Suicide prevention trial

Nicola KalmarBroome Advertiser

A newly formed working group tasked with driving a landmark suicide prevention trial in the Kimberley met with Federal Government representatives in Broome last week to map out a strategy.

Indigenous leaders from local organisations engaged with Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt and Member for Durack Melissa Price to develop a work plan for the Kimberley Suicide Prevention Trial.

The meeting follows a high-level roundtable held late last year to address the high rates of indigenous suicide in the region as part of a Federal Government election policy to trial suicide prevention programs Australia-wide.

The roundtable highlighted a need for local, indigenous-led responses to the crisis. It was also agreed that a working group consisting of local indigenous representatives would be established to develop the next action items of the trial.

Mr Wyatt said the group had already done some “groundwork” in identifying key issues and was moving from discussions to the next stage of identifying suicide prevention activities to be commissioned as part of the trial.

“The message very clearly is one size does not fit all,” he said. “They want a regional approach but they also want to take in the uniqueness of each community within the Kimberley.”

Mr Wyatt said the Government has committed $1 million a year over three years to support the activities for the trial.

Ms Price said last week’s meeting was an opportunity to finalise details of the working group and for members to identify issues relating to suicide, such as existing services that are available, the role that family plays and other key factors.

“There was a real sense of urgency in the room that we need to move forward quickly but also with caution, that there needs to be a lot of work done on what’s happening on the ground, what’s working, what’s not working, who’s providing what services, what’s effective, what’s not effective,” she said.

Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre festival and cultural events co-ordinator Wayne Barker, who attended last week’s meeting, said while there had been much discussion about suicide prevention in the past, there was a feeling of confidence going forward with Mr Wyatt leading the group.

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