Authors: Robert Peckham and Colin Locke, NSW
Event: 2005 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Men's and Women's Mental Health, indigenous culture, aboriginal mental health programs, cultural identity, bushwalking
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Loss of cultural identity is considered an underlying cause of, or at least a significant factor contributing to, the high rates of mental illness of Aboriginal men. The Aboriginal Mental Health Program focuses on creating opportunities for men's cultural identity development through an annual camp and ongoing bushwalking model of service. It is fundamentally a suicide prevention program, providing a culturally appropriate model for Aboriginal men with mental health problems. It involves bushwalking, learning about indigenous culture and working with artists and mental health workers to develop creative "tools" eg artwork, stories, videos etc. The men are then supported to use these "tools" in a range of community education settings such as schools, prisons etc, providing a pathway for the men's skill development and re-inclusion into community networks.