• Prof Pat Dudgeon (NITV News)Source: NITV News
Statistics show that Indigenous suicide rates have hit an an all time high. This shocking fact is but one reason why Indigenous Australia is being asked to stop and think about our mental health in October and build awareness within our families and communities.
By
NITV News, Tara Callinan

7 Oct 2015 - 6:03 PM  UPDATED 8 Oct 2015 - 3:22 PM
TRANSCRIPT

NATALIE AHMAT: Indigenous suicide rates are at an all time high, with children as young as 11 taking their own lives.

That's why we are being encouraged to stop and think about our mental health throughout the month of October, and build awareness within our families and communities.

Tara Callinan has more.

Tara Callinan: It's hard to fathom, but the statistics show that Aboriginal children aged under 14 are 8 times more likely to suicide than their non-Aboriginal counterparts. It's a harsh reality we are all too familiar with.

Professor Pat Dudgeon: Most indigenous people - because we have extended families - have had one of our family members lose their life to suicide.

Tara Callinan: Bardi woman Professor Pat Dudgeon says suicide is often the result of racism, intergenerational trauma and social problems in our communities.

Professor Pat Dudgeon: We know our health is very poor but we also know we have high levels of incarceration, unemployment, housing issues and entrenched poverty.

It's hard to fathom, but the statistics show that Aboriginal children aged under 14 are 8 times more likely to suicide than their non-Aboriginal counterparts. It's a harsh reality we are all too familiar with.

Tara Callinan: That's why she is working to empower our youth, raise awareness of mental health and instil a sense of hope. 

These Wiradjuri children from Wellington in Central Western NSW are part of a project working to create awareness around mental health through music.

But Professor Dudgeon says there is a lack of culturally appropriate services available for Indigenous youth in regional and remote areas.

Professor Pat Dudgeon: Some places don't even have services and if they do they are only open from nine-to-five so if you want to see change you have to work in partnership and empower the people you are working with.

Tara Callinan: Professor Dudgeon hopes to see more funding put back into Aboriginal prevention programs within the next 12 months.

Tara Callinan, NITV News.


To receive support or talk about an issue, contact:

The Sane Helpline on 1800 187 263.

Lifeline on 131 114.

or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.