SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL WELLBEING

This article is part of a comprehensive series released as The Health and Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

KEY MESSAGES

Most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults reported being happy:
In 2008, 72% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over (adults) reported being a happy person all or most of the time, with rates higher among adults living in remote areas (78%) than non-remote areas (71%).
Around one-third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults reported high/very high levels of psychological distress:
31% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over reported high/very high levels of psychological distress. Rates were particularly high among those with a disability or long-term health condition, those who had been victims of violence, or who had experienced discrimination.
Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experienced discrimination:
More than one-quarter (27%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had experienced discrimination in the last 12 months.
One in ten (11%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years reported being bullied at school because of their Indigenous origin.
Around one in twelve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults have personally experienced removal from their natural family:
In 2008, 8% (26,900 people) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over stated that they had been removed from their natural family, consistent with the rate reported in 2002 (also 8%).
Of those who had experienced removal from their natural family, 35% assessed their health as fair or poor and 39% experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress, compared with 21% and 30% of those not removed.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, social and emotional wellbeing is a broad and holistic concept of life and health that not only includes mental health, but also other factors such as cultural, spiritual and social wellbeing. It encompasses both the wellbeing of the individual and that of their family and community (Endnote 1).

This article provides a range of information on the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, drawing on data from the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS).

Topics covered in this article include:
Positive wellbeing
Psychological distress
Life stressors – adults
Stressors and life events – children
Discrimination
Bullying at school
Removal from natural family
Social and emotional wellbeing: Torres Strait Islander people

ENDNOTES

1. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2010, Framework for Measuring Wellbeing: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2010, cat. no. 4703.0, ABS, Canberra

This page last updated 16 February 2011
Source: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/lookup/4704.0Main+Features1Oct+2010

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