First Nations Features: Reece Lancaster

Name: Dr Reece Lancaster

Your Mob: Bundjalung & European ancestry

Occupation/Role:

Addiction Psychiatry Advanced Trainee, Monash Health

Chair, First Peoples’ Health and Wellbeing

Adjunct Lecturer, FMNHS, Monash University


Why did you choose Psychiatry?

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are natural story tellers, having honed this skill over 60,000 years. Each patient I see has their own unique story to tell and I enjoy listening to it.


Did anyone inspire you? Do you have any role models?

I’m not looking for any rewards by saying this, but my current boss, Dr David Jacka (Unit Head of Addiction Medicine at Monash Health) is a pretty awe inspiring individual. His vigour and passion for holistic medicine is refreshing.


What do you believe are the major health issues facing Indigenous Australians currently?

There is a symbiotic relationship between the paradigms of physical and mental health. One cannot exist without the other. Our People experience disproportionately poor health outcomes as a consequence of transgenerational trauma. With a biased lens given my specialty interests, this can result in feelings of loss, displacement and dispossession. It is therefore easy to see why such high rates of depression, anxiety, suicide and substance use occur.


What do you believe are some of the biggest barriers to closing the gap?

Stigma together with lower access to quality education and healthcare services.


Do you have any words of advice for aspiring health professionals?

Don’t be afraid to draw upon the strength of the people around you. No matter how hard things get, you are never alone.