paper is to provide a review of literature that has contributed to research about depression and well-being relevant to the Aboriginal and Indigenous populations in Australia.
The following will identify some of the accepted causal attributes and expression of depression within remote and urban communities. In addition, the identified tools used to assess depression for this review will be examined. Finally, the relationship between the management of mental illness and current programs aimed at supporting indigenous people towards achieving holistic balance will be identified and examined to highlight possible contributions of future research.
Aboriginal people have long ...view middle of the document...
Alcohol is an important contributing factor, particularly in remote areas, where alcohol was involved in 70-90% of reported, violent crimes (Reference-Anger &Indigenous men). A study administered in Western Australia with participants enrolled in an anger management program recognized that their anger derived from feelings of low self-worth and a pervasive sense of frustration (S L Berry and T P Crowe, 2009). With equal concern, Indigenous people whom engage in substance misuse, also have co-existing mental health disorders. (cut and paste prev ref) Roxbee and Wallace (2003) found that the combination of substance misuse, co-existing mental disorders and complex schemes of causality and treatments are unique to Australian Indigenous populations. Conversely, treatment of depression and mental illness for aboriginal people require service providers to overlap their skills and training to be culturally sensitive and aware of identity trauma and disempowerment, in addition to the stigma, needs and engagement problems associated with the determined disorder(s) (same reference).
Rates of depression were also high from groups that had experienced discrimination at 44% (ABS, 2010). It was not conclusive whether the data had accounted for overlap between feelings of depression or other factors relating to discrimination, such as the ‘zero tolerance’ policy; laws enabling police to search on sight, consequently, minority groups can become a consistent target (Anger & Indigenous Men).
In comparison, despite the high rates of self-reported psychological distress; 72% of indigenous adults reported being happy all or most of the time. Geographically, these rates were higher at 78% in remote areas, compared to 71% in non-remote areas. Critically, this data is contradicting to other observable data of mortality rates where death occurred from intentional self-harm. From 2003-2007, indigenous people committed intentional self-harm seven times more frequently than non-indigenous people (ABS, 2010).
These statistics represent the levels of psychological distress measured across indigenous communities more closely.
(cut and paste into previous paragraph)Notably, the highest rate of intentional self-harm existed within the 65+ age group had surprisingly scored the highest in reporting feelings of happiness (AIHW, National Mortality Database, 2011).
In reference to considerations towards assessment and diagnosis of depression and mental illness