Sydney researchers have developed a new online tool for young Indigenous Australians to help combat the alarming rate of suicides in the community.
Lindy Kerin

10 Oct 2013 - 3:41 PM  UPDATED 11 Oct 2013 - 9:19 AM

The Black Dog Institute's new self-help app is being trialled in the remote Kimberley town of Broome.

The app was developed by researcher Fiona Shand, with the help of members from the Broome community, a region with worrying rates of suicide.

"We know for example that in the 18-30 age group, the risk of a completed suicide, compared to their non-Aboriginal peers, is about 4-5 times higher, so the app is really aimed at trying to engage people who might otherwise not seek help".

She says help seeking is really low among Aboriginal Australians.

"People feel ashamed, they don't want seek help, so this is an anonymous way for them to get help without having to actually talk to anyone".

The app will be trialled among a group of about 150 people. If successful, it will be rolled out more widely.

Ms Shand hopes the app can make up for lack of support services in remote areas.

"The app is available 24 hours a day, and it doesn't require internet access, so it's completely stand alone, so if someone is distressed at midnight, they don't have to rely on a service being open, they can go straight to it and use it.

The trial will run til until early next year.