“Ngany Kamam, I Speak Truly”: First-Person Accounts of Aboriginal Youth Voices in Mental Health Service Reform

Hunter Culbong, Ashton Ramirez-Watkins, Shae Anderson, Tiana Culbong, Nikayla Crisp, Glenn Pearson, Ashleigh Lin, Michael Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Aboriginal young people are experts in their own experience and are best placed to identify the solutions to their mental health and wellbeing needs. Given that Aboriginal young people experience high rates of mental health concerns and are less likely than non-Indigenous young people to access mental health services, co-design and evaluation of appropriate mental health care is a priority. Increasing Aboriginal young people’s participation in mental health service reform is key to ensuring services are culturally secure, relevant and accessible. This paper presents first-person accounts from three Aboriginal young people who worked alongside their Elders and in a positive and constructive partnership with mainstream mental health services on a three-year participatory action research project in Perth, Western Australia, in Whadjuk Nyoongar boodja (Country). The young people recount their experiences as participants and co-researchers on a systems change mental health research project and share their views on the importance of privileging Aboriginal youth voices. Their accounts highlight that Aboriginal young people’s participation and leadership must be understood through a decolonising lens and that working in genuine partnership with the community is key to increasing their contact and engagement with mental health care and improving mental health and wellbeing outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6019
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


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