This semester I have been undertaking an internship at an Indigenous community controlled not-for-profit and have found my personal ideas of health and wellbeing challenged.
This particular organisation specialises in issues of domestic violence, healing, trauma, mental health and drug and alcohol abuse. It is some pretty serious stuff but the work they do fills me with awe every day. Most of my work thus far has been behind a computer screen, tapping madly away at a keyboard with ideas for research projects and proposals. But listening to the chatter of the workers around me and reading about the organisation’s success stories has really made me feel a part of it all.
Last week I was assigned work concerning research around Indigenous mental health and wellbeing and the concept of social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB).
Social and Emotional Wellbeing is a holistic view of mental and physical health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It acknowledges the importance of connections to land and sea, culture and spirituality. It considers historical social, political, and cultural circumstances and how these might be impacting wellbeing today.
I think that this practice of considering embedded cultural nuances can be integrated successfully in so many formats. Holistic health and wellbeing measures should involve the natural environment, our communities, and identities and how we are interacting with them.
I am beginning to find this way of thinking to be incredibly beneficial in assessing my own health and wellbeing and what factors are influencing it. This experience truly highlighted for me the importance of considering alternative ways of knowing to the status quo.