MRFF Million Minds project - Bringing family, community, culture and country to indigenous youth mental health care

Project Details

The high burden of mental health issues experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Aboriginal) young people (10 – 24 years) is a national emergency, yet evidence for effective health sector responses is limited, as is an understanding of self-harm and suicide outcomes.

Aboriginal young people report barriers to health care access including knowing where to find services that are culturally appropriate, and parents and Aboriginal health services express concern about low engagement of their young people with needed mental health care. The significant contribution of life stressors to mental health issues suggests a response that sits within the health sector alone is unlikely to be effective.

Integrated approaches across health, education and welfare are indicated with primary care being a universally available entry point. It is also known that cultural continuity is central to Aboriginal wellbeing yet evidence for the potential of connecting to culture and integrating Indigenous knowledge into mainstream management of adolescent mental health issues is limited.

Our program will address these evidence gaps by working with Aboriginal young people, their families, community and health services to achieve innovative co-produced research, capacity building, and translation of outcomes to change health practice and policy.  Over 5 years we will work with our Aboriginal partners in Western Australia and Victoria to produce evidence of: impact on mental health and wellbeing of a primary care health assessment and service navigation model of care, and of an intervention connecting to culture and country to augment routine mental health care; self-harm/suicide risk factors and clustering; Aboriginal university student wellbeing and preventive care options; translation into policy and practice; training future Aboriginal mental health and wellbeing research and health care leaders; economic impact and a quality of life instrument for Aboriginal youth.


Professor Sandra Eades - Indigenous Epidemiology and Health Unit Head


Dr Janet McGaw

Professor George Patton

Professor Lena Sanci

Associate Professor Alasdair Vance

Professor Shaun Ewen

Professor Jane Pirkis


Million Minds Mission funding [GNT 1179461 2019-2023] Bringing family, community, culture and country to the centre of health care: culturally appropriate models for improving mental health and wellbeing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

Research Group

Indigenous Epidemiology and Health

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (including cancer), and promotion of mental health

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics

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