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.

Resources

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This short resource describes how to have a safe conversation with someone in distress. Source: Everymind

iBobbly is a social and emotional wellbeing self-help app for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over. Using iBobbly for six weeks has been shown to reduce depression, distress and suicidal thinking. Based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and co-designed with young people in the Kimberley, the app helps people to recognise troubling thoughts and responses, and apply more positive thinking and behaviours. Source: Black Dog Institute

This framework supports Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations to improve their cultural security, both for employees and for clients/patients. While developed specifically for the Kimberley, the principles are likely to be valuable in other regions. The framework sets out performance targets under four categories: Professional development of the workforce The workplace environment Care models Systems and processes Source: Kimberley Aboriginal Health Planning Forum

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

Resources for teaching Indigenous and non-Indigenous students from kindergarten to Year 9 about the Stolen Generations and the continuing consequences of colonisation and intergenerational trauma, including: Video interviews with Stolen Generations survivors Lesson plans A home learning kit for students to work with their families Posters and visuals Source: Healing Foundation

Short resource describing the role of the coroner, including after a suicide. The resource covers identification, autopsy, funeral planning, death certification and Aboriginal family liaison. While it relates to Victoria, most content is general in nature and relevant in other states. Source: Coroner’s Court Victoria

Working Together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Principles and Practice

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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Coroner's Court Resources

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