Suicide prevention: A coalition of Indigenous organisations have joined together to call for a royal commission into the devastating rates of Indigenous suicide across Australia.
Figures released last month in the Medical Journal of Australia estimate that 5.2 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will take their own life as reported by Bridgette Brennan.
Dameyon Bonson, an Aboriginal mental health advocate among those calling for the commission, said the high suicide rates in some Aboriginal communities was the everyday reality for many Indigenous people.
Mr Bonson founded Black Rainbow, a suicide prevention organisation for Indigenous LGBTI people.
Suicide prevention for Indigenous Australians
He said a royal commission had the potential to “open up a dialogue” about suicide in Indigenous communities, and examine whether peak mental health organisations were tackling the problem adequately.
“As we’ve seen with the royal commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, the conversation [is] on the forefront of people’s minds,” he said.
Those pushing for the inquiry say it needs to be separate from the royal commission into the Northern Territory’s juvenile justice system.
“What happens is that if we bring too many things into one investigation, things will get missed,” Mr Bonson said.
He said there was a clear correlation between the gross overrepresentation of young Indigenous people in jail and the high numbers of suicides in their communities.
“Now if you’ve been subjected to the torture which is what that was that these young people [in Don Dale] experienced, the impact, the psychological damage, where’s the follow up?”
The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples are also calling for suicide rates to be examined by a royal commission. To read more click here.
Suicide prevention for Indigenous Australians will be discussed at The 17th International Mental Health Conference; Guiding the Change which will be held at the brand new Sea World Resort Conference Centre on the Gold Coast, from the 11 -12 August 2016. To register your attendance at the conference CLICK HERE.
This conference brings together leading clinical practitioners, academics, service providers and mental health experts to deliberate and discuss Mental Health issues confronting Australia and New Zealand.
The conference program will be designed to challenge, inspire, demonstrate and encourage participants while facilitating discussion. To view the Program CLICK HERE.