How Can Country, Spirituality, Music and Arts Contribute to Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing?


Australasian Psychiatry




Objective: Mental health and social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) have been linked as outcomes of attachment to country, spirituality, and engagement in music and arts, particularly for Indigenous Australians. It is not clear how this occurs, even though the links seem substantial. Method: We explore how mental health and SEWB may be linked to attachment to country, spirituality, and engagement in music and arts by reviewing literature and presenting examples from our research with Indigenous communities. Rather than abstracting, our goal is to describe specific examples encompassing the rich contextual details needed to understand the factors contributing to mental health and SEWB. Results: While engagement in music is often seen as benefiting mental health because thoughts and feelings can be expressed in less public ways, it can also lead to employment and access to economic and social resources. Attachment to country also shows a plethora of positive outcomes which can contribute to mental health and SEWB even when not explicitly aimed at doing so, such as reducing conflictual situations. Conclusions: We conclude that more detailed, contextual research is required to fully explore the links between creative enterprises and mental health and SEWB outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Emotional Functioning; Mental Health; Psychological Outcomes; Recreative Music Methods; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

attachment to country; spirituality; engagement in music & arts; indigenous populations; mental health; social & emotional well being; Art; Australia; Creativity; Models, Psychological; Oceanic Ancestry Group; Personal Satisfaction; Arts; Well Being; Countries; Participation; Psychosocial Factors

Study Type

Editorials, Opinions, Position Papers

Document Type