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Indigenous

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health support

Acknowledgment

Finding North acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the lands, winds and waters of Australia and the Torres Strait, where we live, work and play.

We promise to be respectful, take the lead from community and walk together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people, communities and organisations in our lifelong wellbeing and mental health journey. .

We also pay our respect to Elders past and present, for they hold the memories of the traditions, cultures and aspirations of Australia’s First Nations peoples, and are responsible for protecting and promoting their cultures for the benefit of all Australians.

We recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is rich and diverse. We celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, in particular the strength, resilience and courage that can inspire us all to create a better community and country together.

Overview

Looking after your health is important. Your path to wellbeing may include feeling a connection to Country, culture, and family as well as staying physically and mentally well.

Eating well and being active help you maintain your physical health however it is just as important to nurture your mind.

Remember your health is important.

Supporting yourself

There are many ways you can keep your mind and spirit strong: finding ways to connect to your culture, Country, friends and family, mind and body can help you to feel good and improve your emotional well-being.

Yarn about it:

If you are feeling lonely, worried, anxious, or sad and have been feeling this way a lot it is important to yarn to someone about your feelings. Yarning with a friend, family member, or Elder can make you feel better and help keep your mind and spirit strong and healthy.

Staying connected with loved ones who support you, and yarning about your feelings can get you one step closer to feeling well again.

Connect:

Connecting to Country, culture, and community as well as doing things you enjoy can all help you feel good and support your emotional wellbeing. Going fishing, camping, or bush walking can help keep yourself strong.

Maintaining your connection to culture such as learning your language or taking part in art, sharing stories, crafts or other cultural activities may help you feel more positive. Listening to music, dancing and singing are great ways to relieve stress and get better.

You can also support your well-being by connecting with family.

Support Services:

It is important to remember that you are not alone. There are support services and information available that can help get you back on track including:

In the video “Yarning About Mental Health: Becoming better, Becoming Stronger” from Menzies School of Health Research and WellMob, you will hear more about mental health conditions and some of the things you can do to look after yourself when you are not feeling good.

How else can you support your well-being?

Sleep is also important when it comes to keeping your mind well. Not getting enough sleep can make you feel tired, and you may find you have less energy or even become forgetful. In the long term, lack of sleep can impact feelings of stress, worry, or sadness therefore, it is important to set healthy sleep habits for yourself if you can. There are a few simple things you can do to help you sleep better:

  • Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine before bed
  • Listen to your body if you feel tired go to bed
  • Make your sleeping space dark
  • Exercising in the day will help you sleep better at night
  • Turn off the television or computer. This can affect your body’s sleep rhythm

Regular exercise and eating well can help to keep your body and mind strong. Food is your body’s fuel and eating well is one way that you can look after your brain and improve your energy as well as how you are feeling.

Physical activity is important however, if you are not used to regular exercise, it may sound daunting. Getting into the habit of exercising for 15 minutes a day is a simple way to start, you can increase this to 30 minutes a day when you are ready. Walking, swimming, dancing, or joining a team sport are all great ways to increase your physical activity.

Here are a few other things you can do to help keep your physical health on track:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Reduce sugary and takeaway foods. Eat healthy foods such as plant foods. Refer to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Guide to Healthy Eating for more information.
  • Drink less alcohol or quit alcohol. This can improve your sleep and overall health.
  • Quit smoking
  • Learning and practicing meditation and deep breathing techniques can help with stress and worry.
  • See a health professional for regular health checks.
  • Get outside and reconnect to Country

For addition tips see the below video “MHT Top 5 Tips to support the wellbeing of yourself and others,” by Mental Health Talanoa.

Supporting another person

If you are not from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background but you are trying to support someone who is there are a few things you should consider.

  • Be respectful
  • Educate yourself about First Nations cultures. Listen to and learn from the voices of Elders or other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Consider the cultural appropriateness of services
  • Speak up. If you see or hear discriminatory behaviour, call it for what it is. Speak up and challenge the racist talk and stereotypes

If you feeling worried about someone close to you it is important to talk to them. Let a family member, elder or someone who can help know that you are worried. Connect to a service such as 13 Yarn on 13 92 76 or call “000” in an emergency.

How we can help

If you or someone you know is in crisis

If you are worried you may harm yourself or someone else, or need immediate help for someone else in this situation:

Please call 000

If you are in distress

Other helplines

Please select a state you live in

Suicide Call Back Service. Free professional telephone counselling & online chat available at suicidecallbackservice.org.au

Available 24/7

1800RESPECT Domestic Violence Counselling & Support Line. Online Chat at 1800respect.org.au or SMS on 0458 737 732

Available 24/7

13YARN First Nations Peoples Crisis Support Line. Call to talk with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Crisis Supporter

Available 24/7

Defence All Hours Telephone Support Line. For Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families

Available 24/7

MensLine Australia. Phone and online counselling - mensline.org.au

Available 24/7

Access Mental Health Line. For people who have concerns about their own, or someone else’s mental health

Available 24/7

Canberra Head to Health Centre. Connecting people 18 and over with the right mental health care services. Phone, or request a call at canberraheadtohealth.com.au

Hours vary

NSW Hospital and Health Services State-wide Mental Health Line. Speak to a trained Mental Health Professional

Available 24/7

Penrith Head to Health

From 1pm

NT Mental Health Line. For people who have concerns about their own, or someone else’s mental health. Speak to a trained mental health professional.

Available 24/7

Darwin Head To Health

Mon to Fri 10 am -10 pm. Weekends 12 pm to 8 pm

Health Direct

Available 24/7

1300 MH Call

Available 24/7

Townsville Head to Health

Weekdays 10am -10pm and Weekends 12pm -10pm

SA Mental Health Triage

Available 24/7

Urgent Mental Health Care Centre (UMHCC)

Available 24/7

Access Mental Health- Helpline Triage

9am - 10pm

Launceston Head to Health

9sm – 5pm Monday to Friday

NURSE-ON-CALL

Available 24/7

Victoria Psychiatric Triage

Available 24/7

Geelong Head to Health

Mon to Fri 9am–9pm. Weekends and Public Holidays 1pm – 6pm

Rurallink -Mental Health Emergency Response Line

Weeknights 4:30pm-8:30pm / 24hrs on Weekends and Public Holidays

Peel -Mental Health Emergency Response Line

Available 24/7

TTY - Mental Health Emergency Response Line

Available 24/7

Metro - Mental Health Emergency Response Line

Available 24/7

Perth Midland head to health

10am - 8pm

Please select a state you live in
Service Options
Quick Escape