Abstract: As the incidence of suicide contagion proliferates within traditional Indigenous communities in Northern Territory, Australia, it has dramatically impacted on youth and young adults, with clusters of attempted and completed suicide in these age groups. There are six different aspects of suicide contagion identified in Indigenous settings including the social, behavioural, emotional, cultural, familial, and intergenerational which are explored. The experience of suicide contagion is different in Indigenous communities as it halts dramatically around the age of fifty which points to a protective factor within Indigenous Elders that is not available to Indigenous youth and young adults. It also suggests a possible intergenerational segregation at that age, where the older and younger generations rarely intersect. Indigenous suicide is almost exclusively by hanging, especially in the very young, and the social issues that determine suicide in Indigenous settings, are indicative of a troubled youth and young adult Indigenous population, with resultant political ramifications. Combined with the specific vulnerabilities within Indigenous settings, suicide contagion is difficult to contain and has led to an echo cluster phenomenon in certain high risk settings. The “Echo Cluster Model” represents this process and pattern of echo clusters. There is now emerging evidence of suicide containment in some high risk communities where Indigenous communities are able to harness the strengths of the Indigenous Elders who are protected from suicide contagion (> 50 years). Promote Life NT Models 3 and 4 and descriptive examples, demonstrate the ability of Elders through cross generational re-engagement, to support and protect youth and young adults by intergenerational integration, to contain and reduce suicide and support broad postvention initiatives in Indigenous settings.
Hanssens, Leonore, 2016, The impact of suicide contagion and intergenerational segregation on youth and young adults in remote indigenous communities in Northern Territory, Australia, Volume:40, Journal Article, viewed 05 December 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=38656.