IN NOVEMBER 2020, the long-awaited Productivity Commission Inquiry Report into Mental Health in Australia was released publicly. Among its many recommendations, it highlighted the concept that health is more than the absence of illness and that a holistic understanding of the social, political and economic impacts on people and communities plays a significant role in health (including mental health) outcomes. It also emphasised the need for greater attention on prevention and early intervention, making explicit reference to social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) in this role.
Little in the report is new to those working in health, and particularly to those working in Indigenous mental health spaces. Work by Pat Dudgeon, Maddie Boe and Roz Walker had been published in Research in Health Science earlier that year exploring the possibility of addressing inequities in Indigenous mental health and wellbeing through transformative and decolonising research and practice. This work called for exactly these same changes across the definitions, policies, service provision and education of health professionals, arguing for SEWB to become the foundational knowledge through which these analyses are conducted.
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