National Strategy to Reduce Suicide

National Strategy to Reduce Suicide

23 May 2013

The first national whole-of-government strategy specifically addressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide has been launched today, supported by $17.8 million in new funding over four years.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy will focus on early intervention and building stronger communities with the aim of reducing the prevalence of suicide and the impact on individuals, their families and communities.

The Strategy identifies six broad action areas, which are:

Building strengths and capacity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities;
Building strengths and resilience in individuals and families;
Targeted suicide prevention services;
Coordinating approaches to prevention;
Building the evidence base and disseminating information; and
Standards and quality in suicide prevention.

The Strategy had been developed in close consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including 14 community meetings across Australia, a national expert workshop, and a website that received 48 contributions directly from the community.

The Australian Government would like to thank all those who have worked hard on the development of this strategy, including those community members and organisations that participated in our extensive consultations around the country.

Funding will support the establishment of local suicide prevention networks and a centre of best practice to support and prioritise local, community-led activities, and share knowledge in suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the nation.

These activities will be developed in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and will implement key elements of the Strategy.

The Government recognises that suicide is a complex issue that impacts on individuals, families and the communities in which they live and this is even more so for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are experiencing suicide within their communities at approximately twice the rate of the rest of the population.

This Australia-first strategy will guide us in delivering more community-focused, holistic and integrated approaches to suicide prevention.

The Strategy also encourages the development of increased coordination between Commonwealth and state or territory governments and across departments.

The funding for initiatives under the strategy is in addition to funding allocated to Indigenous programs under the two national suicide programs, including $4.6 million from the National Suicide Prevention Program and $6 million over the four years from the Taking Action to Tackle Suicide (TATS) package.

The development of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention strategy was recommended by a Senate inquiry into suicide in Australia in 2011.