Can the Revival of Indigenous Languages Improve the Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People?

Leda Sivak, Seth Westhead, Emmalene Richards, Stephen Atkinson, Harold Dare, Jenna Richards, Ghil'ad Zuckermann, Alan Rosen, Graham Gee, Michael Wright, Ngiare Brown, Trevor Ritchie, Michael Walsh, Alex Brown

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The links between language loss and poor mental health have been demonstrated in many settings; however, little research has sought to identify the potential psychological benefits of language reclamation. To date there has been no systematic study of the impact of language revival on mental health and wellbeing. The revival of the Barngarla language on Eyre Peninsula, South Australia offers a unique opportunity to examine whether improvements in mental health and social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) can occur during and following the language reclamation process. This symposium began with Barngarla reflections on their experiences of language loss and revitalisation, followed by an outline of the linguistic program of revival/istics with Barngarla communities. An overview of the study design was then presented, followed by a discussion of how wellbeing might be measured in relation to Indigenous language revival.
JournalTheMHS e-Book of Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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