“To tell you the truth, no services really helped, I reached out, reached out for all my kids. All [services] let me down. Where we are, for instance, there’s no mental health there. We’re in a little town 230 kays away from Kal[goorlie].
We have nothing. Our kids have no hope, nothing, just a sense of no belonging, nothing. Lost everything, culture. Do more, do more things for our youth, put things there, especially in country towns,” she said.
I know it’s hard, but set some programs up, give them some sense of belonging, sense of hope.”
Norma Ashwin from Leonora in WA’s Goldfields region lost her son to suicide about a year ago and travelled to Canberra for the ATSISPEP suicide prevention report launch.
Ms Ashwin was part of a group of Aboriginal families who have lost relatives to suicide that met Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull before Thursday’s launch.
She urged Governments to focus on young people in regional areas.
Part 3 NACCHO Coverage #ATSISPEP report
Our thanks to Suicide Prevention researcher and campaigner, Gerry Georgatos – Institute of Social Justice and Human Rights for assistance with photos
Response from Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, Minister for Health and Aged Care, Sussan Ley, and Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt.
Emotional Pat Dodson calls for action to stop devastating rate of Indigenous suicide
Aboriginal senator Pat Dodson has fought back tears telling the story of a 12-year-old boy who took his own life.
Senator Dodson on Thursday joined MPs and senators from across the political spectrum at the launch of an Indigenous suicide prevention report.
Download report atispep-report-final-web-pdf-nov-10
“There’s nothing worse, as you would know, to get a call in the middle of the night or the early hours of the morning from a relation, and most of us experience this as Aboriginal people, to tell you that someone has died,” he said.
The West Australian Labor senator is based in the Kimberley region and recalled the death at Fitzroy Crossing, a town east of Broome.
“Someone very young has taken their life,” Senator Dodson said.
“I know it happened in Fitzroy [Crossing], a dear 12-year-old boy whose parents found him.
“Whatever caused that, I don’t know, and it’s very hard for us to understand.”
Nearly a third of children who take their own lives in Australia are Indigenous.
Government commits to adopting some recommendations
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) was undertaken over more than a year.
It recommended 17 projects and strategies to drive down the devastating rate of suicide in Indigenous communities, including:
- A national Indigenous suicide prevention implementation plan
- Indigenous-controlled organisations to lead mental health care in communities
- Cultural training for mental health workers
Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said the Government was “by and large” adopting the suggestions.
“One life lost is one life too many. There’s no targets about this. This has to stop,” Senator Scullion said.
But he said more money for Indigenous mental healthcare was not the answer, instead urging better coordination among health organisations.
“What we’ve found through this process is that there are a number of organisations within a community and those organisations just need to know what their role and responsibility is.”
Suicide rates in some Aboriginal communities, including in the Kimberley, are among the highest in the world.
In August, the Federal Government said the Kimberley would be one of 12 trial sites for a new suicide prevention approach as part of the Government’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy.
24-Hour Telephone Counselling
If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health issues, call: