The Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP) was established in 2017 and is Australia’s leading voice on Indigenous suicide. The Centre influences and advocates for Indigenous suicide prevention policies by promoting evidence-based suicide prevention practice that empowers individuals, families and communities, underpinned by a respect for their culture.
All the work of the CBPATSISP is informed by the principles that are prominently set out in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP), and the nine guiding principles from The National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing 2017-2023. These principles take into account the cultural, social, spiritual, economic, historical and contemporary context of Indigenous communities in the delivery of health, mental health and social services. They emphasise the strength of Indigenous communities and their right to self-determination, calling on service providers to align programs to the priorities of local communities through shared governance and respectful engagement. These principles include Indigenous governance, community-led, programs that empower, promote self-determination and builds capacity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.
The CBPATSISP promotes the development of culturally responsive community, family and individual support systems and programs to promote social and emotional wellbeing and reduce high risk behaviours and suicide.
Pathways to recovery need to support people and communities to address their loss, grief and disconnection, trauma and helplessness, powerlessness and lack of control. This requires a focus on:
- Self-determination and community governance
- Reconnection and community life
- Restoration and community resilience
The CBPATSISP’s work includes contributing to government policy, advocacy, developing reports, providing clearing houses on best practice programs and services, research, screening and assessment tools, and evaluation. CBPATSISP undertakes seminars and small research projects with community and with other stakeholders. These can be found on our website.
The CBPATSISP Clearing Houses has an extensive collection of resources that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experiencing suicidal thoughts and/or behaviours, or someone supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with these experiences. An example is the Manual of Resources which is a collection of practical resources and tools co-designed and co-developed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, front line workers, PHNs and funders. Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous peoples can use these resources to make a real difference in promoting positive mental health and social and emotional wellbeing, and preventing suicide in our communities. The resources are curated by the CBPATSISP and follow the ATSISPEP principles of what works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.
Another important resource underpinned by the same principles is programs and services which promotes best programs and services targeted at the whole range of suicide prevention activities including enhancing social and emotional wellbeing, training, crisis, and postvention. These programs and services reflect the important work that communities are doing to empower individuals and communities, and to support others to develop suicide prevention initiatives in their communities.
The CBPATSISP is a consortium led by The Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at the School of Indigenous Studies, the University of Western Australia, in partnership with Telethon Kids Institute, The Healing Foundation, Menzies Institute for Medical Research, Healthinfonet, and recently, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). The new collaboration with NACCHO reflects our commitment to ensure the voices of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations guide our activities and engage in this important area in their own right. This affirms our focus on influencing policy and advocating for community-developed activities that improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The CBPATSISP is funded through the Commonwealth Government’s National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program (NSPLSP) and has formal partnerships with other organisations funded under the same program, including Suicide Prevention Australia and Black Dog Institute.