The project was a collaborative effort between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous investigators, including:
- Professor James Smith
- Mr Jason Bonson - Northern Territory Department of Health
- Dr Mick Adams, Edith Cowan University
- Professor Barry Judd, Charles Darwin University
- Professor Richard Osborne, Swinburne University of Technology
- Mr Ben Christie, Menzies School of Health Research
- Mr Jesse Fleay, Edith Cowan University
- Mr David Aanundsen, Fred Hollows Foundation
Supporting institutions included:
- Katherine Flexible Learning and Engagement Centre
- Nightcliff Dragons Development Academy ( Nightcliff Dragons Rugby League Club)
- Venndale Rehabilitation Centre
- Clontarf Foundation ( Katherine & Sanderson)
- East Arnhem Regional Council (Youth Drop-In Centre)
Professor James Smith discusses the importance of investing in men's health, particularly for vulnerable groups.
The aim of this study was to understand the interplay between health literacy, gender and cultural identity among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males living in the Northern Territory.
- To understand how young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males conceptualise health literacy in their day-to-day lives
- To identify the intersections between health literacy, masculinities and cultural identity among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males and how these can shape positive life aspirations
- To identify strategies for strengthening health, sport and recreation, education, justice, employment and community service programs and policies that support young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males to fulfil their life aspirations
- To test the cultural relevance and applicability of validated health literacy tools for use among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males.
Health literacy and gender are increasingly seen as critical social determinants of health impacting on the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They are repeatedly mentioned in health-related policies and strategies at state, territory and national levels. Yet, very little is known about how these concepts shape the identities and life aspirations of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males.
This study involved working collaboratively with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males from the Northern Territory aged 14–25 years in partnership with local organisations delivering programs to this cohort. It used surveys, yarning sessions and photo-voice methods to address the aim and objectives listed above.
Implications for policy and practice:
This research has provided a strong foundation for developing practical strategies for improving programs and policies targeting young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males in health, sport and recreation, education, justice, employment and community services contexts.
Our Research has found:
The research has resulted in a deeper understanding of the interplay between health literacy, masculinities and cultural identity among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males living in the Northern Territory. The following themes emerged throughout the study:
- Navigating Western concepts of health (particularly physical health and mental health)
- Prioritising cultural concepts of health (including ‘staying strong’, doing things ‘right way’ and staying connected with country)
- Focused attention on social determinants of health (particularly employment, education detention and racism)
- Strength in family connections
- Relationships with friends and mates
- Ben Christie - Email
- July 2018-June 2019
Investing in men’s health in Australia James A Smith, Mick Adams and Jason Bonson. Med J Aust 2018; 208 (1) || doi: 10.5694/mja17.00173