This resource sheet provides a review of policies and programs that aim to prevent suicide and suicidal behaviour. Suicidal behaviour refers to actions that can result in death, such as taking an overdose or deliberately crashing a car. The scope of this resource sheet does not include self-injury that is part of the cultural grieving process (‘sorry business’).
While it is known that high levels of mental health and wellbeing decrease the risk of suicide, programs to promote mental health and wellbeing are also not considered in this resource sheet, as they are the subject of a separate resource sheet Strategies and practices for promoting the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Effective mental health promotion programs include cultural healing programs, culturally appropriate mental health services and the Indigenous Hip Hop program. Also important are Indigenous adaptations of effective mainstream programs such as the Resourceful Adolescent Program, MindMatters (a mental health promotion program for secondary schools) and the Triple P-Positive Parenting Program.
Suicide is strongly associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs. Strategies to reduce alcohol and other drug-related harm are also not included as they are the subject of a separate resource sheet Reducing alcohol and other drug related harm.
This resource sheet considers suicide prevention policies and programs that have been implemented in both remote and non-remote parts of Australia and internationally. It assesses their strengths and limitations and their actual, or likely, effectiveness in relation to Indigenous Australians.