Date of Submission



One in five Australian women experience postnatal depression (PoND). However, there are no historical studies that investigate postnatal depression in Victorian Aboriginal communities. Although we know a great deal about postnatal depression – it is predominantly about non-Aboriginal women. We have not heard the voices of Aboriginal women from within the context of Australian colonisation particularly in relation to the history of the Stolen Generation. The early identification and design of care that is based on Aboriginal community values could improve early access and relevance of care during pregnancy and parenting for Aboriginals. The aim of this PhD study was to explore the experiences of Aboriginal women who had experienced postnatal depression. The focus of the study was on their unique PoND ‘journey’; the contextual influences that impacted on their lives at the time; the family and community reactions, and the enablers and barriers regarding health service provision and support. Fifteen recommendations were given to the researcher from the participants. They included recommendations in relation to advice given to women generally in overcoming the perceived stigma of having a mental illness; preventative measures such as the provision of relevant health education so as to enable community members to intervene early with support to affected families; health services attainment of a high standard of quality that is inclusive of culturally appropriate resources and programs, so that Aboriginal people feel ‘culturally safe’ to access and participate. Finally, the participants recommended that it was imperative that Victorian Government provide sufficient funding for Aboriginal communities in their endeavour toward self-determination and early intervention for women and families affected by that ‘Black Dog’ known as postnatal depression.


School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedicine

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


460 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Health Sciences


After 17/06/2019 contact author to access digital version.

Available for download on Monday, October 18, 2100