NACCHO RU OK News: Indigenous youth leading the way in suicide prevention

R U OK Community Conversations Group

This mob are encouraging community members to find a buddy and have regular meaningful conversations to prevent suicide.

This is because of the high suicide rates in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population (which can be caused by cultural disconnection, intergenerational trauma, socioeconomic disadvantage, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse etc.)

This video was created by 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young leaders from across Australia during the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy’s (NIYLA’s) 2013 National Gathering


Since embarking on their campaign a month ago, the team have received 660 likes on their Facebook Page and 636 views on their YouTube video.

They have also appeared in the NT News, the North West Star, the Advocate, Sunraysia Daily and The Courier and have had interest from Vibe Magazine and NITV. By encouraging conversations via the media, it is also hoped that the stigma associated with mental illness and suicide is reduced and people are encouraged to seek treatment early .

If you’d like some more info about their campaign, here is one of those media releases/news stories :

When Will Austin’s sister encouraged him to apply for the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy (NIYLA), the ‘Many Voices, One Future Camp’, he never thought anything would eventuate let alone be accepted. He also didn’t think it would change his life.

One of 50 youth accepted throughout Australia to attend the NIYLA camp in Sydney, Will soon realised that he was among friends. “We just had this bond with each other, it was really strange, I have never experienced something like this before,” he said.

On arrival, everyone was placed into groups and a topic had to be chosen. Will’s group chose a campaign about depression and youth suicide.

Entitled R U OK? Community Conversations, the campaign encourages people to have conversations with friends and family in a bid to save lives.

“Youth suicide is very big in the 14-18 indigenous youth, but the message is not only going out to indigenous youths, it’s going out to everyone,” Will said.

“We believe our message is ‘a simple conversation can save a life’.

“Just any conversations makes people feel like they’re worth something.

“Facilitators were really good, up there; on the last night sitting around the campfire everyone was saying the same thing.”

Some of the youth who attended the camp had either been bullied, had a ‘rough track’ and some had even tried to commit suicide.

Learning about leadership qualities, Will soon came out of his shell, growing with confidence each day.

Will was not accustomed to being an entrepreneur with a cause.

The facilitators gave everyone a mission to return home to market their campaign.

Back home in Daylesford, Will is already a volunteer with the CFA and plays football with three different teams.

After leaving school, Will hopes to become a volunteer and help others in the social justice area.

All attendees will return to Sydney to re-launch their campaigns at the Sydney Opera House at a later date.

Will is now on a mission for his campaign to raise awareness in the community.

Should you like a speaker at your club or group, Will is more than happy to come along and speak.

For more information, visit

For more information, visit

To follow their campaign, people can like their Facebook page

Anybody needing expert support can contact LifeLine on 13 11 1

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