The first comprehensive national collection of resources to help prevent suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities was launched today by the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention at The University of Western Australia.
The suicide rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is twice that of other Australians. Among children and youth, the suicide rate is four times as high.
The online Manual of Resources in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention was developed to assist in preventing suicide. Intensive community consultation determined the need for the manual and informed its content.
Professor Pat Dudgeon, Director of the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention, said the manual would help communities and professionals quickly identify culturally responsive materials to support their work.
“We consulted with communities, clinicians and funders, and we also met with individuals and groups representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth, crisis support and post-vention,” Professor Dudgeon said.
“People told us they need help navigating the information that is out there on the internet, to know what is current, safe and relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. So we have curated the Manual as a one-stop hub to provide real, practical guidance to different user groups.
“The unacceptable rate of suicide in our communities is a consequence of colonisation, intergenerational trauma, continuing social disadvantage and systemic racism,” Professor Dudgeon said.
“By responding to the distinctive cultural and spiritual wellbeing needs of our people, and not just considering suicide a mental health issue, the resources in the Manual have the potential to save lives.”