Youth Suicide & Self-harm: Indigenous Voices, Part 1

This ‘Culture is Life’ Campaign video highlights the problem of youth suicide amongst Indigenous people of Australia. Youth suicide is a problem amongst Indigenous peoples of other colonised nations.

Here are some quotes from The Elders Report into Preventing Self-harm & Youth Suicide. This is a seminal report that brings together the voices of Elders and community leaders from across affected communities that wished to speak publicly about the causes and solutions needed to address this issue. These quotes reflect what the Elders see happening on the ground:

“The kids are caught in two worlds. Many of them understand that culture is important, but they live in this Western world, which is about education, employment, and monetary things. A lot of the young ones sit in a state of confusion.

Then we have the intergenerational trauma. Most of them don’t understand why they have to go through this, many of them self-medicate. They turn to gunja and grog to manage the pain or the confusion.

At the end of the day, too many of our young people take their lives to escape the pain. That is the sad reality of what we are dealing with…” David Cole, Central Desert, Northern Territory

“We haven’t been funded because the Government hasn’t been listening to the people on the ground. The Government does consultations, but they go away and the bureaucracy gets a hold of those documents and when it comes back, it’s probably unrecognisable from the interview that was done on the ground.

We have always heard of policy development from the ground up, but in my 25 years working in this area with government and community, I have never seen this happen. I have never seen them take and implement what the community is asking for if it doesn’t fit into the funding guidelines. It’s lost.

So again, we end up with ideas on suicide prevention that come from Canberra and bear no resemblance to what is needed in the community and on the ground.

That is a big frustration. There is funding, but the Government decides how we are going to spend it.” Dean Gooda, Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia

“… The speakers in this Report are calling for urgent understanding and action to improve Indigenous wellbeing in Australia. What we know from decades of experience is that bringing in outsiders does not lead to long term solutions – these can only come from within communities, who need to own and control the healing process.” Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner

> Youth Suicide & Self-harm: Indigenous Voices, Part 2

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