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Valuable lessons from Indigenous Suicide Prevention Forum

Valuable lessons from Indigenous Suicide Prevention Forum
The Tangentyere Men’s Family Safety Group presented at the forum.

“One life lost to suicide is one life too many.”

This was the key message to come out of last week’s Indigenous Suicide Prevention Forum in Brisbane, which NT PHN attended through our Health Commissioning Lead, Natalie Paris.

Suicide rates in the Territory are the highest in the nation, particularly in our youth and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The NT presents unique challenges for mental health and suicide prevention not seen in other states and territories due to its remoteness, cultural and language diversity, and history. With signification investment in our mental health systems in response to unprecedented demand and calls for system-wide reform, suicide prevention is one of the key priorities the NT PHN.

Through our suicide prevention program, we commission and fund mental health and suicide prevention services throughout the Territory such youth-oriented headspace, triage call centre Connect to Wellbeing, and the new adult drop-in centre Head to Health in Darwin.

But we know there is much more work to be done and that was the aim of Natalie attending the Indigenous Suicide Prevention Forum as well as the Territory-focused Suicide Prevention Forum in Alice Springs.

In Brisbane, the Indigenous Suicide Prevention Forum was facilitated by Australian Indigenous Psychologist’s Association (AIPA) as an opportunity to hear from voices of Indigenous suicide prevention counsellors, community workers, researchers, and cultural healers, on how to build practical programs and skills to help First Nations Australians experiencing mental distress.

Also in attendance was Christine Morgan, CEO of the National Mental Health Commission, who is a passionate leader in mental health reform and committed to listening and responding to the voices and needs of those with lived experience. We look forward to working further with Christine in the future.

Natalie also attended the Alice Springs Suicide Prevention Forum which was organised by the Mental Health Association of Central Australia (MHACA) to hear about suicide prevention work in Central Australia and explore ways for better collaboration on suicide prevention initiatives.

Stakeholders at both forums emphasised the importance of utilising those with lived experience of mental illness, service use and recovery in the co-design and delivery of mental health and suicide prevention programs and services.

With these valuable insights, we aim to build stronger relationships with advocates and people with lived experience to build better mental health and suicide prevention systems that will prevent suicide and improve the mental health of all Territorians.

Learn more about our work in mental health and suicide prevention: https://www.ntphn.org.au/programs/mental-health/

Artist Rachel Apelt from Artbalm put together a graphic recording of the Indigenous Suicide Prevention Forum in Brisbane.

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