Wellbeing, Self-Determination, and The Voice referendum
Tuesday 12 September
Social Sciences Lecture Theatre
Public Talk: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Wellbeing, Self-Determination, and The Voice referendum
The 2023 Robin Winkler Lecture by Professor Patricia Dudgeon, School of Indigenous Studies, UWA.
The mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has become a critical issue and available data indicates an entrenched, worsening, mental health crisis. For example, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide occurs at double the rate of other Australians. Suicide is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of 15 to 34 years of age, accounting for 1 in 3 deaths. At the core of any solutions are concepts of valuing culture and Indigenous governance (self-determination). New approaches highlight the importance of the mental health profession engaging with Indigenous people in ways that support self-determination through assisting recovery and maintaining culture.
In her lecture, Professor Dudgeon will outline significant national projects that UWA has led to address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention. She will also provide an overview of the concept of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB). This concept, which has emerged as crucially important within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing, goes beyond notions such as ‘mental health’ and ‘mental illness’ to encapsulate something much broader and more holistic. It recognises the importance of connection to land, culture, spirituality, ancestry, family and community as well as how these interrelate to impact the individual, their family, and their community. In addition to historical determinants, the influence of political determinants also represent important considerations in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing. There has been an increase in experiences of racism as the nation moves closer to the Australian Indigenous Voice referendum. Professor Dudgeon will discuss what the Voice means to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the potential impacts of either a yes or no outcome on wellbeing. The lecture will run for 40 minutes, followed by audience Q & A.