AUSTRALIA: Critical Response Program to Tackle High WA [Western Australia] Indigenous Suicide Rate

January 29, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

ABC News

A “critical response” project is being established with Federal Government funding to address the high rate of suicide among Indigenous people in the state of Western Australia. The goal of the project is to provide better coordinated services in culturally appropriate ways for people who are suicidal. Currently there is no system to coordinate services from different providers. According to critical response advocate Gerry Georgatos, “Sometimes one provider doesn’t know what another provider is doing. . . . What we want to see out of this is a plan of coordination that’s actually shared among all the services, so that no one slips through the system.” In addition to overall service coordination, an on-call service will enable Indigenous people to reach the critical response team when they are impacted by suicide. [The project] “will also develop and trial new models of care to build resilience in communities as well as the roll-out of mental health first-aid training,” said Senator and Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion. This project is being piloted in Western Australia because it is the region of the country with the greatest need among Indigenous people, who have a much higher suicide rate than non-Indigenous Australians.