"Those young people all crankybella": Indigenous youth mental health and globalization

Richard Chenhall, Kate Senior

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The subject of mental health has been discussed for some time in the literature on Australian Aboriginal peoples, although the volume of this work has been relatively small. This literature can be separated into two main approaches. The first has been concerned with documenting and analyzing disorders that are culturally specific to a particular group. The second, more recent body of literature understands mental health issues as resulting from a combination of factors related to the effects of colonization, such as loss of land, poverty, and the destruction of families. This literature is often aimed at diagnosis and the provision of appropriate services for Indigenous people without a comprehensive ethnographic understanding of the cultural specificities of certain mental health disorders. Although mental health problems are discussed, such as suicide, depression, and anxiety, little analysis is undertaken of how such states are locally experienced and understood. This paper reports the complexities involved in understanding mental health from the perspective of youth in a remote Aboriginal community in northern Australia. We argue that it is necessary to understand mental health within the broader context of the lives of Indigenous youth and, in particular, the interaction between their marginalization from participating in the opportunities that globalization offers with issues related to poverty, substance misuse, and specific cultural beliefs. � 2009 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-43
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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