Racial Stress Resources

There is an increasing body of evidence that outlines the impact of racism on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.

Racism has harmful impacts on individual wellbeing and the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities. This can include feelings of shame, isolation and anger, which can lead to a lack of sleep, increased anxiety and depression. Being trauma aware, healing informed looks like individuals taking every opportunity to ground themselves with knowledge and understanding, rather than fear and confusion.

A diverse range of resources and actions are needed to combat racism. Having accessible information on ways individuals, families and communities can take care of their social and emotional wellbeing and look out for others is key.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people connection to culture, Country, community, kin and family are critical to wellness. There are ways that can help keep spirits strong, and families and communities supported during times of increased racism stress and experiences.

These include:

  • Stay connected. It is normal to experience feelings of increased isolation as a symptom of racial stress. Participating in social activities with family and friends and talking with people can help.
  • Culture is strength. Practicing culture through activities like connecting to Country and/or creating art through drawing, painting or writing are powerful ways that First Nations people can process experiences and feelings in a safe environment and find strength when reserves are running low.
  • Speak your truth. It is important that people don’t feel obligated to contribute to a conversation if the content is stressful, distressing or harmful to them.
  • Healthy self-care. Eating well and exercising are important ways of keeping minds and bodies strong. This can include going for a walk with a friend, cooking a favourite family meal, or learning to cook a new meal, or organising social catch ups – these are all activities that can help keep individuals, families and communities strong in times of increased stress.
  • Be mindful. Implementing mindfulness and meditation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and awareness techniques can help manage stress responses and help people stay grounded.
  • Know that it is ok to walk away from unsafe situations or turn off social media platforms.

Key facts provided by The Healing Foundation

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