Suicide Prevention in Aboriginal & Indigenous Communities
By Jacqui Tibbits, Director Consultivation
The WA Statewide Suicide Prevention Network (WASSPN) has been established to support a more connected suicide prevention community for Western Australia. The network connects individuals, groups and organisations to build relationships, share practices and research.
Two forums are held each year in Autumn and Spring with a topic chosen by the WASSPN's membership. The 2019 Autumn Forum held Tuesday 12 March was on Suicide Prevention in WA's Aboriginal Communities.
The aim of this forum was to generate practical solutions to suicide prevention that members can take away and implement. I was honoured to be invited to help plan and cofacilitate the event with Aunty Liz Hayden, the WASSPN's Governance Group and Lifeline WA.
Held on 12 March 2019 in the Djeran season of adulthood, the Forum was attended by approximately 80 people from around Western Australia inlcuding Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people; community members, Aboriginal-lead organisations and other service providers. Bevan Winmar, Bevan Jnr and Nevaeh opened the forum during Welcome to Country which was conducted by Aunty Liz, which I responded to and acknowledged in Noongar and English.
We came believing that every person in the room and around the state has a role to play and that each of us can make a positive difference reducing deaths by suicide; and supporting health, healing and wellbeing of self and others. We came together with respect and compassion for ourselves and each other lead by our Kaat Koort Weirrn, that is, our Head, our Heart and our Spirit. The forum focused on the voice of the community and their needs, ideas and initiatives to help individuals and organisations make a difference.
Presentations were made by Wayne Ryder and Aunty Josie Ford on their Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Festival; and Hayley Thompson of the Aboriginal Health Council of WA.
We empowered attendees through exploring three main discussion areas of:
1. needs of the community
2. voices of the community (what do you see needs to happen) and
3. how do providers hold the community
At the end of the day, the final discussion was a call to action having participants answer a question 'I will make a change by doing.....' where attendees indicated what they would do as a result of attending the forum.
Six main areas I identified from listening to people in attendance were the need and desire of Aboriginal people for:
* capacity building
There was a great energy and urgency in the room. I hope the momentum which continues to build sees action to help with the health, healing and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Indigenous Australians.
A copy of the forum's report is available below.
I would like to thank the WASSPN, James D'Alesio, Aunty Liz Hayden, Jenny Bedford, Deb Costello, Bevan Jnr and Nevaeh for their help and support in my co-facilitating of this important discussion. I would like to thank attendees who spoke with me after the forum for their positive feedback and feelings of 'having a voice' and 'being heard'. Thankyou, too, for those attendees who gaves thanks through their feedback forms.
I look forward to seeing change, and plan to play my small part in making a difference, after all, we are stronger together.
If you would like to join the network contact James D'Alesio at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacqui is a positive change management specialist with a penchant for public speaking.
Susan has expertise in cognitive behaviour therapy, narrative therapy & mindfulness.
Guest bloggers are invited to contribute to the Consultivation blog. If you have an idea, concept or perspective you would like to share please contact Jacqui at Consultivation.
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