National action on Indigenous mental illness and suicide prevention

The Hon. Greg Hunt MP

Minister for Health

 Minister Assisting the Prime Minister

for the Public Service and Cabinet

 

The Hon. Ken Wyatt MP

Minister for Indigenous Australians

 

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

The Morrison Government is investing over $5.5 million in an approach that will help two of the nation’s leading mental health organisations reduce suicide rates and improve mental health outcomes for First Australians.

 

Tomorrow is World Suicide Prevention Day and this is an opportunity to raise awareness of suicide prevention and to shine a light on this enormous tragedy.

 

In 2017, the suicide death rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was twice that for non-Indigenous people.

 

Suicide accounts for 40 per cent of all deaths of Indigenous children - one life lost to suicide is one too many.

 

The Government is investing $4.5 million in Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia to deliver a national plan for culturally appropriate care and make suicide prevention services available and accessible to First Australians no matter where they live.

 

Proud Spirit will provide support in times of need with:

 

·       A dedicated senior suicide prevention officer

·       the inclusion of a government and a Primary Health Network (PHN) liaison officer, to ensure Proud Spirit connects to all Australian governments and PHNs

·       a representative of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation so Proud Spirit links to mental health and health services

·       a community partnerships officer, to connect Proud Spirit to Indigenous communities, including people with lived experience of suicide, members of the Stolen Generations, youth and Indigenous LGBTIQ people.

 

In addition, we are investing $963,000 to establish the Centre of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience Mental Illness and Suicide Network.

 

The Black Dog Institute and the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention at the University of Western Australia, will work together to deliver this initiative.

 

These organisations will:

 

·       Provide the means for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with lived experience of mental illness and suicide to contribute to and engage with policy and program development, leading to an increase in self-determination and empowerment 

·       support organisations to provide culturally appropriate mental health and suicide prevention programs and services to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 

In the 2019–20 Budget, the Morrison Government boosted funding for Indigenous-specific health initiatives to $4.1 billion over four years to 2022-23.

 

Our Government is committed to investing in mental health services for all Australians. It is a key pillar of our Long Term National Health Plan.