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Psychological distress in carers of Aboriginal children in urban New South Wales: findings from SEARCH (phase one)

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The known  Aboriginal children are at increased risk of mental health problems. The mental health of parents affects that of their children.

The new  Psychological distress was common in parents and carers of Aboriginal children participating in SEARCH, and was associated with functional limitations, previous treatment for mental health problems, and low social connectedness.

The implications  Carers with functional limitations or a history of treatment for mental health problems may require additional mental health support. Providing adequate mental health services and the funding and promoting of programs and activities that increase social connectedness should remain focuses for ACCHSs and policymakers.

Parents and carers play a critical role in the social and emotional wellbeing of their children. A link between parental and child mental health has been firmly established in the mainstream literature,13 but remains largely unstudied in Aboriginal health. Emerging evidence from phase one of the Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH), however, indicates that children with carers who are not psychologically distressed have significantly better chances of enjoying…