Developing a best practice pathway to support improvements in Indigenous Australians' mental health and well-being: A qualitative study

Hinton, Rachael, Kavanagh, David J., Barclay, Lesley, Chenhall, Richard, & Nagel, Tricia (2015) Developing a best practice pathway to support improvements in Indigenous Australians' mental health and well-being: A qualitative study. BMJ Open, 5(8), e007938.

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Objective: There is a need to adapt pathways to care to promote access to mental health services for Indigenous people in Australia. This study explored Indigenous community and service provider perspectives of well-being and ways to promote access to care for Indigenous people at risk of depressive illness.

Design: A participatory action research framework was used to inform the development of an agreed early intervention pathway; thematic analysis

Setting: 2 remote communities in the Northern Territory.

Participants: Using snowball and purposive sampling, 27 service providers and community members with knowledge of the local context and the diverse needs of those at risk of depression were interviewed. 30% of participants were Indigenous. The proposed pathway to care was adapted in response to participant feedback.

Results: The study found that Indigenous mental health and well-being is perceived as multifaceted and strongly linked to cultural identity. It also confirms that there is broad support for promotion of a clear pathway to early intervention. Key identified components of this pathway were the health centre, visiting and community-based services, and local community resources including elders, cultural activities and families. Enablers to early intervention were reported. Significant barriers to the detection and treatment of those at risk of depression were identified, including insufficient resources, negative attitudes and stigma, and limited awareness of support options.

Conclusions: Successful early intervention for wellbeing concerns requires improved understanding of Indigenous well-being perspectives and a systematic change in service delivery that promotes integration, flexibility and collaboration between services and the community, and recognises the importance of social determinants in health promotion and the healing process. Such changes require policy support, targeted training and education, and ongoing promotion.

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ID Code: 91258
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-007938
ISSN: 2044-6055
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 BMJ Group
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Deposited On: 16 Dec 2015 01:43
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2015 22:17

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