Mental health is an important factor in all cultures around the world. Many psychology professionals in Australia have conducted various studies to explain the association of mental health issues with socio-cultural and other environmental factors found in Australia. In particular, the researchers mainly conducted the studies among indigenous Australians. In the studies, the indigenous people referred to Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginals. They then compared the results to those from non-indigenous Australian inhabitants who refer to the people of other Western origins and other cultures living in the country. Most of the studies used factors such as cultural backgrounds, substance abuse, alcohol dependence, inhalation of gasoline and it byproduct, and geographical locations of the group among others. The studies aimed to explain how these factors affected mental functions of indigenous Australians. Some of the studies found that there is an adequate correlation between such factors as alcohol consumption and socio-cultural background in the mental health capacities of indigenous Australians and had proper have an appropriate base for validating these finding (Stewart, Cvetkovski, Bourchier, & Form, 2012). Therefore, this paper is an analysis of the existing literature to evaluate the studies that suggest that results from standard intellectual and cognitive assessments may not be accurate for some cultural groups, such as Indigenous Australians.
Various factors affect mental health capacities of different people around the world. On the same note, various socio-cultural factors may also affect mental health functions of a given group of people. Research studies by different psychologist have stated that many indigenous Australians have notable mental health issues that relate to their cultural, historical, and social factors. For example, a study by Cairney and Dingwall (2010) states that sociocultural and historical problems have poorly affected the mental health of native Australians. The study also states that the poor issue of mental health among aboriginals in Australia is further affected by manifestations, conceptualizations, and inadequate definitions of mental health issues in the nation. Similarly, the study also shows that the negative impacts on mental health among indigenous Australians is poorly understood by the community.
Lack of proper understanding of mental health issues among Australian-born inhabitants also means that there are no adequate measures of helping the occupants deal with mental health problems (Holland, Milroy, & Dudgeon, 2013). Similarly, the finding also means that the people do not receive effective mental health services that can help them deal with poor mental health issues. The other reason why Aboriginal Australians suffer acute mental health problems is because the health providers have not come up with adequate practical procedures to help the locals deal with such issues despite existing knowledge of poor mental health issues among the group. Further results show that the life expectancy of indigenous Australians is reduced by 17% due to poor physical health. This group of people experiences poor physical health issues such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, kidney problems, respiratory issues such as asthma among other ill health problems compared to other groups of people in the country. It is worth noting that poor physical health is directly related to mental health problems. For example, those who suffer acute physical health problems are highly likely to develop mental health issues such as depressions, anxiety, stress, and suicide (Holland et al 2013).
Similarly, ill health among adults leads to new born babies with low birth weights, poor brain and physical development that also impacts the nature of poor mental health among aboriginalAustralians. On the same note, the people suffer from high mental ill health depression with arises from extremely poor physical health conditions. Children born with low birth weights also suffer from lack of well-developed organs such as the brain, kidney, and lungs. The common knowledge is that any child born with a poorly developed brain will suffer severe mental health problems as they grow into adulthood. The geographical, social, and cultural factors of how native Australian people view mental health plays a significant role in the existence of mental health illnesses in the country (Dockery, 2010). Further research has shown that the geographical locations where most indigenous Australians reside also subject them to environmental factors that negatively affect their mental health. The existence of petroleum and its products is one example of such conditions. Some regions are sites of activities such as mining. The geographical locations which are mostly inhabited by native people lead to the production of waste products such as lead and other heavy metal products which negatively affect brain functions. The aboriginal people who live in such areas have a high tendency of contracting brain damages caused by inhaling or even consuming such substances unknowingly. Once consumed, the substances get to the brain and lead to cognitive impairment and degeneration of brain tissues which also leads to brain damages. Therefore, the substances worsen mental ill health among the original groups of people in Australia.
Research studies have indicated that poor mental health problems among indigenous Australians can be categorised as ill health depression and psychological distress. Similarly, further research studies indicate that over dependence on factors such as alcohol, drugs, and substance abuse among indigenous Australians is another major factor that negatively affect their mental health capacities (Maruff, Jaragba, Clough, & Cairney, 2007). The results from this study also indicate that those who engage in the heavy episodic use of alcohol also suffer major mental issues like memory loss. In fact, research shows that the native people also suffer adverse mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia which contribute to 75% of mental health problems among the group. Other research studies have indicated that severe use of alcohol or chronic alcoholism also leads to other neurological problems such as Wernick's and Kosakorff syndrome. The people who frequently consume alcohol also suffer from neurological problems such as alcoholic dementia, cerebral degeneration, and polyneuropathy disorders among others.
Another problem that leads to mental ill health among indigenous Australian is petrol sniffing. Some people engage in this activity willingly while others participate in such activities due to their working conditions. The study by Cairney, Maruff, Lewia, and Dingwall (2010) indicate that the entire world experiences the problem of volatile substance abuse. However, huffing, gasoline inhalation, or sniffing of petroleum is an act that occurs commonly among disadvantaged groups in Australia. Similarly, the experience of huffing is prevalent among many indigenous groups of Australian descent. Sniffing petroleum and other volatile products has become the main cause of brain injuries among the Anangu Pitjantjatjara community found in Soth Australia. Apart from causing brain damage, inhaling petroleum and its byproducts also lead to adverse mental health problems such as cognitive impairment and-and memory loses among the indigenous people of Australia (Ring, Calma, Shepherd, Scrine, Walker, & Dudgeon, 2014)
The provided examples from adequate literature materials indicate that many indigenous Australians suffer various types of mental illnesses based on factors such as social and culturally problems. The studies have also shown that the aboriginals also suffer mental ill health issues based on other factors such as sniffing volatile petroleum products, chronic use of alcohol, and lack of adequate procedures to help solve known mental problems among the people. It is important to report that most of the findings provide solid evidence that the studies efficiently explain the existence of poor mental health problems among native Australians. Another important factor that leads to poor mental and cognitive health among indigenous Australians is the poor economic status that some people in selected regions face. Going by these examples, it is safe to say that the existing evidence of poor mental health from existing literature on mental health and cognitive problem adequately applies to indigenous Australians.
Many people around the world experience mental health problems. Research results have indicated that the cognitive assessment test used by various professionals indicate that the indigenous people of Australia suffer various mental ill health problem. Different researchers reported that this group of people had experienced poor mental health issues for along time. In fact, the neurological problems experienced by this group plays a role in reducing their life expectancy rates by 17%. Some of the mental health problems experienced by this group include depression, anxiety, memory loss, brian degeneration, neurological syndrome, and schizophrenia among others. The native Australians experience these issues based on factors such as geographical locations, economic factors, lack of adequate medical procedures to help deal with mental health issues, historical and sociocultural problems. It is, therefore, important to confirm that the existing results from cognitive and standard intellectual assessments methods are accurate for a cultural group such as Indigenous Australians.
Cairney, S., & Dingwall, K. (2010). Psychological and cognitive assessment of Indigenous Australians. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 20-30.
Cairney, S., Maruff, F., Lewia, M., & Dingwall, K. (2010). Assessing cognition following petrol sniffing for Indigenous Australians. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 631639.
Dockery, A. (2010). Culture and Wellbeing: The Case of Indigenous Australians. Springer Science.
Holland, C., Milroy, H., & Dudgeon, P. (2013). The Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Families and Communities. 1-45.
Maruff, P., Jaragba, M., Clough, A., & Cairney, S. (2007). Cognitive impairment in Aboriginal people with heavy episodic patterns of alcohol use. 910-917.
Ring, I., Calma, T., Shepherd, C., Scrine, C., Walker, R., & Dudgeon, P. (2014). Effective strategies to strengthen the mental health and wellbeing of the Aboriginal and Torres Stair Islander people. Journal of family studies, 2-72.
Stewart, G., Cvetkovski, S., Bourchier, S., & Form, A. (2012). Mental health of Indigenous Australians: a review of findings from community surveys. Medical Journal of Australia.
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