Everyone has a role in supporting the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during periods of heightened tension and increased incidence of racism.
This responsibility is particularly pressing now and will continue beyond Referendum Day.
Non-indigenous people can take steps to raise awareness, reduce the burden on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, provide support, and call out racism.
Recent research from the National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing Research at ANU indicates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples may experience stress, burnout, increased racism and re-traumatisation. They may also feel pressure to educate non-Indigenous Australians about the Referendum.
The Centre has published a factsheet and links to relevant information and supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Key tips for non-Indigenous people include:
- Be aware that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are experiencing added stress, mental load and racism during this period.
- Educate yourself about the Referendum, to reduce the burden on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to provide this education. The official website explaining the Voice and the referendum is at voice.gov.au.
- Provide support to your Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander friends, family and colleagues.
- Take responsibility for reporting racism via the Call It Out First Nations Racism Register and other relevant avenues.
For more information, support and resources, see click or tap to expand the boxes below.
If you need help now, contact 13YARN (13 92 76). 13YARN offers a confidential one-on-one yarning opportunity with a Lifeline-trained Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Crisis Supporter who can provide crisis support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 13YARN empowers community with the opportunity to yarn without judgement and provide a culturally safe space to speak about their needs, worries or concerns.
Resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
NACCHO's Find an ACCHO Near You directory
eSafety Commission's First Nations resources to help be deadly online
13 YARN - 13 9276 (24 hours)
Brother to Brother - 1800 435 799 (24 hours)
Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800 or webchat (24 hours)
Resources for non-Indigenous people
Black Dog Institute's Respectful Referendum Guidelines
ANU's referendum mental health and wellbeing factsheet for non-Indigenous people
Australian Human Rights Commission's information about responding to racism
ANU's video on Ending Racism and how non-Indigenous people can help
Evolve Communities' guide to Reconciliation Beyond the Referendum
Resources for organisations
The Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership across all parts of the Australian mental health system
WellMob's resources on understanding the impact of colonisation when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
ANU's referendum mental health and wellbeing factsheet for organisations
ANU's referendum mental health and wellbeing factsheet for the education sector
ANU's organisational self-assessment tool on responding to racism