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Tackling stereotypes to reduce stigma

The Commission is researching the impact of stigma and discrimination related to problematic alcohol and other drug use on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, families and individuals.

The project recognises that a larger proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people do not drink alcohol. It will also explore the negative stereotypes that affect the social and emotional wellbeing of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

What we know

Many studies report a strong association between experiences of discrimination and ill-health and psychological distress, mental health conditions, and risk behaviours, such as substance use.

National data from the AIHW National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2013 shows that of those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who did drink alcohol, did so at risky levels. Yet, the data also shows that a higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people do not drink alcohol compared with non-Indigenous people.

We also know from Changing attitudes, changing lives, a report into the experiences of people living with problematic alcohol or other drug use that stigma and discrimination is experienced in many ways. It can act as a barrier to seeking and receiving help and be a hindrance to recovery.

Project objectives

The project report will help to inform and develop activities to:

  • reduce racism against Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • improve access to support services and to support recovery for those who are experiencing problematic alcohol and other drug use
  • improve social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.

The project is due for completion in 2020. Research findings will be considered by the Project Steering Group and further consultation will occur with agencies to confirm the options for reform.

Project governance

Consultants ACIL Allen will be partnering with The Seedling Group to conduct the research on the Commission’s behalf. A representative steering group has also been appointed to oversee the research project and will include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation.

Background

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan  aims to improve social and emotional wellbeing and was released by the Queensland Government in 2016.

During consultation for the Action Plan, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders raised the profound impact that racism, discrimination and negative stereotypes has on their social and emotional wellbeing, affecting their sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

This research project is an initiative of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan (Action 6).