NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

Mind, body, spirit: co-benefits for mental health from climate change adaptation and caring for country in remote Aboriginal Australian communities

Helen L. Berry, James R. A. Butler, C. Paul Burgess, Ursula G. King, Komla Tsey, Yvonne L. Cadet-James, C. Wayne Rigby, Beverley Raphael

New South Wales Public Health Bulletin 21(6) 139–145 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/NB10030 Published online: 16 July 2010

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About the author/s

Helen L. Berry

James R. A. Butler

C. Paul Burgess

Ursula G. King

Komla Tsey

Yvonne L. Cadet-James

C. Wayne Rigby

Beverley Raphael


The evident and unresolved health disparity between Aboriginal and other Australians is testament to a history of systematic disenfranchisement. Stigma, lack of appropriate services and the expense of delivering services in remote settings make it impossible to adequately address mental health needs, including suicide, solely using a mainstream medical approach. Nor do mainstream approaches accommodate the relationship between Aboriginal health and connectedness to land, whether traditional or new land, remote or metropolitan. This review describes how caring-for-country projects on traditional lands in remote locations may provide a novel way to achieve the linked goals of climate change adaptation with co-benefits for social and emotional wellbeing.