Bringing up Children Gran’s Way: Insights from a research project on Indigenous child and youth mental health

Cox, Leonie & Thompson, Jennifer (2013) Bringing up Children Gran’s Way: Insights from a research project on Indigenous child and youth mental health. In 19th International NPNR Conference, 5-6 September 2013, Warwick, United Kingdom. (Unpublished)




In 2000, the Mater Child and Youth Mental Health Service Indigenous consultant saw that Indigenous families were isolated from kinship networks following the assimilation policy and clinicians were largely unaware of these socio-cultural histories. Experiences of marginalisation by mainstream society and services were exacerbated by assumptions clinicians made about this population. To enhance Mater’s care the consultant undertook research with Indigenous Elders. The project, “Bringing up Children Gran’s Way”, on which the presenter is the research advisor, was funded by AIATSIS.


Increase service quality Improve staff confidence, skills and satisfaction working with this population Promote the wellbeing of Indigenous families Acknowledge the significance of Elders and extended family networks.


Over 2006/07 the team used narrative and Indigenous methodologies, (e.g. yarning circles and the use of Indigenous research staff) to arrange and audio-record structured interviews with 19 Aboriginal Elders, on growing up and parenting. The participants were recruited by the Indigenous consultant and gave written consent, following ethical approval and information giving. The team immersed themselves in the material by repeated reading of the transcripts to note recurring themes in Elders’ narratives.


The recurring themes included the importance of cultural protocols and extended family; impacts of being ‘under the Act and stories of surviving change; culture, spiritualty and religion; trans-generational impacts; childrearing and the need to reconcile with Elders.


The narratives show Elders resilience in the face of enduring impact of policies of genocide and assimilation. Clinicians need to approach their work with a deeper understanding of the diversity of clients’ social experience and cultural identity. Clinicians need to examine their own cultural assumptions about this population.


The dissemination of the knowledge and experience of Elders is a matter of social justice and crucial for the well-being of future generations and for improved service access.

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ID Code: 92675
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: No
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Mental Health Nursing (111005)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: Please consult the authors
Deposited On: 04 Feb 2016 23:40
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2016 23:44

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