3121MED First Peoples Health And Practice

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3121MED First Peoples Health And Practice

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3121MED First Peoples Health And Practice

1 Download9 Pages / 2,195 Words

Course Code: 3121MED
University: Griffith University

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Country: Australia


Who are the traditional custodians of the land, pays respects to Elders, past and present, and extends that respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are warned that the following content may contain images and voices of deceased persons
Whiteboard reflections
What were some of the impacts from colonisation?
Content Description
This topic aims to develop student’s knowledge of the current demographic and health statistics for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, as well as features of effective policies and strategies relative to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanderpeoples in the context of health service delivery.
CAPABILITY Safety & Quality – Learning Outcome
Apply evidence and strengths based best
practice approaches in Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Health Care.
Population Health
Identify current demographic, health indicators and statistical trends for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples and compare these to trends for non-indigenous peoples in Australia over time.
Social Determinants
Determine strengths and challenges in delivering healthcare with respect to the social determinants of health.
Identify issues in diagnosing, treating and preventing disease and illness in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients.
Reflection Questions

What is the percentage of First Peoples population in Australia?
Which state has the highest proportion of First Peoples?
Where do the majority of First People live? ie. Rural, Remote or Urban


Aborigines are the indigenous people of Australia. Their presence dates back to around 40,000 years, long before the Europeans arrived and settled on the island continent at the end of the 18th century. From there, nothing will ever be like before for the country and its inhabitants, humans as animals. Europeans gradually bring in species from the old continent, convicts, and gradually decimate the Aboriginal population. Illness, extermination, nothing will save them until the twentieth century. Today, the aboriginal issue is not settled and is a major problem that divides the country in two. As depicted in the concept map below, there are five major concepts that can be used to explain why there is high health inequalities among First People. These concepts include the stolen generation, education, dispossession, racism and loss of connection to country. Each of these concepts contributes in one way or another to the high health inequalities among the First people in Australia.
This part will demonstrate how the concepts identified in the concept map play a role in increasing the incidence and prevalence of mental health problems among Aboriginal people in Australia.
Stolen generation
Stolen generation is one of the factors responsible for high health inequalities among the First People. Legal, archival and protocol documents show that the separation of children from the family and their placement in boarding schools led to the destruction of family and social ties. Many pupils did not know parental care, did not adopt the traditional family experience, did not acquire life and parental skills, they did not have self-esteem and respect for elders. Their parents, in turn, did not have the opportunity to take care of their children, educate and instruct them, teach them to make the right decisions (De Leo, Milner & Sveticic, 2012). Over time, the boarding system weakened the emotional connection between parents and children. Being in isolation from their native culture and spiritual values, the children lost their family ties. This loss has disrupted the transfer of traditional experience and knowledge to succeeding generations. Stolen generation significantly hinder the ability of the First People to assimilate and learn more about the health care services. It causes a cultural trauma. It affected the way the First People perceive the external world. Children living apart from their families were deprived of parental care and attention taken in their native traditional culture. As a result, they did not develop the skills of education and care for their own children. To date, there are four generations (Soole,  Kolves & De Leo, 2014). Indigenous peoples with destructive experiences in boarding schools, which they passed on to their own children and grandchildren, as well as to other persons who are not their descendants, through the indirect impact of trauma on the entire community. Successive governments – sometimes purposefully, and sometimes, ignorant of the consequences – sought to assimilate the aborigines into their society, destroying their traditional way of life, culture and language, imposing them an alien way of life and religion  (Elias, Mignone & Hall et al. 2012). For many centuries, indigenous peoples in the colonial countries have experienced numerous humiliations, violence, hunger, and sometimes – mass destruction and extermination. The consequences of the transferred historical losses are still preserved in the form of unfavorable socio-economic status, intolerance and discrimination, erosion of traditional culture.  The clinical consequences of cultural and historical trauma are manifested by high levels of suicide, alcoholism, drug addiction, abuse of surfactants and a number of other disorders. Currently, these disorders are classified as “complicated grief”, or “complicated grief”. The grief of indigenous peoples is a common experience that has developed among all members of the community due to colonization and forced assimilation. “Complicated grief,” in this context, is the suffering of entire populations, which is transmitted to subsequent generations and clinically manifested in high death rates from unnatural causes (Sveticic, Milner ??& De Leo 2012). Surveys conducted in 2005 among the adult population of reservations revealed a high prevalence of thoughts about loss (Derek Cheung, Spittal, Williamson et al. 2014). Almost a fifth (18.2%) of the indigenous people daily or several times a day thought about the loss of land. More than one third (36.3%) daily or several times a day thought about the loss of their native language. One third (33.4%) daily or several times a day thought about the loss of traditional spirituality. This number increased by more than half (54.8%), when they considered those who had such thoughts, at least every week. One third (33.7%) thought daily of the loss of traditional culture; half (48.1%) thought about this at least once a week. Almost everyone was worried about alcoholism, only 7.5% said that they “never” thought about it. Thoughts about loss of respect for elders were daily worried by 37.5% of respondents, 65% thought about it every week. 33.2% of the respondents visited daily thoughts of premature departure from the life of community members, 54.5% thought about it every week (Soole, Kolves  & De Leo 2014).
Dispossession is another concept that is responsible for high health inequalities among the First People in Australia. The first people were deprived of their land, property and culture. This significantly destabilizes the way they manage their day to day activities. Before dispossession, the First People had strong culture (Austin, van den Heuvel & Byard 2011). Due to the strong protective factors that were present in the traditional culture of indigenous populations and included a collective way of life, proper nutrition, a clear division of social roles, a traditional system of upbringing. Strong family ties, collectivism and cohesion provided care and attention to the younger generation from close relatives and other members of the community, which led to the formation of a sense of security and self-sufficiency in children (Pridmore & Fujiyama 2009). In addition, the cultural rites, which were present in many tribes, allowed the aborigines to react to negative emotions. In some traditional cultures, the forms of behavior of members of the community in performing certain rituals were associated with self-harm, in particular, in Australian tribes, during mourning rituals, women were haircut (Farrelly & Francis 2009). However, suicides were not a characteristic phenomenon for traditional cultures (Parker, 2010).
Dispossession resulted in the destruction of the traditional way of life, resettlement on the reservation, the emergence of new diseases, unknown earlier, led to high mortality of the indigenous population, marginalization and poverty, caused psychological stress and despair. Continuing discrimination, a lot of stressful factors, low socio-economic status, create prerequisites for deteriorating mental health and suicidal behavior.
Loss of connection to country
Loss of connection to country is another great impediment faced by the First People in Australia. When studying the place of residence of indigenous Australians, Phillips (2009) found that about a quarter of the aboriginal population lives in remote parts of the continent. From 26% to 62% of indigenous Australians over 15 live in very cramped conditions, in crowded housing (Phillips 2009). Most children can not attend school due to their inability to stay in school: only 39.5% of indigenous children are kept in secondary school, compared to 76.6% of non-Aboriginal children. Australian Aborigines are 12 times more likely to go to jail, compared to the rest of the Australian population.
Members of indigenous communities living in remote areas have far fewer opportunities to receive medical care, including mental health services (Adams , Halacas, Cincotta  et al. 2014). As a result, they have low rates of physical and mental health, high rates of premature mortality from external causes, including suicide. Most of the aboriginal Australians who committed suicide did not have the opportunity to seek medical help.
There are very few schools available for them. Some are in the hands of missionaries who try to instill in their children Christian doctrines and enmity toward the old customs. Training is often only in local dialects, for some missionaries deliberately do not teach Aboriginal children English to weaken their contact with the rest of the population. On the contrary, in government schools, instruction is usually conducted on English programs and textbooks that are not adapted to local conditions and to the terms of children . Lack of adequate education significantly affected the way First People utilizes health care services (Chartier, Vaeth & Caetano 2013).
Low education level can hinder utilization and access to health care leading to health inequalities. Education also determine the standard of living. The standard of living of aborigines is significantly inferior to that of other Australians. Because of the lack of satisfactory education, and also because of the racial prejudices that still prevail in the country, the majority of working Aborigines (both in cities and in rural areas) are forced to be content with unskilled and underpaid work. The average annual income of a family from Aborigines is half that of the rest of Australians: 6,000 and 12,000 respectively (Street, Baum, Anderson, Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health (Australia), Flinders University., & Australia 2008). Unemployment among aborigines is 24.6%, while among the remaining Australians it is 5.9%. Settlements of aborigines in those settlements and cities where “white” predominate, are located separately, as a rule on the outskirts, in the most inconvenient places (Street, Baum, Anderson, Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health (Australia), Flinders University., & Australia 2008). Unsanitary living conditions, insufficient and improper diet, sedentary lifestyle, to which they are completely unadapted, the lack of immunity to many common diseases among Europeans lead to the fact that the aborigines are often seriously ill. Children’s mortality in Aborigines is almost 3 times higher than in “white” Australians, and the average life expectancy is 20 years less.
The indigenous population is deprived of elementary democratic rights and rights to human existence. The aborigine is not allowed to travel in his own country, he has no right even to move from one reservation to another without special written permission, otherwise he will be arrested. But they can send him without any trial to any reservation and stay there for as long as the Director of the Aboriginal Affairs Department will appoint (Calabria, Doran, Vos et al. 2010).
All bona fide observers note the plight of the aborigines in modern Australia. “Philanthropists guard them as an endangered race,” wrote the researcher Pfeffer. “Science studies them as animals in a zoological garden.” For actions that they do not criminalize, they are brought to court, which they do not understand. Missionaries destroy their faith, traders deceive them. Gold miners and shepherds take away their women, their watch over how foolish children or exploit (Eckermann, 2010).
In addition to civil unequal rights, Aboriginal people, like the mestizo, suffer from domestic racial discrimination. Among the majority of the population of Australia, racial prejudices are common. Aborigines often display a disdainful attitude. So, regardless of their age, they are only called diminutive names “Tommy”, “Jackie” and so on. In the course of the colloquial-abbreviated word “abo” (aborigine). Racism also resulted in poor policies designed to help the First people (Street, Baum, Anderson, Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health (Australia), Flinders University., & Australia 2008).
Adams K., Halacas C., Cincotta M. et al. (2014). Mental health and Victorian Aboriginal people: what can data mining tell us? Aust. J. Prim. Health. 20(4): 350-355.
Austin A. E., van den Heuvel C. & Byard R. W. (2011). Causes of the community suicides among the indigenous South Australians. J. Forensic Leg. Med. 18(7): 299-301.
Calabria B., Doran CM, Vos T. et al. (2010). Epidemiology of alcohol-related burden of disease among Indigenous Australians. Aust. NZJ Public Health. 34 (1): 47-51.
Chartier K. G., Vaeth P. A. & Caetano R. (2013). Focus on: ethnicity and the social and health harms from drinking. Alcohol Res. 35 (2): 229-237.
De Leo, D., Milner, A, Sveticic, J. (2012). Mental disorders and communication of intent to die in indigenous suicide cases, Queensland, Australia. Suicide Life Threat. Behav. 42 (2): 136-46.
Derek Cheung Y. T., Spittal M. J., Williamson M. K. et al. (2014). Predictors of suicides occurring within suicide clusters in Australia, 2004-2008. Soc. Sci. Med. 118: 135-142.
Elias B., Mignone J., Hall M. et al. (2012). Trauma and suicide behaviour histories among the Canadian indigenous population: an empirical exploration of the potential role of Canada’s residential school system. Soc. Sci. Med. 74 (10): 15601569.
Farrelly T., & Francis K. (2009). Definitions of suicide and self-harm behavior in the Australian aboriginal community. Suicide Life Threat. Behav. 39 (2): 182-189.
Morgan R., & Freeman L. (2009). The healing of our people: substance abuse and historical trauma. Subst. Use Misuse. 44(1): 84-98.
Parker, R. (2010). Australia, aboriginal population and mental health, J. J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. 198 (1): 3-7.
Phillips A. (2009). Health status differentials across rural and remote Australia. Aust. J. Rural Health. 17(1): 2-9.
Pridmore S., & Fujiyama H. ??(2009). Suicide in the Northern Territory, 2001-2006. Aust. NZJ Psychiatry. 43 (12): 1126-1130.
Soole R., Kolves K., De Leo D. (2014). Suicides in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children: analysis of the Queensland Suicide Register. Aust. NZJ Public Health. 38 (6): 574-578.
Soole, R., Kolves, K., & De Leo, D. (2014). Factors related to childhood suicides: analysis of the Queensland. 35 (5): 292-300.
Sveticic J., Milner A., ??& De Leo D. (2012). Contacts with mental health services before suicide: a comparison of Indigenous with non-Indigenous Australians. Gen. Hosp. Psychiatry. 34 (2): 185-191.
Eckermann, A.-K. (2010). Binan Goonj: Bridging cultures in Aboriginal health. Chatswood DC, N.S.W: Elsevier Australia.
Street, J., Baum, F., Anderson, I., Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health (Australia), Flinders University., & Australia. (2008). Making research relevant: Grant assessment processes in Indigenous research. Casuarina, N.T: Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health.

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