Expanded suicide prevention services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families

Objective 7.4:

Strengthen integration between services working with Indigenous people

Action 7.4.1:

Strengthen work across services and sectors and between clinical and non-clinical services, including through referral, assessment and joint case management, to ensure holistic, person-centred care that takes into account issues such as transport, housing and income

Note:  This activity also aligns with a number of actions in Chapter 12 – related to Suicide Prevention

As part of the National Suicide Prevention Trial (NSPT), Kurbingui Youth Development Association have been able to extend and expand their services to offer a holistic suicide prevention service to individuals and families.  The service builds upon existing services, and incorporates:

  • an emergency response service
  • a follow-up care service
  • a community wraparound service.

Key Achievements

The development of an appropriate model of care for the suicide prevention service involved considerable liaison with community members and elders, as well as a range of external providers, given that people would be connected with other services.

Over the past 12 months, close to 50 individuals have been supported following a recent suicide attempt.  In the initial instance, individuals are provided an emergency response, assessing their immediate needs, and either providing direct support, or connecting them with other supports.  Following this, Kurbingui provides extensive follow up and wrap-a-round support to the individual and their broader family – acknowledging the impact a suicide attempt has on family and community, and also recognising the protective and beneficial effects that strong connection to family and community have for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Program has seen positive results, with people re-engaging with family, re-connecting with services, re-engaging with schools, and re-connecting with community.

Key Learnings

The NSPT is being evaluated nationally by the University of Melbourne, who have partnered with Thirrili[1] for evaluation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention activities.  Kurbingui have contributed to the evaluation design, via early consultation with the evaluation partners, and are routinely collecting data for the evaluation.

What’s next?

The NSPT is funded nationally until June 2020.  All stakeholders have advocated to the Department of Health for the continuation of the Trial beyond that date – however official advice has not yet been received.

[1] https://thirrili.com.au/

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