Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Plan 2021-2025
Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley have long advocated for community-led culturally appropriate strategies and resourcing to reduce self-harm and prevent suicide in the region.
Aboriginal individuals, families, and communities in the Kimberley have long advocated for Aboriginal-led, place-based strategies to reduce and prevent self-harm and suicidal behaviours in the region. Supported by significant investment and long-term commitments, Aboriginal people and communities are best placed to coordinate culturally secure suicide prevention activities which achieve meaningful outcomes. While various commitments have been made and activities undertaken over the years to reduce the impacts of self-harm and suicide for Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley, these have not been designed as a single and cohesive plan for the region.
The Western Australian Mental Health Commission – via its Western Australian Suicide Prevention Framework 2021-25 – has called for the development of a Western Australian Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Strategy prioritising culturally secure approaches to social and emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention, with dedicated regional plans.
This document is the dedicated regional plan for Aboriginal people and communities in the Kimberley region.
The Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Plan (the Plan) identifies a range of practical, place-based approaches to prevent and reduce the impacts of self-harm and suicidal behaviours for Aboriginal people and communities in the Kimberley region. The Plan sets out recommendations, with activities and next steps for implementation.
Many of the recommendations and activities outlined in this Plan are not new. Instead, they draw on the extensive work done by Aboriginal people and communities throughout the Kimberley over many years. These include the Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trial (KASPT), as well as several activities and strategies that have been documented in various reports. These include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
- The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (2017) (ATSISPEP)
- Commitment to Aboriginal Youth Wellbeing (2020)
- The Coroner’s inquest into the deaths of Thirteen Children and Young Persons in the Kimberley Region (2017)
- The Elders’ Report into Preventing Indigenous Self-Harm and Youth Suicide (2014)
- Kimberley Empowered Young Leaders Forums (2019)
- Learnings from the message stick (2016)
- Statement of Intent on Aboriginal youth suicide (2019).
The recommendations and actions outlined in this Plan reflect the extensive work undertaken to inform the many previous strategies, reports and documents that have been developed for the region. They also reflect the feedback received during community consultations in April and May 2021, both online and face-to-face. The Aboriginal Regional Governance Group (ARGG) was established early 2021 as an interim regional governance structure with the collective commitment to come together and guide the development of the Plan.
This Plan is one of many initiatives on foot in the Kimberley, Western Australia and across Australia with the purpose to address the systemic challenges contributing to poor health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal people.
The Plan can be downloaded here.
Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trial – Evaluation Report
The KASPT was a significant exercise that focused on trialling a region-wide approach to reduce the prevalence of self-harm and suicide in the Kimberley. The Trial had an initial investment of $5 million dollars into 45 activities across nine Kimberley communities and numerous region-wide initiatives and involved hundreds of community members in local and regional fora. The Trial also represented the first time that a systems-based approach to reduce self-harm and suicide in Aboriginal Communities adopted the framework articulated in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) report, Solutions that Work: What the Evidence and Our People Tell Us.
In December 2020, Impact Co. was engaged to conduct an evaluation of the Trial. This report contains the key findings from this work.