What is it about?

Mental illnesses constitute a major burden of disease in Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders (hereafter Aboriginal Australians), who are also over-represented in the prison system. A legacy of colonization compounds such prevalence, and is further exacerbated by the persistence of racial discrimination and insensitivity across many sectors, including health.

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Why is it important?

The findings support previous research linking Aboriginal health providers to improved health outcomes for Aboriginal patients. In a colonized country, such as Australia, education programs that critically reflect on power relations privileging white Anglo-Australian cultural dominance and subjugating Aboriginal knowledge, beliefs, and values are important to identify factors promoting or compromising the care of Aboriginal patients and developing a deeper understanding of ‘cultural safety’ and its clinical application.

Perspectives

Organizational commitment is needed to translate the findings to support non-Aboriginal health professionals deliver high-quality care to Aboriginal patients that is respectful of cultural differences.

Lesley Barr
Curtin University

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This page is a summary of: Improving forensic mental health care for Aboriginal Australians: Challenges and opportunities, International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, September 2013, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/inm.12042.
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