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 Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP) is developing the online Manual of Resources in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention.
The Manual will bring together existing and new resources into an integrated toolkit to support Indigenous community members, front-line workers, clinicians and funding organisations in preventing suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander COVID-19 working party was convened through the Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing Project at the University of Western Australia, to produce an independent report that addressed the specific mental health and social and emotional wellbeing needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia.
We are all responsible for shaping the world that our children are born into. The Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP) at the University of Western Australia stands with those protesting for justice worldwide and are committed to challenging all forms of racism and State violence.
We stand in solidarity and great sorrow for the death of George Floyd who was killed by police in Minneapolis on the 25 of May 2020. We also extend our heartfelt sympathy and respect to the family of David Dungay, an Aboriginal man who died while being restrained by five prison guards. We share the outrage and acknowledge the re-traumatisation felt by the families and communities of these men in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
The Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies), commissioned by the Centre for Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP) have developed evidenced-based Guidelines for best practice psychosocial assessment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people presenting to hospital with self-harm and suicidal thoughts (Guidelines) to improve the quality of care and outcomes for people presenting with suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
The 2nd National and World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conferences in Perth Western Australia in November 2018 brought together Indigenous Elders, policy makers, researchers and community members from around the world, who came together to recognise the impacts of colonisation, past policies and subsequent trauma, disadvantage, marginalisation, lack of action by governments on Indigenous issues and the need for self-determined culturally responsive healing and recovery programs for suicide prevention.
Indigenous suicide is a global concern. The 2nd National and World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conferences in Perth WA in November 2018 brought together Indigenous peoples from Australia, Canada, United States of America and New Zealand. The Conference Report, released today, confirms the urgent need for action in colonised countries throughout the world.
Professor Pat Dudgeon, Project Director of the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP), welcomes the McGowan Government’s broad support for the recommendations outlined in 2018 Coroner’s report on the deaths of 13 children and young people in the Kimberley.
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Workshop on Empowerment and Accountability in Indigenous Youth Suicide Prevention, Canberra
The Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP) co-hosted a workshop on preventing Indigenous youth suicide in Canberra on Tuesday. The workshop focused on empowerment and accountability as ways to reduce suicide among Indigenous people and young people. CBPATSISP Director Professor Pat Dudgeon commented:
The attendance of young people, those with lived experience of suicide, LGBTQI, emerging leaders and Elders was important at the workshop. It’s critical that we listen to, and learn from them if we are to understand how to best respond. Empowering our young people and Elders to lead in suicide prevention activity particularly in their communities – was what the workshop was all about. It became clear to all present that we need to empower our incredible young people to lead in preventing suicide among their peers by ‘getting out of their way’, while also supporting them to lead.
The workshop made a number of Calls to Action. Professor Dudgeon outlined:
The first Call was for a dedicated COAG Indigenous Suicide Prevention Plan developed by Indigenous leaders for nation-wide implementation within the COAG Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan implementation process. This plan requires to implement a strong Indigenous youth component co-designed by our young leaders into the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing 2017-2023. We, as leaders at the workshop, are committed to supporting our young people in this process as well as to an inclusive broader plan development process where all Indigenous voices are heard.
A second Call was for greater funding to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health services to be able to deliver mental health services according to need. Professor Dudgeon continued:
Research has shown that communities who have high levels of self-determination have lower rates of suicide. Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services are the part of communities and know their local issues, so they are best to provide services.
Professor Dudgeon closed:
Underlying these complex issues are the need for empowerment, self-determination, culture and for community to heal at the national and community levels. In these are the ultimate and sustainable solutions to Indigenous suicide and youth suicide.
We need communities empowered with the mental health services and mental health education they need, communities empowered to address the dire conditions and challenges they face. For it is hope that is the greatest defence against suicide our young people and our Elders are our hope for our future.
This workshop demonstrated how incredible and ready they are to lead a national response to Indigenous youth suicide.