"That makes all the difference": Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health-seeking on social media

Bronwyn Carlson*, Ryan Frazer, Terri Farrelly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Issue Addressed: Little is known about the complex relationships between Australian Indigenous people's use of social media and “health-seeking” – seeking help for issues related to health and well-being. This paper has emerged from a broader sociological research project focusing on the help-seeking and help-giving practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on social media, specifically aiming to unlock its potential to create vital and creative connections between help-seekers and help-givers.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 52 Indigenous Facebook users from five sites across Australia.

Results: The use of grounded theory and Indigenous-centred methodologies for analysis showed clearly that users draw on the connections made possible through Facebook to health-seek. We identify five primary health-seeking strategies that differ in form, purpose and directness: soliciting health-related information, gaining emotional support, producing social health-seeking collectives, engaging in motivational and “eudaimonic” content, and connecting with formal health sources.

Conclusion: While far from being a panacea to health disparities, these findings show that Facebook does provide unique opportunities for many Indigenous help-seekers and help-givers in times of need.

So What?: Social media offers pathways for health-seeking both beyond and outside the dominant western biomedical models of public health promotion. These already-existing pathways should be considered by people working on social media public health promotion campaigns for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-531
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Issue number3
Early online date2 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • consumer health information
  • health
  • health-seeking
  • help-seeking
  • Indigenous populations
  • social media


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