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Australia's Aboriginal Population and Mental Health

Parker, Robert FRANZCP

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: January 2010 - Volume 198 - Issue 1 - p 3-7
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181c7e7bc
Review Article

It appears that mental illness was present in Australian Aboriginal culture prior to European colonization of Australia but was, most likely, a relatively rare occurrence. The much greater prevalence of mental illness and suicide in the current Aboriginal population is a reflection of the significant disruption to Aboriginal society and has a strong context of social and emotional deprivation. Management of the issues of mental illness in Aboriginal people requires a strong emphasis on cultural safety along with the recognition of family, culture and community in any therapeutic process.

Departent of Psychiatry, James Cook University and Northern Territory Clinical School, Casuarina, Australia.

Send reprint requests to Robert Parker, FRANZCP, PO Box 41776, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia. E-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.