The recent child and youth suicides in our communities are a tragedy. Five young Indigenous Queenslanders have taken their lives this month. This adds to a spate of child deaths in Adelaide and Western Australia in January.
There is nothing new about Indigenous child suicide. In 2017 it was the leading cause of death among our children aged 5 to 17. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people account for just 2.8% of the population, but over the past five years, one in every four Australian children who died by suicide was Indigenous.
There is something especially shocking about the suicide of a child for whom life was just beginning. It indicates serious underlying issues in our society, and our children are reacting to their environment. We need to act now to prevent as many potential child suicides as possible in our communities.