Abstract: Indigenous governance in the context of suicide prevention activity is about Indigenous communities’ control of the design and implementation of suicide prevention activity taking place within them; or direction and leadership guiding external organisations to the same end. Suicide is a world-wide population health challenge. This includes among the Australian general population and, in particular, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. For the latter, the suicide rate is about double that of the non-Indigenous population, and likely to be increasing; among adolescents and young adults, the rate is higher again. The 2017 Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (Fifth Plan) makes reducing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide rates and improving mental health a national priority (Priority Area 4). The Fifth Plan also marks the adoption of integrated approaches to suicide prevention as the national approach to suicide prevention. However, while the evidence base for mainstream integrated approaches demonstrates they do reduce general population suicide rates, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide is different. In part, it can be understood as a response to challenges affecting individuals (and such should be an important part of an overall approach to reducing Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander suicide). However, an exclusive focus on individual causes also runs the risk of overlooking underlying influences that operate collectively – at the population and community level. These are the culmination of a history of colonisation, and contemporary systemic social and economic disadvantages stemming from that history. Over 2016-17, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) identified success factors in evaluated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention activity. The resulting Solutions That Work report is an invaluable resource for all those working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention and is summarised in Appendix 1 of this Guide. Of particular relevance here, the non-negotiable success factor that underpinned successful suicide prevention activity was that the processes associated with design and implementation be empowering to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Dudgeon, P., Calma, T, Milroy, J, McPhee, R, Darwin, L, Von Helle, S, Holland, C, 2018, Indigenous governance for suicide prevention in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities: A guide for primary health networks, Report, viewed 13 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=13921.