Working Together to Keep Each Other Safe

Central Australian community members are encouraged to continue ‘Working Together to Keep Each Other Safe’ as part of World Suicide Prevention Day, Thursday 10th September 2020.

The Mental Health Association of Central Australia (MHACA), in partnership with Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Congress), National indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA), Drug and Alcohol Services Australia (DASA), and Tangentyere Council are hosting a community event to highlight the important role of communities working together in suicide prevention.

The impacts of suicide in our communities are far reaching. 3,046 people took their own lives in Australia in 2018 and the Northern Territory has the highest rates of suicide in the country. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people die by suicide at twice the rate of non-Aboriginal people, and this concerning issue has drawn local organisations together to provide a whole of community focus on keeping people safe for World Suicide Prevention Day

“This year’s global theme highlights the most essential ingredient for effective suicide prevention – collaboration. MHACA is committed to working with other local organisations to bring awareness to this issue and work collaboratively on regional suicide prevention strategies,” said Merrilee Cox, CEO MHACA.

“In reducing the number of people who die by suicide we also need to consider influencing factors such as housing, employment, social justice issues, family breakdown, poverty, discrimination and the impact of trauma. Whilst not all suicides are preventable, working collaboratively to support individuals and communities at risk is a key factor in suicide prevention work.”

“The loss of our people to suicide has devastating and long-lasting effects on families, friends and communities,” said Donna Ah Chee, CEO of Central Australian Aboriginal Congress.

“Everyone has a role in reducing the rate and impact of suicide in our community, it is not something that can be achieved by a single agency or government body. Local people are best placed to determine what is needed for their community. Aboriginal-led suicide prevention efforts must be integrated with government level responses to address the systemic determinants of poor health and wellbeing for Aboriginal people that contribute to a widespread and pervasive sense of hopelessness, rather than simply treating the symptomatic individual.

“Days like this are also useful to remind us as friends and family, of the importance of connecting with each other. When we are worrying for someone, we need to remember how to listen deeply, and to walk with that person toward the help that is there for them,” said Donna Ah Chee.

“The World Suicide Prevention Day event is about our mob supporting each other to prevent suicide. We invite people to come, listen to the speakers and hear about the ways we can continue to work together to keep each other safe,” said Anthony Bell, Senior Advisor Central Australia, National Indigenous Australians Agency.

Community members are invited to come together and remember those who have died by suicide, acknowledge those who have lost loved ones and hear about the work that is being done to keep people safe 11am Thursday 10th September, Alice Springs Council Chamber Lawns. There will be speakers, a musical performance and a community BBQ.