The Australian Greens are calling for Federal support for communities in the Kimberley after a spate of Indigenous youth suicides.
“There is an urgent need to ensure that there are on-the-ground counselling and support services to help during the current youth suicide crisis,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Aboriginal Issues spokesperson said today.
“We welcome the fact that the Federal Government has committed to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy in response to the Senate Inquiry into Suicide in Australia.
“When there is a crisis of this nature the evidence tells us that there is a real need for immediate community support to prevent further tragedies and begin the healing process. That has to be the first priority.
“We also need to be providing training and support to those in the local community who are best placed to provide front-line support and reach those most at risk,” said Senator Siewert.
Senator Siewert chaired the Community Affairs Committee inquiry The Hidden Toll: Suicide in Australia and advocated strongly for the development and resourcing of a specific Indigenous strategy.
"We know that mainstream approaches to suicide prevention are not effective in Aboriginal communities, where different risk factors and stresses are involved,” Senator Siewert said.
“We understand that the StandBy Response Service from Broome and other social services in the Fitzroy Crossing area are doing all they can to provide support, and we have nothing but praise for their efforts.
“We are calling on the Federal Government to provide the necessary resources, including a team of counsellors on the ground in Fitzroy Crossing and other parts of the Kimberley to deal with this immediate crisis. The community must also be supported to develop a longer term strategy to tackle the underlying issues across the broader Kimberley region.
“This is an area where the culture is strong, and we are pleased to see that the elders of the affected region are coming together with the support of KALACC to discuss the crisis and provide direction to service providers and government,” she concluded.