‘I’m going to kill myself if you don’t …’: contextual aspects of suicide in Australian Aboriginal communities

‘I’m going to kill myself if you don’t …’: contextual aspects of suicide in Australian Aboriginal communities Journal Article

International Journal of Culture and Mental Health

  • Author(s): Tighe, Joe, McKay, Kathy, Maple, Myfanwy
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Volume: 8
  • ISBN: 1754-2863

Abstract: Aboriginal suicidal behaviours in remote Australia present as very different phenomena to suicidal behaviours in mainstream Australian society. Multiple suicide threats and behaviours often appear to express ways of executing violence or retaliation, rather than the immediate wish to die. This may be a response to the lack of choices in the face of an historical context of intergenerational trauma, grief and loss. Aboriginal youth are grasping the possibility of death, and the threat of dying, as a violent means to gain control over their lives. This enactment of agency can give instant ?power? to those violent and vulnerable enough to use it. Using examples of such a suicidal crisis common within these communities, this paper argues that those who work within Australian Aboriginal communities need to better understand the continuing impacts of colonialism and inter-generational trauma and ?decolonisation?. Further, the approach taken in providing services to communities may need to be adapted from the more orthodox approach of linear referral pathways. Understanding the importance of cultural context and place allows for a more dynamic and beneficial therapeutic relationship to be formed. It may also help to more effectively facilitate support for healthcare workers.

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Suggested Citation
Tighe, Joe, McKay, Kathy, Maple, Myfanwy, 2015, ‘I’m going to kill myself if you don’t …’: contextual aspects of suicide in Australian Aboriginal communities, Volume:8, Journal Article, viewed 16 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=14215.

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