Indigenous experiences of mental health care and detention: A qualitative rural youth mental health research synthesis.

Poster A52, Thursday, October 20, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Rhonda Wilson1; 1Lecturer Mental Health Nursing, School of Health, University of New England, Armidale, Australia

The synthesis of two qualitative studies conducted in northern NSW, Australia that aimed to understand the barriers experienced by rural young people in accessing mental health services and to explore how young rural people with emerging mental health problems could be helped early to access mental health cares. Both studies included Aboriginal participants with experiences of locating or accessing youth mental health care. The Aboriginal stories contained in qualitative interview data, were extracted from the total data set of the studies, and further thematic analysis revealed a further finding about the mental health of rural Aboriginal young people. This new finding strengthened the recommendations arising from the main research and has clinical and practical implications for the improvement of early mental health care of young Aboriginal people. Additional finding: All Aboriginal participants (18% of total participants) in the research reported experiences of incarceration, detention and police involvement which was posed as an alternative to appropriate and timely mental health care provision. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in Australia makes up 3% of the total population. In studies approved by a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC), and where there is no exclusion of Indigenous participants, it is expected that a coincidental occurrence within the sample will be made up of Indigenous people. Qualitative researchers collect data from Indigenous people, and thus bear an ethical responsibility to ensure the data they collect is utilised fully, and ethically to benefit Indigenous people. A limitation of qualitative methods is that studies obtain small samples, resulting in very small numbers of Indigenous participants. The Indigenous voice, while included, does not always permeate the findings of these types of studies. The re-examination of data in programs of research (multiple studies) may illuminate new findings, while maintaining the rigors of ethical conduct of research, including anonymity. This paper explores the Aboriginal voices in a program of study and suggests that when a larger data set is extracted from a program of research, and explored, that additional findings are possible and these can be used to inform strategies for building and strengthening resilience among young rural Aboriginal people.

Topic Area: Ethical Issues

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