Connection to… addressing digital inequities in supporting the well-being of young indigenous australians in the wake of covid-19

Roz Walker, Kim Usher, Debra Jackson, Corinne Reid, Katrina Hopkins, Carrington Shepherd, Reakeeta Smallwood, Rhonda Marriott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

(1) Background: This article examines whether connection to digital technologies helps con-nect young Indigenous people in Australia to culture, community and country to support good mental health and well-being and protect against indirect and potentially long-term effects of COVID-19. (2) Method: We reviewed literature published between February and November 2020 and policy responses related to digital strategies. We searched PubMed, Google Scholar, government policy websites and key Indigenous literature sources, identifying 3460 articles. Of these, 30 articles and 26 policy documents were included and analysed to identify existing and expected mental health outcomes among Indigenous young people associated with COVID-19 and more broadly. (3) Results: There are inequities in affordable access to digital technologies. Only 63% of Indigenous people have access to internet at home. Digital technologies and social media contribute to strong cultural identity, enhance connections to community and country and improve mental health and social and emotional well-being outcomes. (4) Discussion: Access to digital technologies can facilitate healing and cultural continuity, self-determination and empowerment for young people to thrive, not just survive, in the future. (5) Conclusion: More targeted policies and funding is urgently needed to promote digital technologies to enhance Indigenous young people’s access to mental health and well-being services, maintain cultural connections and evaluate the effectiveness of these initiatives using Indigenous well-being indicators.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2141
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2021

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