Study: Mental Health Issues High Among Aboriginal Inmates

New research published in the Medical Journal of Australia recently, draws attention to the urgency to develop culturally relevant mental health services for indigenous Australians in custody according to

The study was conducted by the Queensland Forensic Mental Health Services and included 419 indigenous men and women within six high-security prisons and found that about 73 percent of the men and 86 percent of the women had a mental health disorder according to

Other findings within the study were that women were more than likely to report cases of anxiety, depressive or psychotic disorder. It also said that about half the women suffered from anxiety (compared to 20 percent for men); a third suffered from depressive disorders (11 percent men) and 23 percent had a psychotic disorder (eight percent men).

“We believe that an early intervention approach is essential. Many of the mental health issues that lead to incarceration need to be addressed during the formative years. As a result, many of the programs we are already funding for young Indigenous people are designed to build resilience and improve self esteem,” beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell said in the press release.

Beyondblue according to its website “is a national, independent, not-for-profit organization working to address issues associated with depression, anxiety and related disorders in Australia.”

“We recognize that mental health problems are more common and severe in indigenous Australians and we have already spent around $2.5 million on research into depression and anxiety in this population group. In November, we will be announcing more research grants totaling $1 million to fund research into how we can improve the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We recognize that this barely scratches the surface and much more work needs to be done to help these communities now,” she said.

As for the study released, it draws attention to the most common anxiety disorder for both sexes – post-traumatic stress, and the most prevalent depression disorder was major depression according to

The site quotes the Journal as stating, “These findings highlight a critical mental health need for these individuals, both in custody and during the transition back to their communities.”


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Study: Mental Health Issues High Among Aboriginal Inmates