In reality a person’s culture plays a key role in their way of understanding and talking about health or even ill-health. Culture also has a role in the way in which they go about looking for help from friends, family or professionals. Aboriginal people recognize mental health in a broader context of health and wellbeing. Their perception includes conceptions of social and expressive functioning. Sometimes, for that reason, indications of mental illness are interpreted within the communities of Aboriginals as part of a person’s spirit or personality, and not conceived as a form of treatable mental illness. (The MHFA Training & Research Program, ORYGEN Research Centre
The underlying causes of the physical and emotional ill-health prevalent in Aboriginal communities lay in the continuing social, political and economic disadvantage that Aboriginal people experience. Until this disadvantage is addressed through political and social change and community development initiatives, the disparities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal physical and mental health status will remain.
Saggers and Gray contend that: The ill-health of Aborigines is a consequence of the past policies and actions of colonial and Australian governments and their non-Aboriginal citizens. The high levels of ill-health among Aborigines are directly attributable to their dispossession, their marginalization, and the creation of their dependence on various government and welfare services.
Evidence can be found that the Australian legal system has a farsighted history of racism and xenophobia. The British legal system which was transported to Australia by Cook was intensely hierarchical and was separated along the lines of class, gender, race and ethnicity. This was well exemplified by the slender right to vote and also when the law announced itself to be "neutral" and "objective", racism and ethnocentrism were