First Nations Suicide Prevention pilot
The Queensland Government is investing $2.38 million to trial and evaluate a comprehensive suicide prevention response in four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Far North Queensland.
The trial aims to provide community support to build social and emotional wellbeing supports in a culturally responsive and sustainable way, while complementing existing services and building community capacity to prevent suicide.
The first community to join the trial is Coen, based on community advocacy and identified need. The Commission has engaged the services of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide postvention service Thirrili Ltd to support implementation in Coen using community led and self-determination principles, allowing communities to identify the most appropriate responses based on their specific local needs.
Through engagement with local government and community leaders the Commission will progress the project in three additional Far North Queensland communities also impacted by suicide.
The response draws on three key components:
- Suicide postvention (supports provided after a suicide has occurred)
- Community capacity building for suicide prevention
- Strengthen community capacity in a sustainable way.
Why this is important
Data shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are over-represented in suicide statistics. For example, Queensland data indicates the rate of suicide of First Nations people is two times higher than other Queenslanders.
We know there are many complex factors that can lead to a person ending their life, however, we also know that suicide can be prevented. Suicide prevention remains a priority across government and the broader community. Every life: The Queensland Suicide Prevention Plan 2019–2029 is a whole-of-government and whole-of-community plan that sets the direction for suicide prevention initiatives across the state.
How does this support reform?
Within the Every life plan, several commitments have been made to support First Nations communities to lead suicide prevention activities, including identifying and investing in community-led suicide prevention solutions that prioritise community connection and respond to people in distress.
The project has commenced in Coen and the Commission is working to offer the project to three additional communities, utilising principles of self-determination. Further details about each project will be announced following consultation with local government and community leaders, who will decide the particulars of each pilot.
The Commission will procure culturally appropriate evaluation of the projects to understand and evaluate the effectiveness of each pilot and build an evidence base for what works best in First Nations communities to inform future suicide prevention policy and practice.