New NATSICC council to focus on youth suicide preven on
The 2018 Na onal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) will focus on finding new ways to support rural and regional communi es to prevent youth suicide. The tragedy of youth suicide was a major subject of recent discussions at the Perth Na onal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) Assembly where more than 300 delegates gathered from throughout Australia to explore the theme “Strong Faith – Strong Youth – Strong Future”. NATSICC na onal youth councillor Sabrina-Ann Stevens, aged 27, from Cairns in far North Queensland, said this was a major issue within regional and remote communi es. With the suicide rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples more than twice the rate of non-Indigenous Australians, na onal sta s cs show that ATSI people tend to also take their own lives at younger ages than non-Indigenous Australians, with the majority of suicide deaths occurring before the age of 35. “But many elders are asking me for ideas on how we can get our young people involved in the Church so that they have a sense of belonging and to create a greater sense of community,” Miss Stevens said, “I think if young people had a greater connec on with their spirituality, and their faith, then they can overcome whatever struggles they’re facing because they’re meant for more … a higher purpose within their Indigenous communi es as well as in their faith community. “We’d like to find ways to work closer with exis ng services and support services to improve youth mental health and wellbeing throughout Australia, but really focus in on remote and regional Aboriginal communi es where there is real need for help,” she said.