Suicide prevention strategy targets ATSI communities

Date: 
Thursday 23 May 2013

“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.