Two creative examples of SEWB activity are magazines designed to promote resilience and SEWB among Indigenous youth. In 2002, Streetwize Communications produced 'Talk good to Yaself/Blak n' Blues', a comic book resource aimed at demonstrating the effects of depression on young Indigenous people, and strategies to adopt in order to cope with and overcome depression . Deadly Vibe is a magazine for Indigenous students that aims to enhance the academic and social outcomes of their schooling including: improved literacy and numeracy, self-esteem, self-concept, regular school attendance and retention, career and employment opportunities and healthy lifestyles . Evaluation of the resource among teachers and students found strong support for the efficacy of the magazine in terms of its positive impact among its target audience. Such novel approaches to mental health promotion address the aforementioned concerns regarding mental health literacy by using language and a format that are both appealing and understandable to the target audience.
The following four programs aim to promote resilience and wellbeing by actively teaching youth and adults skills and strategies to improve their immediate social situation and to overcome future life challenges. MindMatters is a national health promotion tool that aims to promote social and emotional wellbeing within secondary schools across Australia. Areas addressed include bullying, promoting resilience, loss and grief, and coping. An evaluation of the program implemented at Bwgcolman on Palm Island in Queensland revealed positive outcomes, including progress in behaviour management and increased health lessons for students and professional development opportunities for staff in the areas of Indigenous learning and culturally appropriate teaching methods .
In 2001-2005, Indigenous males were 5.8 times more likely to die from mental and behavioural disorders and Indigenous females 3.1 times more likely in 2001-05 than were their non-Indigenous counterparts . In terms of specific disorders, the death rate for 'mental and behavioural disorders due to psychoactive substance use' was 14 times higher for Indigenous males aged 35-44 years than for non-Indigenous males in that age group. The rate for Indigenous females in this age group was 12 times higher than their non-Indigenous counterparts.
In 2005-06, Indigenous males and females were almost twice as likely to be hospitalised for mental and behavioural disorders as other Australians . In terms of specific disorders, the rates of hospitalisation in 2005-06 for Indigenous people diagnosed with 'mental disorders due to psychoactive substance use' were 4.5 times higher for Indigenous males than for other Australian males and 3.3 times higher for Indigenous females than for other Australian females.
A classic example is a person running screaming naked down the middle of the street. For many people that's a very good example of "crazy." That is, until they listen more closely and discover that this is a mother who is screaming about her burning home, and that her child is trapped inside.
It is worth mentioning at this juncture that a more comprehensive review of innovative models and resources that increase mental health awareness and help-seeking in urban, regional and remote Indigenous communities is currently being compiled under the auspices of the Australian Psychological Society. A Working Party comprised of Indigenous psychologists has been involved in the project that aims to identify models and resources that attempt to address the SEWB needs of Indigenous people. A report outlining the findings and descriptions of the qualities of each service is in the final stages of production.
This brief description of a number of SEWB programs illustrates the variety of work being attempted. Notably, these interventions incorporate a variety of conventional, appropriated and traditional techniques in a variety of sites as suggested in Hunter's aforementioned taxonomy. Nagel's emphases on accessibility, literacy, assessment and treatment techniques and the development of a competent workforce also receive attention. Reflection on these aspects of the programs further confirms that a focus on (re)integrating aspects of Indigenous peoples' lives is paramount, as is the acknowledgement of Indigenous perspectives of what constitutes priorities and approaches. As a result, Indigenous people stand to receive better services, and service providers gain confidence and expertise in operating cross-culturally.
The Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program (MSOAP) funds psychiatrists to travel to rural and remote communities to provide consultation-liaison services that emphasise the up-skilling of general practitioners and other health care workers, as well as providing direct psychiatric services to Indigenous communities . Cord-Udy found that the MSOAP contributed to substantial improvements in services for Indigenous children and adults in rural and remote South Australia. For example, psychiatrists who undertook the cultural awareness training to improve their effectiveness with Indigenous communities facilitated increased consultation and cooperation with ACCHSs and AHWs in an attempt to deliver more culturally appropriate services.
So please, become a pioneer, and together let's drop the use of the phrase "mental illness," and search for more inclusive and creative phrases. This is a reminder that our words and even our whole social reality of what is called "normal," are not forced upon us God-given by the heavens, but are constructs that we mortals all co-create, in our imperfection, in our freedom, together.
A program that straddles the aims of prevention and treatment services is the Mental Health First Aid Course for Indigenous people. Following the model applied to conventional first aid, the Mental Health First Aid course was developed in 2001 and adapted to better address the needs of particular cultural groups, including Indigenous people (in consultation with key Indigenous professionals) . Mental Health First Aid refers to the help given to someone developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis until appropriate professional treatment is received or until the crisis resolves. Another aim of the course for Indigenous people is to improve the mental health literacy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The program has been evaluated and found to be effective in improving mental health knowledge, reducing the shame people feel regarding mental health issues, and increasing confidence for helping others . Evaluation of its effectiveness with Indigenous Australians remains a particular priority. The guidelines concerning cultural considerations and communication techniques for Indigenous Australians are available from the Mental Health First-Aid web-site ().
She feels if she has to take medications for the rest of her life, or worse, have a long term stay at a behavioral health facility where they might over medicate her if she is oppositional to the treatments that her life and freedom to choose will be over.