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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Youth praised for efforts to reduce deaths

Date posted: 12 September 2017

Last month two young Kimberley people were singled out for their work in helping reduce the high suicide rate among Aboriginal and Torres Strait people in the north west region of Western Australia.

During the suicide prevention roundtable in Broome last month, Federal Indigenous Health Minister, Ken Wyatt, praised a presentation by Kimberley Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Forum members Jacob Corpus, 20, of Broome and 19-year-old Montana Ahwon from Kununurra.

Mr Wyatt said young people must be supported to play key roles in reducing suicide.

'Both Montana and Jacob are incredible and inspiring young leaders who have helped identify key factors that impact on Kimberley youth, which the steering committee will now consider,' he said. 'I will also encourage relevant Commonwealth and State organisations to ensure they include young Aboriginal people on advisory groups to help empower them to take up future leadership roles.' 

Mr Wyatt said he would co-chair a new steering committee working with local Aboriginal communities and said the suicide prevention meeting was important in establishing a strong working partnership between local Aboriginal communities and the Commonwealth, especially through younger people.

The youth forum recommendations included support for emerging young leaders, positive role models and mentoring, the teaching in school of local culture and country traditions, the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and the importance of resilience and strong youth engagement and networking through sports, arts and local cultural activities.

The roundtable also heard of the need for community-run 'safe houses' for young people and the potential positive effects of having pairs of youth coordinators employed by Aboriginal community groups in towns across the Kimberley.

The steering committee will be co-chaired by Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service Deputy Chief Executive Rob McPhee and will report to the Kimberley Suicide Prevention Working Group.

Source: The West Australian


Last updated: 12 September 2017
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