Youth praised for efforts to reduce deaths

Glenn CordingleyBroome Advertiser

Two young Kimberley people have been singled out for their work in helping reduce the high suicide rate among indigenous people in the region.

Federal Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt praised a presentation by Kimberley Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Forum members Jacob Corpus, 20, of Broome and 19-year-old Montana Ahwon from Kununurra.

During a suicide prevention roundtable in Broome last week, Mr Wyatt said young people must be suppor-ted to play key roles in reducing suicide.

“Both Montana and Jacob are incredible and inspiring young leaders who have helped identify key factors that impact on Kimberley youth, which the steering committee will now consider,” he said.

“I will also encourage relevant Commonwealth and State organisations to ensure they include young Aboriginal people on advisory groups to help empower them to take up future leadership roles.”

Mr Wyatt said he would co-chair a new steering committee working with local Aboriginal communities, as the Kimberley Suicide Prevention Trial began detailed planning and delivery of potentially lifesaving initiatives.

Mr Wyatt said the suicide prevention meeting was important in establishing a strong working partnership between local Aboriginal communities and the Commonwealth, especially through younger people.

The youth forum recommendations included support for emer-ging young leaders, positive role models and mentoring, the teach-ing in school of local culture and country traditions, the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and the importance of resilience and strong youth engagement and networking through sports, arts and local cultural activities.

The roundtable also heard of the need for community-run “safe houses” for young people and the potential positive effects of having pairs of youth co-ordinators employed by Aboriginal community groups in towns across the Kimberley.

The steering committee will be co-chaired by Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service deputy chief executive Rob McPhee and will report to the Kimberley Suicide Prevention Working Group.

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