Manual of Resources for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention

Clinicians & Front-line Workers

Resources for Clinicians & Front-line Workforces

Clinicians, including psychologists, psychiatrists, emergency medicine specialists, GPs and nurses, have important roles to play in supporting the mental health and social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and in preventing suicide.

Other front-line workers who provide services to Indigenous people can also make essential contributions. Social workers, youth workers, and any staff who support community programs and services, need to understand how Indigenous people may exhibit distress and how to respond to individuals, families and whole communities.

For some professionals, supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s mental health and social and emotional wellbeing will be part of their education, training and supervision. For many others, their development in these domains will occur in the workplace, with limited formal oversight.

All workforces need to understand how to work with Indigenous people in a culturally responsive and safe way that supports positive and trusting relationships.

This section of the Manual includes resources that apply in all these situations.


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A collection of resources for people and agencies working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, to help advise them about safe and appropriate online interactions. These co-designed videos and posters address topics including: Bullying Sexting Respect Source: eSafety Commissioner

This fact sheet aims to provide a basic understanding of psychotic illnesses, recognising what it looks and feels like, and offering coping strategies within our different cultural contexts. Source: 13YARN

This fact sheet shares some types of things that might make us worry or feel 'anxious', and ways that respect our culture for dealing with these worries and feelings. Source: 13YARN

Nathan Sutherland - one of only two hundred psychologists in Australia who identify as Aboriginal - talks about how to seek support from friends, family, community and healthcare professionals. Source: Desert Pea Media/WNSWPHN

This short resource can help people think through their alcohol and drug use and find help if they need it. Source: Menzies School of Health Research Aboriginal and Islander Mental Health Initiative (AimHi)

Evidence-based practice resource which links approaches to engagement and support with a discussion of the evidence for them. Source: Orygen Youth Health

Exploration and Design

Continuing professional development webinar for mental health and other clinicians featuring: Marshall Watson – Noongar man and psychiatrist Louis Peachey – Djabugay man and rural generalist Jeff Nelson – Indigenous psychologist Source: Mental Health Professionals Network

Policies & Position Statements

From Clinical and Peak Groups

This section of the Manual outlines the policies and positions of key groups in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s mental health and social and emotional wellbeing, highlights the commitments of these groups to improving outcomes for Indigenous people, and describes the expectations on their members.

Professional bodies and sector peak organisations have a strong influence on how their members practise. This is true at an individual level, in terms of professional standards and continuing professional development. It also applies at an organisational level, as service providers influence and are influenced by the collective decisions of peak groups.

Australia has multiple Indigenous organisations which focus holistically on the health, mental health and social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and/or on the education and employment of Indigenous people in health professions.

Mainstream clinical professional representative organisations may be less focused on and/or less capable in supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The intersection between clinical and cultural support may sometimes be a particular challenge for mainstream clinicians.

Published policies and positions with regard to the mental health and social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from both groups are summarised here.

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The LIME Network advocates for improved teaching and learning about Indigenous health in medical schools, as well as for best practice in the recruitment and retention of Indigenous medical students and trainees.

The Australian College of Emergency Medicine, which represents emergency department doctors, notes that Indigenous people use Emergency Departments almost twice as frequently as non-Indigenous people - representing 3 per cent of the population but 5.6 per cent of ED visits.

The RANZCP’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Committee includes Indigenous psychiatrists, non-Indigenous psychiatrists who work closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, and Indigenous community members who work in mental health service provision and policy development.

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention leadership body. It is governed and controlled by Indigenous experts and peak bodies working in these areas, promoting collective excellence in mental health care.

Human Services Standards Evidence Guide

Implementing Integrated Suicide Prevention in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities

Guidelines for Best Practice Psychosocial Assessment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People Presenting to Hospital with Self-harm and Suicidal Thoughts

Cultural Respect Framework 2016-2026 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Coroner's Court Resources


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