While there are issues such as housing, employment and education that affect everyone, there are also specific protective and risk factors that have a high impact on the social emotional wellbeing and rates of depression among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Protective factors enable people to feel strong and resilient. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities these may include:
- social connectedness and sense of belonging
- connection to land, culture, spirituality and ancestry
- living on or near traditional lands
- strong Community governance
- passing on of cultural practices.
Significant risk factors that can impact on the social emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities include:
- widespread grief and loss
- impacts of the Stolen Generations and removal of children
- unresolved trauma
- separation from culture and identity issues
- discrimination based on race or culture
- economic and social disadvantage
- physical health problems
- substance misuse.
The experience of racial discrimination is worth specific focus. Over half of people who have experienced discrimination have reported feelings of psychological distress.1