Manual of Resources for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention

Individuals, Families, Peers, Elders & Communities

Resources for Social & Emotional Wellbeing Self-Support

Community is central to the social and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous people.
In consultations to develop this section of the Manual, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people told us that connection to community and culture provides belonging and meaning, and can foster resilience, which helps with coping during tough times.

People also said that in a crisis they would often prefer to manage the issue by themselves, or seek support from a friend, family member or Elder, rather than accessing formal, clinical supports.

That means Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people need advice to assist them to manage their own wellbeing, or to support others. This can include practical strategies that may help with immediate distress, or advice on what kind of services may be able to help, and how to find them.

It is important to recognise that sometimes a mental health or wellbeing crisis may need a more urgent intervention. At the top of every page within the Manual there are links to crisis support services.

The following resources have been selected because they:

  • were developed by, with and for Indigenous people
  • are accessible, free to use, and do not require professional training
  • have been reviewed to ensure they are current and culturally safe and appropriate.

The resources include checklists and support strategies, and multimedia resources such as videos and podcasts.
Some were produced within particular cultural contexts, or for groups including youth. These are clearly labelled.

Individuals

These resources are designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to manage their own mental health and social and emotional wellbeing.

In consultation meetings for the Manual, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people told us these resources were important, but they emphasised that social and emotional wellbeing is all about connection to community, and people should always reach out for support rather than trying to manage alone.

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This short resource gives advice about how to heal through sharing stories of grief and loss. Source: Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (South Australia)

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

Financial stress refers to the anxiety and pressure individuals experience when they struggle to meet their monetary obligations, be it short-term expenses or long-term debts. Source: 13YARN

This short animated video in Arrernte language describes feelings of distress and how to offer and seek support. Source: Mental Health Association of Central Australia

Yarning about Mental Health These videos from Menzies School of Health Research, contains strength-based messages around mental health and wellbeing. It also highlights the importance of culture, family and community in maintaining good mental health and provides tools that can be used to promote wellbeing. The video was developed with First Nations Australians in the Northern Territory.

In this video Ngiyampaa artist Sara Richards talks about the role of art-making in connecting with her culture and supporting her social and emotional wellbeing, and describes the process of developing an artwork for Capital Health’s (ACT PHN) Cultural Competency Framework. Source: Capital Health (ACT PHN)

Grief is an emotional response to loss, which might include the death of a loved one, loss of health, ending of a relationship, loss of a job, or a loss of cultural connection, such as moving off country. It is important to acknowledge and express those feelings without judgement. Source: 13YARN

A series of videos from Yarns Heal campaign ambassadors: Ross, a cultural leader who talks about connection to country for young people Source: Yarns Heal - funded by Brisbane North PHN

Young People

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This app presents two animated stories to help children and teenagers understand and respond to bullying. Source: Menzies School of Health Research Centre for Child Development and Education, with Northern Territory PHN

Yarn up is a safe space for First Nations young people to connect with community, hear from others, and access wellbeing resources and support. It has been co-designed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and young First Nations people, and includes: - videos about social and emotional wellbeing and community connection - strategies for self-care when people are feeling not good - cartoons for younger kids. Many of these resources are also included individually within the Manual of Resources. Source: ReachOut Australia

Desert Pea Media – Music Videos Desert Pea Media works with Indigenous young people in regional and remote areas, using storytelling and audio-visual media to promote social and cultural dialogue, responding to issues including intergenerational trauma, suicide, unemployment and incarceration. An anthem for the people of the Yaegl Nation in northern NSW, about respecting culture and tradition, recognising the impacts of history, and working together to heal.

A series of videos from Yarns Heal campaign ambassadors: Tiahni, youth ambassador, talks about family, community and empowerment Source: Yarns Heal - funded by Brisbane North PHN

About connection and resilience. Source: Kids Matter

This fact sheet describes what good relationships look like, and how to seek support when things don’t go well. Source: Headspace

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 short film explores the positive influences of music on social and emotional wellbeing and features music from the Kututu Wattleseeds musical collaboration. Source: Mental Health Association of Central Australia

Families, Friends & Elders

These resources are intended for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to support others, with strategies to help people through tough times and advice about when and how to seek additional assistance.

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Yarning about Mental Health These videos from Menzies School of Health Research, contains strength-based messages around mental health and wellbeing. It also highlights the importance of culture, family and community in maintaining good mental health and provides tools that can be used to promote wellbeing. The video was developed with First Nations Australians in the Northern Territory.

Sam describes overcoming mental illness as a battle that requires determination to avoid negative thought cycles. He talks about the value of exercise, diet, discipline, communication and relaxation in achieving “the greatest victory that any of us can achieve in our lifetime”. Source: Desert Pea Media/WNSWPHN

The Break It Down video project, with youth in North Queensland, includes original music and stories of cultural connection from five communities. All the videos are also available through the Hitnet kiosk and wifi service for remote communities which may not have regular internet access. Break It Down is a project of North Queensland Primary Health Network, with Desert Pea Media. Short film about the 2004 death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee, narrated by his family and Bwgcolman community members, describing the impact on the community and their strength, connection and healing.

This fact sheet gives advice to families when there has been a suicide at school, including how their child might react, how to support them and how to seek help for individuals and communities. Source: headspace

Interview with Paul Callaghan, author, consultant and proud Worimi man from Port Stephens in NSW, who shares his lived experience of depression, and discusses the importance of connection to Aboriginal culture and spirituality for his wellbeing. Source: Black Dog Institute

Short video documentary featuring Indigenous NRL players, community leaders and people with lived experience of suicide. Source: Queensland and Aboriginal and Islander Health Council

George’s goal is to provide the kids of his community with direction, while emphasising cultural wisdom and respect for Country, to prevent them from going down the tough path that he has walked before. Source: Desert Pea Media/WNSWPHN

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

Communities

These resources can help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, community leaders and organisations to plan community-level responses that promote social and emotional wellbeing and support people in crisis.

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Video discussion of how to support the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people involved in the criminal justice system, based on the Journey Home program from Forensic Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) in South Australia, featuring: - Jamie Sorby – Kamileroi woman, Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing worker - Sharmaine Williams – Bidjara Gunggari woman, Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing worker - Curtis Falla – Kaurna Narungga man, Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing worker - Marshall Watson – Noongar man, Child and Adolescent Forensic Psychiatrist Source: Orygen Youth Health

The Break It Down video project, with youth in North Queensland, includes original music and stories of cultural connection from five communities. All the videos are also available through the Hitnet kiosk and wifi service for remote communities which may not have regular internet access. Break It Down is a project of North Queensland Primary Health Network, with Desert Pea Media. Short film about the experiences of a young man, finding strength in the transition to fatherhood.

Glossary of Healing Terms

In this video Ngiyampaa artist Sara Richards talks about the role of art-making in connecting with her culture and supporting her social and emotional wellbeing, and describes the process of developing an artwork for Capital Health’s (ACT PHN) Cultural Competency Framework. Source: Capital Health (ACT PHN)

A collection of inspirational postcards for printing, that describe elements of social and emotional wellbeing. Source: Evolve Therapeutic Services

This clinical protocol aims to reduce deliberate self-harm and suicidal behaviour by ensuring that people at risk are able to access consistent levels of support across the Kimberley, including: Appropriate screening and assessment Effective follow-up and safety planning. The protocol recognises the role in suicide and self-harm of historical and current trauma, grief and loss, racism, child abuse and neglect, cultural breakdown, family and domestic violence, homelessness, poverty and sexual assault. It provides additional guidance on drug or alcohol dependence, acknowledging the complexities of supporting Indigenous people who experience these issues after an episode of self-harm. Source: Kimberley Aboriginal Health Planning Forum

A resource for people who have lost someone to suicide, covering practical and financial issues and well as psychological adjustment, and inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Source: WA Mental Health Commission

Interview with Paul Callaghan, author, consultant and proud Worimi man from Port Stephens in NSW, who shares his lived experience of depression, and discusses the importance of connection to Aboriginal culture and spirituality for his wellbeing. Source: Black Dog Institute

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