Aboriginal Healing, Sharing Culture
'What Aboriginal people experience: Issues around mental health and mental health services' by Professor Helen Milroy
Wonderful talk, full of key insights! We need to listen!!
A very helpful description of what social and emotional wellbeing means to Indigenous people. If non-Indigenous people are going to help Indigenous people, then they must understand this 'model' of wellbeing.
In fact, this model needs to be incorporated into mainstream health systems. We have a lot to learn from Indigenous peoples!
Thanks Clinton for a great presentation. I'm glad I've just found your talk on Youtube.
Choreographed by Bagarrmuguwarra and Kuku Yalanji artist Tamara Pearson, this performance entranced the audience at the Pormpuraaw Youth Summit. These soulful dancers include Shellie Bingarape, Nancy Cook and Johnno Nandy.
Pormpuraaw has taken positive steps to help their youth take control of their lives with a huge summit going ahead from 22-26 September, 2014 on the tiny community - see http://pormpurpaanthu.com.au/ for more information!
I believe passionately that our systems of care for mental health and addiction are broken and need transformation. Sadly, the same systems of care are generally resistant to change.
The situation continues to get worse for two primary reasons. Firstly, the negative consequences of modernity include an increase in emotional distress, disconnectedness, social isolation and addictions of various kinds. Ever increasing numbers of people are looking for help.
Secondly, the poor outcomes of our mental health and addiction care systems are leading to disempowerment and lack of hope, which in turn further increase the problems described above. Moreover, people seeking help are often blamed for not getting better, rather than the system accept its own shortcomings.
We have the knowledge to do so very much better. Sadly, those of us who are trying to transform these systems so that more people get better often bang our head against a brick wall. Vested interests play an important role in underlying this resistance to change.
During the past years, I have highlighted and promoted key work that is helping to create change… and can provide the foundation for transformation of our systems of care.
I will continue to do so as I continue to dream about a better future.
Here’s a talk from a real visionary, Dr David Reilly. I loved this talk!
Here are three quotes which are well worth bearing in mind – in fact, they are key for a future transformation. (The part related to these quotes starts around 22 minutes into the film)
“We need to move from Evidence Based Medicine to Practice Based Evidence” John Gillies, President of General Practitioners, Scotland
“The currency unit is individual stories. Random samples of patient experience is the true test.”
“Sometimes evidence, always based on experience, and underpinned by values” Graham Watt, Professor of General Practice, University of Glasgow
Last week, I talked about asset-based community development (ABCD) as an important tool for building community. Here is a video about ABCD from one of the originators of this approach.
‘In his forty years working with impoverished American communities, John McKnight witnessed incredible social change at the grassroots.
He discovered that the majority of the solutions to issues like unwanted teenage pregnancy and crime depended on empowering local citizens and building relationships at the community level.
Although social innovations disrupt the status quo in boundary-breaking and sector-spanning ways, change begins with the individual and their surrounding network.’
Angelina and Salome both share a passion for keeping the Marra language of Ngukurr alive and well. For Angelina, it's about connecting to her grandmother and her heritage, while Salome finds joy in maintaining diverse thought systems through her language work.
These interviews were recorded as part of a national Search and Rescue Workshop for Indigenous languages at the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE) in conjunction with the Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics (CALL collection) and the Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages (LAAL project).
This video was made as part of ABC Open's Mother Tongue Project.
Please set aside 40 minutes of your time and watch this stunning talk. It left me with tears in my eyes at several times during the talk. How can this country do so little to tackle these problems? We have the knowledge to make a huge difference… where is our commitment?
If I had a magic wand, I'd clone 100 Judy Atkinsons. No, 1,000!
Please watch, Start: 31'15" ---> Finish: 42'20"
I’d like to devote a few blogs to a thought-provoking talk by Dr Joe Solanto. Joe is an inspirational White Canadian who has real insights into indigenous healing.
In this talk, Joe points out that he was asked by the conference organisers to look at ‘Understanding and Assessing the Challenges in Aboriginal Communities’.
He emphasises that we cannot do this without talking about all people in Canada. All Canadians need to be involved in helping indigenous people improve their health and wellbeing. The same is the case in other countries where indigenous peoples have been colonised.
We all have a part to play, if only (for some people) in understanding the true history of our country and the impact it has had on indigenous peoples. Without that understanding, non-indigenous peoples will continue to place barriers to healing in front of indigenous peoples.
The part of Joe’s talk that I highlight (Start: 31’15”, End: 42’20”) looks at the consequences of intergenerational trauma and the alternative ways that we as a society can tackle these issues.
Here’s an article on asset-based community development (ABCD) which I wrote for the Kinship Connections WA website. This approach can facilitate healing in a community.
‘“Mental health is not a product of pharmacology or a service that can be singularly provided by an institution: it is a condition that is more determined by our community assets than our medication or access to professional interventions more generally. There are functions that only people living in families and communities can perform to promote mental health and wellbeing, and if they do not do those things; they will not get done, since, there simply is no substitute for genuine citizen-led community care (not to be confused with volunteer mentoring schemes).” Cormac Russell
There are two alternative ways to build a community in a neighborhood.
Firstly, we can focus on a community’s needs, deficiencies and problems. This is the most common approach that is used, but it has a number of serious problems.
The images it creates are overwhelmingly negative. It leads to the development of deficiency-oriented policies and programs. Public, private and non-profit service systems develop and they ‘teach’ people the nature of their problems and the services they need.
Community members come to see that their well-being depends on becoming a client. They begin to see themselves as people with special needs that can only be met by outsiders. They become consumers of services, with no incentive to become productive. They become disempowered.
The alternative path to community development focuses on a community’s assets, capacities and abilities. Historic evidence indicates that significant community development takes places only when local community people are committed to investing in themselves and their resources. Communities are built bottom-up, not top-down.
Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD)
In the ABCD approach, connections between local people are what awaken the power of families and neighborhoods to weave the social fabric of an abundant and competent community. These communities have three major properties:
The community boasts a unique combination of assets upon which to build its future. A map of these assets begins with an inventory of the gifts, skills and capacities of the community’s residents.
Everyone has a gift or skill to offer, even people who have been marginalised by society. For example, a homeless person with a mental health problem has survived great adversity – how have they survived such adversity? Someone who has overcome a serious substance use problem has much to teach someone less advanced in their healing journey.
In addition to mapping the gifts and skills of individuals and families, a community builder compiles an inventory of citizens’ associations. These association, less formal and much less dependent upon paid staff than are formal institutions, are the vehicle through which people have solved problems, or have shared common interests and activities. They are a powerful vehicle for the distribution and sharing of gifts and skills. Strong associations offer hospitality.
Beyond the individuals and associations that make up the asset base of communities are all the more formal institutions which are located in the community. One challenging aspect of mapping work in relation to institutions is to work out mechanisms that allow communities to influence and even control some aspects of the institution’s relationships with its local neighborhood.
This alternative model of community development is asset-based, internally focused and relationship driven. Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) is a major model that is being adopted worldwide with great success.'
An excellent short film on gratitude. Stunning photography, beautiful words.
A Moving Art original short. This inspirational video was well responded at TED conferences and filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg motivates those around him as happiness is revealed. Spoken word and music montage created and composed by Gary Malkin. Narration written and spoken by Brother David Steindl-Rast.
Professor David Clark is Founder of the Sharing Culture initiative.