A high-level Roundtable discussion today on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide in the Western Australian Kimberley region, chaired by Federal Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, emphasised the need for local, Indigenous controlled responses to the escalating rates of suicide in the community.
Key outcomes from the Roundtable today included:
- Agreement for a shared commitment between the Australian Government, the community and service providers to reduce the high rates of suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the Kimberley region.
- A recognition that suicide is not just a health issue but must link to the social and cultural determents of health.
- a need to focus on family support
- that community based interventions are developed and implemented using a foundation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and in partnership with Indigenous communities, including the need to train the local Aboriginal mental health workforce and taking a family focussed approach as part of empowering the community.
- that the Kimberley trial will develop a suicide prevention model that can support the unique and culturally sensitive requirements of remote communities.
- that government funding and investment needs to be better targeted with more local involvement and streamlining between State and Federal funding arrangements.
- and that the Country Western Australian Primary Health Network (PHN) will work closely and collaboratively in partnership with Kimberley Aboriginal groups and organisations in the conduct of the trial. Minister Ley undertook to investigate how to extend Aboriginal community controlled health organisations representation on PHNs.
Outcomes from the Roundtable will help plan and inform the design of the trial, local suicide prevention activity, and inform the design of strategies in the national trial.
FULL communiqué can be downloaded here: kimberley-communique
(image via ABC: Ben Collins)