***Prioritising Suicide Prevention in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities

22 May 2013

 - $17.8 million Federal Government Fund Announced Today - 

Suicide Prevention Australia welcomed today’s announcement of $17.8 million over 4 years to fund the first National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy.

Suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples occurs at twice the national average.

Sue Murray CEO Suicide Prevention Australia said “Suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is a priority issue of public concern.

Strategies aimed at reducing the rate of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities must be culturally based to recognise and support the differences among Indigenous groups. They must also embrace genuine consultation with the groups for which they are intended, rather than indiscriminately adapting non-Indigenous models of suicide prevention.

We commend the Government for developing a dedicated strategy that recognises the differences and aims to build on the strengths in our families, communities and cultures to generate uniquely Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-based responses to this critical challenge,” said Sue Murray.

Suicide Prevention Australia’s Position Paper on this issue explains that the risk of suicide and self-harm among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is complicated and compounded by complex (trans)generational transmissions of violence, trauma, grief, (de)colonisation, racism and loss. The effects of these are known to greatly contribute to sociocultural and economic problems and conditions, which in turn place Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals at greater risk of suicide.

Suicide Prevention Australia is organising a gathering of health professionals and community-minded people to address critical issues facing suicide prevention at its National Conference for Suicide Prevention in Melbourne 24 July 2013.

“Our role as the peak body in suicide prevention is to bring together all the core groups so we can work together to reach a 50 percent reduction in suicide by 2023 for all communities,” said Sue Murray.