Dr Mandy Gibson
Implications for suicide prevention strategies with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
In Queensland, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people die at over twice the rate of non-Indigenous Australians, with young people most acutely overrepresented. First Nations young people die by suicide at over four times the rate of their non-Indigenous peers, comprising a third of the state's youth suicides.
While there exists a clear need to understand current mortality trend data, it has been argued that continuing to present disparities without exploring potential protective patterns contributes to deficit approaches and hinders the identification of effective strengths-based solutions. Although academic institutes and governments have, for decades, released mortality reports outlining this overrepresentation borne by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, this data has not been used to identify protective pathways for First People or to highlight stories of Indigenous resilience to recognise what may be currently effective.
This session will present initial findings from an ongoing study using Queensland Suicide Registry (QSR) mortality data to identify potential protective effects within geographic variations in First Nations suicide rates.
The study to date has examined 1) Associations between suicide rates and the community-level cultural connectedness indicators, including rates of Indigenous language use and access to culturally-specific health services, and cultural aspects of community social capital; and 2) Interaction effects of community-level culturally-specific protective factors to provide resilience against suicide rates within regions with greater environmental and social risk factors, including socio-economic disadvantage, rates of reported racial discrimination, and remoteness.
The presentation will discuss challenges of using a state-wide dataset on a sensitive topic which impacts families and communities across Queensland. Future research directions and implications of study findings on suicide prevention policy and practice within communities will also be explored.