Little is known about how best to practically meet the social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) needs of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly those with severe and complex mental health needs. Yet, there is an urgent need for health programs and services to be more responsive to the mental health needs of this population.
- There is clear evidence about the disproportionate burden of SEWB and mental health concerns experienced among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The key contributors to the disease burden among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 10-24 years are: suicide and self-inflicted injuries, anxiety disorder and alcohol use disorders.
- Primary Health Networks (PHNs) play an integral role in identifying promising practice approaches for mental health challenges for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their service regions, and respective communities. This involves developing locally and culturally appropriate strategies to address the health service environment and Government priorities.
- Policy-makers need to involve young and older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the design and implementation of SEWB and mental health policies that impact them, and to develop guidelines and plans about how to expand the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce to better meet the SEWB needs of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Culturally valid understandings must shape the provision of services and must guide assessment, care and management of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health problems generally and mental health concerns more specifically. This necessitates a culturally safe and responsive approach through health program and service delivery.