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.

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.

Protective factors

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.

In this section

What we know about suicide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

An overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide in Australia

Risk of suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

A broad overview of the complex factors that heighten the risk of suicide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.