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Strong Spirit Strong Mind

Mental Health

Social and emotional wellbeing
What is Social and Emotional Wellbeing?

Social and Emotional Wellbeing:

Due to the diversity of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the concept of mental health is very complex.

The term social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) is the preferred term as it refers to the physical wellbeing of the individual and also the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the whole community.

This definition recognises the importance of connection to land, culture, spirituality, ancestry, family and community.


Inner Spirit Model

Aboriginal Inner Spirit Model:

Our inner spirit is the centre of our being and emotions.

When our spirit feels strong our mind feels strong.

When our spirit feels tangled our mind feels tangled.

Strong inner spirit is what keeps people healthy and keeps them connected together.

Strong inner spirit keeps our family strong, our community strong and our country alive.


It is really important that we take care of ourselves so we can look after our families and communities.

Think about some things that you can do that help you to relax, improve your wellbeing or may help reduce your stress.
These could include:

  • go for a walk
  • spend time with your pets
  • have a full health check/assessment
  • talk to someone that you can trust
  • read a book
  • get a good night's sleep
  • maintain a healthy diet
  • exercise regularly
  • have a cup of tea or a glass of water in a quiet place
  • listen to your favourite music
  • do some painting
  • have a warm bath
  • get a massage
  • ask for help - it's ok to ask for help from family, friends, your doctor or a counsellor
  • go back to country
  • join a women or men's group
  • go fishing or camping
  • get some financial advice
  • call a helpline

Some signs or symptoms of mental health issues:

  • no longer enjoying things you used to love
  • having trouble sleeping
  • spending lots of time on your own
  • finding it hard to think or concentrate
  • feeling sad most of the time
  • using alcohol or other drugs more often to cope

Factors that may impact on your social and emotional wellbeing include:

  • grief and loss
  • impacts of the Stolen Generations and removal of children
  • unresolved trauma
  • separation from culture and identity issues
  • discrimination/racism
  • economic and social disadvantage - homelessness, unemployment, level of education
  • physical health problems
  • incarceration
  • violence
  • substance misuse
  • relationship/family breakdown
  • losing your job
  • family history of mental health diagnosis
Yarning about your SEWB

If you are thinking about improving your mental health, you might need some further support or information.
Sometimes people don't get help because they feel shame talking about their wellbeing.
This can be a difficult time, but your family, friends and other people in your community can help you.
You can also speak to your local doctor, a psychologist or counsellor or another health professional.