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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Exploration and Design

These guidelines were developed for health workers caring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through death and dying. They are not specifically about suicide but include sections on sudden death and coronial investigations, and general explanation and advice to support culturally-responsive care of a dying person and their family. Source: Queensland Health

"An online collection of resources to support the work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander frontline health and wellbeing workforces, including: community health and wellbeing workers mental health workers family support education and youth services. The resources focus on social and emotional wellbeing, access to culture, healing and safety planning."

Orygen partnered with The Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP), which led the co-design process with community using a participatory action research approach. This guide looks at early warning signs of self-harm, factors that may influence young First Nations people to self-harm, and how to get help, including managing a crisis and injuries. Young Aboriginal people in Western Australia co-developed the guide with an Aboriginal expert advisory group, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal health workers, local Elders, and Aboriginal families and communities from across the state. While the guide was co-developed by, and for, Aboriginal people in Western Australia, it may be broadly applicable to First Nations families and communities right across the country.

Suicide is a difficult topic to talk about. Recognising any signs, struggle, and understanding how to help a loved one can be an important part of supporting our mob. Source: 13YARN

This toolkit helps people to recognise and take action where there is a risk of suicide. Source: Lifeline Information Services

Solutions that Work: ATSISPEP Report

Let's yarn about something that can hurt us, our mob and community. Let's talk about the misuse of alcohol and other drugs. It can be a hard thing to talk about and the journey can be long and challenging, but remember with the right support, together we can heal. Source: 13YARN

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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