The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy has a holistic and early intervention focus that works to build strong communities through more community-focused and integrated approaches to suicide prevention.
Projects need to demonstrate:
Community control and empowerment: projects should be grounded in community, owned
by the community, based on community needs and accountable to the community.
Holistic: based on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander definitions of health incorporating
spirituality, culture and healing.
Sustainable, strength based and capacity building: projects must be sustainable both in
terms of building community capacity and in terms of not being ‘one off’; they must endure until the community is empowered. For example providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforces and community members with tools for awareness, early identification and for responding to self-harm issues within the community.
Partnerships: projects should work in genuine partnerships with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders and other providers to support and enhance existing local measures, not duplicate or compete with them. Funding applications need to demonstrate a record of genuine community and stakeholder/provider consultations and a track record of community empowerment.
Safe cultural delivery: projects should be delivered in a safe manner.
Innovation and evaluation: projects need to build on learnings, try new and innovative approaches, share learnings, and improve the evidence base.
Community Promotion and education: projects should share learnings and these should be promoted in other communities.
The Strategy has been informed by extensive community consultation with 14 community meetings held across Australia attended by 446 people, a national expert workshop, and a website that received 48 contributions directly from the community.
“Suicide is robbing young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of their lives,” Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda said today.
Responding to the launch of the first National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy, Commissioner Gooda said the unnecessary loss is taking a devastating toll on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities.
“The national strategy announced today will help build strength and resilience within individuals and within our communities.
“We need this strategy because it will provide targeted suicide prevention services that help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities,” Commissioner Good said.
“Addressing suicide in our communities is a critical initiative if we are to achieve health equality and close the life expectancy gap by 2030,” Commissioner Gooda said.
Commissioner Gooda’s predecessor as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Dr Tom Calma AO, chaired the working group that oversaw the development of the national strategy.
Dr Calma also welcomed today’s announcement of $17.8 million over 4 years to fund the national strategy.
“Suicide affects all Australians, but occurs among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at twice the national average.
“We hope today draws a line in the sand in relation to the unacceptably high rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide. It is our hope that today heralds the end of that awful and unnecessary burden of loss, pain and suffering for our peoples,” Dr Calma said.