Sui­cide trial fund­ing

Broome Advertiser - - Front Page - Jakeb Wad­dell

New men­tal health projects are set to roll out in the West Kim­ber­ley, as part of a na­tional trial ad­dress­ing the tragic over-rep­re­sen­ta­tion of sui­cide in re­mote and Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties.

Work­ing groups in Broome, Derby and Bidyadanga have been granted $130,000 each to im­ple­ment lo­cally de­vel­oped plans to de­velop and strengthen men­tal well­be­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

The ini­tia­tives are the next step in the Kim­ber­ley Abo­rig­i­nal Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Trial, which was launched by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment in 2016, along with 11 other ar­eas in the na­tion.

An ac­tion group in Broome will in­tro­duce the Wir­riya Liyan pro­ject, mean­ing “feel­ing happy” in Yawuru. It will se­lect com­mu­nity mem­bers with pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence of sui­cide, cul­tural knowl­edge, sto­ries and skills to visit schools and youth cen­tres to con­nect chil­dren with cul­ture and pro­mote pos­i­tive well­be­ing.

A pos­i­tive iden­tity pro­gram is also due to be in­tro­duced in Derby and rolled out via fam­ily fo­rums, work­shops and a lo­cal theme song and pre­ven­tion cam­paign. Bidyadanga will use sport to en­gage com­mu­nity mem­bers, with a bas­ket­ball con­test with life-pro­mot­ing mes­sages planned, along with a camp for young men af­fected by sui­cide.

KASPT co-or­di­na­tor Vicki McKenna, a Yawuru woman, said it was great to see the plans get off the ground.

“If the pas­sion and en­thu­si­asm of the work­ing groups is any­thing to go by, I am con­fi­dent we will see great progress when these ac­tiv­i­ties are eval­u­ated at the end of the trial,” she said. “The ac­tiv­i­ties are de­signed to be sus­tain­able so that even when the trial is over, the com­mu­ni­ties will have de­vel­oped skills that will stand them in good stead.”

Sim­i­lar fund­ing ini­tia­tives are also ex­pected for the Dampier Penin­sula, Fitzroy Cross­ing, Halls Creek, Ku­nunurra, Wyn­d­ham and Balgo.

The Kim­ber­ley trial is led by the WA Pri­mary Health Al­liance and Coun­try WA PHN in part­ner­ship with Kim­ber­ley Abo­rig­i­nal Med­i­cal Ser­vices and the re­gion’s work­ing group.

Out­comes are due to be eval­u­ated by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment in 2020.

Vicki McKenna, cen­tre front, with the Kim­ber­ley Abo­rig­i­nal Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Trial’s Broome com­mu­nity ac­tion group.

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