NACCHO #ATSISPEP update : Report from the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander #SuicidePrevention Evaluation project

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 ” National mental health commissioner Professor Pat Dudgeon is attending the meeting in Broome to promote the findings of a report from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation project, which she co-chairs with former social justice commissioner Tom Calma.

The report concludes that effective suicide prevention must be Indigenous-led, and Dr Dudgeon is hopeful that getting the Ministers into the Kimberley will make a difference.

Indigenous leaders meeting three Federal Ministers in Broome today

group

for a roundtable on devastating rates of suicide have expressed cynicism about another meeting on the issue and hope for a radical change to government policies reports the ABC

Please note we have just been advised that the final report should be released by the end of October

View / read an interim copy on the ABC News website

The meeting is a part of the Federal Government’s election policy to trial prevention-of-suicide programs across Australia and has been a hastily arranged according to Broome Indigenous leader Marty Sibosado.

“It’s part of the national suicide policy from the Federal Government. The Kimberley will be a trial site, and to date it’s all been organised very quickly, like in the last 10 days,” Mr Sibosado said.

A new Indigenous-led approach to suicide prevention is expected to take centre place in the discussion between Indigenous leaders and Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley, Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion, and Assistant Health Minister Ken Wyatt.

The latest effort to reduce some of the worst suicide rates in the world inspires both hope and cynicism for Mr Sibosado.

“We will raise the same issues that were raised by my father and grandfather in the past. The outcome is found in a whole range of reports that have been presented to government,” Mr Sibosado said.

“That’s where we’ll arrive with the same recommendations. Why? Because fundamentally we haven’t been able to connect in terms of working collaboratively.”

Hope for a new Indigenous-led approach

But Mr Sibosado, who is a Kimberley leader for the empowered communities program which aims to work with government to reform Indigenous policy, also holds hope for a new approach of collaboration.

Professor Pat Dudgeon

“Government’s tried with good intent. It’s time for the Aboriginal community to step up, take their share of the responsibility and participate in designing approaches to the various disadvantages and issues that we face,” he said.

“While I may sound critical of government, the challenge is also for the Kimberley Aboriginal community to take some responsibility.”

National mental health commissioner Professor Pat Dudgeon will also attend the meeting in Broome to promote the findings of a report from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation project, which she co-chairs with former social justice commissioner Tom Calma.

The report concludes that effective suicide prevention must be Indigenous-led, and Dr Dudgeon is hopeful that getting the Ministers into the Kimberley will make a difference.

“It’s easy when we’re living in Canberra or a university to not appreciate the complexities of what communities need to deal with,” Dr Dudgeon said.

“So I think it’s good if we can get out of our offices and go and talk to people and be with them, whoever we are.”

Mr Sibosado said suicide prevention needed to look deeper than mental health to the factors that were determining the plight of Indigenous people in the Kimberley.

“On any given day there’d be a thousand Kimberley Aboriginal people incarcerated in prison; we’re looking at around 70 per cent unemployment in the Indigenous community,” he said.

“We want for our children the same opportunities and choices other Australians expect for their children.

“And we want them to succeed in mainstream Australia, achieving educational success, prospering in the economy, and living long safe and health lives.”

 

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