|Author||Jorm, Anthony F; Bourchier, Sarah J ; Cvetkovski, Stefan; Stewart, Gavin|
|Source/Publisher||Medical journal of Australia 196 (2)|
|Subjects||Community development, Health|
This report assembles what is known about the mental health of Indigenous Australians from community surveys. A systematic search was conducted of publications and data sources since 2000. Surveys had to involve representative sampling of a population, identify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and include a measure of mental health. From 11 relevant surveys, data were extracted on prevalence rates for Indigenous people by age and sex, along with comparison data from the general population, where available. Across seven studies, Indigenous adults were consistently found to have a higher prevalence of self-reported psychological distress than the general community. However, two studies of Indigenous adolescents did not find a higher prevalence of psychological distress. Two surveys of parents and carers of Indigenous children and adolescents found a higher prevalence of behaviour problems. It is concluded that there is an inequality in mental health between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians that starts from an early age. This needs to be a priority for research, preventive action and health services.
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