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  • Sofia Jayne

Mental health through an ancient lens

How our Australian society can learn from Aboriginal methods of Dadirri.

In the Australian Aboriginal philosophy of approaching mental health, physical and mental health is not thought of as two categories, but instead as one entity of mind, body and spirit. Ngatjumay Noongar man Garry Sattell has worked with Aboriginal youth for over 20 years using the practice of Dadirri as one of many methods to improve mental health.

Dadirri (da-di-dee) is the word for the act of ancient deep listening through Dadirri meditations, a spiritual practice based on the teachings of Ngangiwumirr Elder Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr of the Daly River in the Northern Territory.

Sattell uses Dadirri to create a safe space where he engages youth in taboo conversations of mental health, sexual health and drug use. Sattell speaks of our need to turn off the ‘autopilot’ that has us driving through life without remembering how we got from here to there.

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