Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are identified as a priority population for suicide prevention in Australia.
It is important to acknowledge that the histories of resistance and resilience are as much part of Aboriginal culture and identity, as are the experiences of devastation.
Suicide, suicidal ideation and self-harm are critically important and preventable public health issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Consideration of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples must be situated within a context that recognises the impact of racism, a history of colonisation, dispossession and polices of exclusion and child removal and the social and economic disadvantage many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience.
The National Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP) is located at the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at the University of Western Australia (UWA). CBPATSISP aims to reduce the causes, prevalence and impact of suicide on Indigenous individuals, families and communities (with a focus on at risk groups) by identifying, translating and promoting the adoption of best practice in Indigenous specific suicide prevention activity, including that which is found in new and emerging domestic and international research.
CBPATSISP is funded by the Australian Government under Activity three of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) was established to evaluate the effectiveness of existing suicide prevention services and programs.
Understanding Social and Emotional Wellbeing
Most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples prefer the term social and emotional wellbeing as it fits well with a holistic view of health. In broad terms, social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) is the foundation for physical and mental health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is a holistic concept which results from a network of relationships between individuals, family, kin and community. It also recognises the importance of connection to land, culture, spirituality and ancestry, and how these affect the individual.
There are unique aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture that can have a significant influence on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and that enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to maintain spirituality central to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander notion of health. Connection to land, spirituality and ancestry, kinship networks, and cultural continuity are commonly identified as important health protecting factors.