Suicide trial funding
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.