Aboriginal children between 10 and 14, most likely to take their own lives.

Indigenous suicide rates have been rising for the past two decades – and the group most at risk is children, aged between 10 and 14.

Four out of every five indigenous deaths by suicide are children. Let’s just stop and think about that for a moment . . .

How is this not considered a national emergency?

The Elders’ Report into Preventing Indigenous Self-Harm and Youth Suicide from 2014, emphasised the desperate need for young indigenous people to be able to reconnect with country, with culture, spirituality and ancestry.

But non-indigenous mental health programs are still intervening in community, while Aboriginal initiatives are unsupported.

“We end up with ideas on suicide prevention that come from Canberra and bear no semblance to what is needed in the community and on the ground.” (Dean Gooda)

“Whatever educational programs we have, it is all handed down to us from the upper hand, you know, not coming from bottom-up.” (Lorna Hudson)

Since elders have repeatedly explained that indigenous suicide can be prevented by reconnecting young people with culture, why are we funding non-indigenous interventions, while 10-14 year old Aboriginal children are killing themselves?

I would urge everyone who finds this as disturbing as we do, to write to your local representatives and senators – ask them what they are doing to support Aboriginal communities to tackle suicide rates using Aboriginal knowledge and culture.

You can find their email addresses here: http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members

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(Photograph by Judith Crispin)

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