National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention strategy


The suicide rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for the period 2001-2010 were twice that of non-Indigenous Australians (ABS, 2012). The high rates of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are commonly attributed to a complex set of factors which not only includes disadvantage and risk factors shared by the non-Indigenous population, but also a broader set of social, economic and historic determinations that impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing and mental health. In June 2010 the Senate Community Affairs References Committee recommended, in its report into suicide amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, that “?the Commonwealth government develop a separate suicide prevention strategy for Indigenous communities within the National Suicide Prevention Strategy…” (SCARC, 2011). In response the Australian Government agreed to develop Australia’s first national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy and established the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Advisory Group (the Advisory Group) to guide its development. A list of the members for the Advisory Group can be found at Appendix 1. The Strategy has been informed by extensive community consultation across Australia and by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples? holistic view of health that encompasses mental health, physical, cultural and spiritual health. Participants at the community consultations consistently called for community-focused, holistic and integrated approaches to suicide prevention with an emphasis on investment in “upstream” prevention efforts to build community, family and individual resilience and on restoring social and emotional wellbeing. The overarching objective of the Strategy is to reduce the cause, prevalence and impact of suicide on individuals, their families and communities.

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