indigenist

Advocating for Indigenous Genius, Indigeneity and Wellbeing


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Panel Discussion – #ATSISPEP My contribution, edited for this posting.

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*[REBLOGGED] School authorities not to be quizzed in student’s suicide case

School authorities not to be quizzed in student’s suicide case

The case of a Grade 10 girl student from National Public School, HSR Layout, committing suicide on Monday after being reprimanded by her principal for getting close with a male classmate, has brought to the fore the increasingly sensitive nature of teenagers.

Alarmingly, recent months have seen a number of such cases of suicides or attempted suicides by teenagers and adolescents in the City, which is a huge cause of worry.

Monali Mohala (15) had been getting close with a male classmate, who also lived in the same apartment complex where she lived in Bommanahalli. On Monday, the school authorities suspended Monali for a day and a half for “disciplinary misdemeanor” and asked her mother to pick her daughter up. After coming home, the teen locked herself up in her room in their 10th floor flat and jumped out of the French window soon after.

When asked if any action will be initiated against the school, Alok Kumar, Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and order) said: “The Madiwala police have registered a case of suicide. But the school authorities will not be summoned as there is no case against them.”

Meanwhile, taking suo motu notice of the incident, the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) has asked the police and Block Education Officer to conduct a probe and file report about the incident. “We have also asked the child welfare committee to initiate a similar move,” said Fr Edward Thomas, a member of the Commission.

Dr Manjula M, Assistant Professor Psychology Department, Nimhans said that a combination of factors that includes a change in the family system, temperament of a child – whether or not he/ she is impulsive, lack of a confidant might lead to a child taking such a step.

“The teenage and adolescent years are usually full of high emotions and in such situations they need great attention. Depression is certainly on the rise among adolescents and this might be due to a number of reasons. When a teenager decides to take such a step, it is a moment’s decision and there is no long-term thinking,” she said.

Dr Mahesh Gowda, psychiatrist from Spandana, said that adolescents these days are taught more about academics and being competitive than about life skills that greatly puts pressure on them: “There is too much emphasis on academics rather than just being happy. Children are not taught life skills such as decision making, how to handle peer pressure etc. Added to this there is no close dialogue between parents and children,“ he said.

*REBLOGGED due to trigger in original article (PIC)


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The Welcome Path- (English Version) Thunder Bay Youth #SuicidePrevention Task Force

The Welcome Path- (English Version) Thunder Bay Youth #SuicidePrevention Task Force

Moving to a new place is always a challenge. Hear what youth have to say about the journey into new places and spaces.From consultation with over 250 youth, we know that the transition to Thunder Bay from remote communities remains a time of anxiety and stress for many First Nations youth. For many students, this is their first time away from their community and their family and one of their first times in Thunder Bay. Not only are students experiencing a transition to high school but also are learning to live in a new and different community. The Welcome Path is a video created with hopes of addressing and alleviating some of this anxiety. This video is a culmination of information gained from surveys, youth workshops and conversations had with Northern First Nations, both youth and adults, about their experiences coming to Thunder Bay. The video identifies common worries youth experience, what can alleviate some of the worries and how youth can use their own personal resiliency and strengths to overcome the challenges that moving to a new city may cause. First Nations youth worked closely with this project.

 


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Reconciliation and Decolonisation in Suicide Prevention

QUITE tragically, as you are reading these first few words there is a high probability somebody will attempt to end their life by suicide. There is even a higher probability that that somebody is part of the LGBTI community, particularly if they are at the point of self-realisation and disclosure. If that person is an Indigenous Australian, the probability amplifies yet again.

How do I know this? Because that’s what the evidence suggests. LGBTI people are said to have the highest rates of self-harm and suicide of any population in Australia. Same-sex attracted Australians are said to exhibit up to 14-times-higher rates of suicide attempts than their heterosexual peers. Yet, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 996 suicides reported across Australia between 2001 and 2010 among Indigenous peoples. We are told that 1.6 per cent of all Australians die by suicide but for Indigenous peoples, this rate is more than 4.2 per cent, or one in every 24.

As mentioned, the evidence only suggests this because we are coalescing the data from two different groups and hypothesising the math. In other words we aren’t really sure.

However, when we aggregate the data for the Kimberley region and take one particular town during 2012, there were 40 young people who died by suicide. That’s nearly 100 times the national average. Now, I’m not suggesting that these young people were members of the LGBTI community. However, when the social determinants affecting Aboriginal people are seen as a causation of suicidality, the question does have to be asked, what is the amplified risk if they are LGBTI?

To explore what happens when the Indigenous and LGBTI world comes together, intersectionality theory is a way of understanding and uncovering any potential health inequalities. It is also a great way to highlight those previously unknown, caused by a kaleidoscope of social inequalities, whether it be race, gender, class, and/or sexuality.

For the LGBTI community, homophobia, either perceived or actual, is a precursor to one’s level of psychological distress. And if, as suggested, same-sex attracted Australians are up to 14 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, then homophobia, transphobia, cisgenderism, biphobia, sexism, and hetereosexist behaviours play a big part in how well someone lives, and someone dying.

For Indigenous Australians, other factors are at play and overlaid. These include racism, social location, socioeconomic disparities and intergenerational trauma. The psychological distress caused by these determinants can lead to complex mental health and drug and alcohol issues, such as manifestations of violence toward oneself (self-harm) or others: domestic, family and lateral violence.

So I have raised and discussed the issues and attempted to converse about the tragedy of suicide in the least sensational or emotive way. So where to from here? I’d like to know, because I don’t have the answers. However, I do have some starting points. First, I’m going go start by sharing with you a quote. A quote that is often referred to as the Lilla Watson quote: “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting our time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Participating with the view of being part of the liberation of Indigenous people is the single most overlooked and fundamental principle of genuinely inclusive work. Being part of the liberation is also knowing when you are required and a good indication of that is when you have been asked. Don’t let an over-zealous sense of entitlement to charity or benevolence be your motivation. Also pay attention to the research. Cultural continuity is a protective factor to suicide.

The great Writing Themselves In series, Growing Up Queer report and the current research by Dr Delaney Skerritt provides opportunity for us, as Indigenous researchers and members of the Indigenous LGBTI community, to come up with strengthening solutions. The time is ripe for those who are willing to come on this journey with us, to support us and share your resources with us. I personally believe that the issues facing the Indigenous LGBTI community, once identified and workshopped to discover actions to respond, can be added as an amendment or appendant to national strategies and health plans. Structures already exist for us to coexist within. And if the collaborative work is underpinned by liberation, an enhanced sense of reconciliation can truly happen within the LGBTI community.

I am the founder of LGBTI Indigenous Australian social network Black Rainbow and these are my thoughts on the lack of solid mental health data available among LGBTI Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

This first appeared in the Star Observer and can be found here : Reconciliation and Decolonisation in Suicide Prevention


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Aboriginal Suicide is Different by Colin Tatz

An expert from Chapter 10. Towards Alleviation

I prefer the words ‘alleviation’ or ‘mitigation’ to the conventional ‘prevention’. One can only prevent what one knows is likely to happen, and then only of one can clearly identify a cause which can be ameliorated or mitigated. We do not know the causes of youth suicide. ‘Prevention’ has not diminished youth suicide in Australia, New Zealand, North America, the Scandinavian countries, Scotland, Sri Lanka or the Pacific Islands, in each of which the rates of youth suicide have escalated markedly. All we can do is try to slow, or deflect, the development of trends towards attempts at suicide.”

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Aboriginal Suicide is Different


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Why we need safe houses for Aboriginal men. They are victims too.

Pain of Aboriginal men abused by their women By Corey Sinclair

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Tony Linn co-ordinator of Ingkintja Men’s Health.

DOMESTIC violence against men is just as common as it is for women in some Aboriginal communities.

But Aboriginal men are hesitant to speak up because they fear being “shame jobs”.

Former Pioneer footballer Geoffrey Miller says there is a lack of services in Central Australia that can effectively deal with these issues men face.

“When I was working with DASA (Drug & Alcohol Services Association), it was the main problem we had,” he said.

“Women have their own legal aid and shelter — it’s all in place, but for men — there’s no shelter.

“What we used to call the men’s shelter was the prison cause that was the only place to go, even if it’s not their fault.

“If they stepped off their track, they ended up in prison — not a shelter.”

Miller, who previously won a Prime Minister’s Award for providing excellence in service to the community, said a men’s shelter would address a lot of issues that happen in town, like the anti-social behaviour and drinking in the streets.

“When men get kicked out of a home, the worst thing is they walk around the streets and get themselves in that position again,” he said.

“If they had a shelter to go to, they could spend a night there and they’d find where some of the anger in these men are coming from.

“That’s where the big downfall is when they get depressed, they have nowhere to go.

“There’s little things no one has spent time to assess.”

Miller believes the root of the problem is the shift in Aboriginal culture from the men being the bread earners to the women.

“Back in the old days, men were the head of the family but nowadays, that’s taken away from them with pensions and not enough jobs,” he said.

“Men feel lower cause they’re not getting the income his wife is getting, and some wives or partners can be really nasty in that aspect.

“They keep them in their place cause they know they can.

“The men, a lot of the time, will stay cause there’s kids involved or they have nowhere to go.”

But the problem is not just restricted to Aboriginal men.

Miller knows a lot of white men going through similar problems.

“It’s across the board,” he said.

Congress’ Ingkintja Men’s Health’s senior psychologist Max Yffer said they often see men who are victims of interpersonal violence.

“The vast majority are women but it is very difficult for all people to come forward, and that is true across the whole community — not just Aboriginal people,” he said.

“But particularly with Aboriginal people, there is a very strong sense of shame.”

Some of the men who are referred to Mr Yffer as offenders or as the protagonist will often say their female partners had a go at them as well.

“I think there is a broader problem of men feeling a bit lost in their role in society, particularly some men who are caught between a couple of different cultures,” he said.

“Not wanting to steer away from their traditional culture and become more urbanised.”

Mr Yffer agrees that a men’s shelter would be beneficial for Alice Springs.

“It’s something that is talked about a lot,” he said.

“There is the Salvation Army’s men’s hostel but it’s not quite the same as the women’s shelter.

“It doesn’t have quite the same protective aura the women’s shelter does so I think there is definitely a need for a place for men to feel safer.”

Domestic violence related assault in Alice Springs rose 15.2 per cent in 2013.

It is believed one in three victims of family violence and abuse are male.

A study by Edith Cowan University (ECU) confirmed that abused men have almost no services to help them despite also suffering from physical, emotional, verbal, sexual financial and social abuse like women.

Pain of Aboriginal men abused by their women