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 checklist can help people think about when to seek help. Source: Menzies School of Health Research Aboriginal and Islander Mental Health Initiative (AimHi)

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

This podcast series features conversations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about their experiences, roles and achievements. It is hosted by writer and broadcaster Marlee Silva, a proud Gamilaroi and Dunghutti woman born and raised on Dharrawal country, south of Sydney. Episode 11 is Coming Out Blak, with Matika Little and Courtney Hagen, who are black, gay and proud. Connected online through their common experiences of being Aboriginal and identifying as lesbian, they have built a platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQIA+voices on Instagram @comingoutblak. In this podcast they share their own experiences, discuss the issues that matter to them and offer solidarity to people struggling with their sexual identity. Source: Marlee Silva

Will Hill talks about his experience of reaching out to Elders, finding strength in culture, and recovering from depression and thoughts of suicide. Source: Desert Pea Media/WNSWPHN

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

13YARN has developed a range of fact sheets to provide you with information and assistance during challenging times. Look through the fact sheets by topic and download any fact sheet that may be helpful for your situation. Source: 13YARN

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)

Young People

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This podcast series features conversations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about their experiences, roles and achievements. It is hosted by writer and broadcaster Marlee Silva, a proud Gamilaroi and Dunghutti woman born and raised on Dharrawal country, south of Sydney. Episode 11 is Coming Out Blak, with Matika Little and Courtney Hagen, who are black, gay and proud. Connected online through their common experiences of being Aboriginal and identifying as lesbian, they have built a platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQIA+voices on Instagram @comingoutblak. In this podcast they share their own experiences, discuss the issues that matter to them and offer solidarity to people struggling with their sexual identity. Source: Marlee Silva

About connection and resilience. Source: Kids Matter

This fact sheet looks at the stresses young people experience – including school, work and family stresses – and gives advice about seeking help. Source: Headspace

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. Music video featuring the Bowen Connection group of Juru and South Sea Islander young people in the Bowen region.

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 speaking traditional language as a way of connecting with Country, culture and ancestors.

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. Hip hop anthem celebrating the resilience and strength of the Wiradjuri People from the Central West of NSW, addressing issues including The Stolen Generations, racism, family violence, grief and trauma. Source: Desert Pea Media/WNSWPHN

A series of videos from Yarns Heal campaign ambassadors: Merle, an aunty and educator, talks about acceptance and the need to reach out for support in community Source: Yarns Heal - funded by Brisbane North PHN

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 importance of traditional dance, music, arts and corroboree.

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

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.

This short animated video in Pitjantatjara 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.

Eliza Packham has learned to speak openly about the trauma in her life, saying no to shame and sharing her experience to grow stronger and encourage others to do the same. Source: Desert Pea Media/WNSWPHN

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.

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.

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)

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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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 Powerpoint presentation describes the roles of language and culture in the social and emotional wellbeing of people in the East Kimberley. From a 2019 Empowered Communities workshop. Source: Binarri Binyja Yarrawoo

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

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

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

Fractured: Broken Ties, Reclaimed Lives These short videos describe the effect of removal from families on the Stolen Generations, and introduces the Link-Up service to reunite families. The Fractured project engaged Indigenous young people and their communities in producing images to reflect the strengths and participation of community members in everyday life. The stories are intended to challenge discrimination and racism and their effect on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Victimised/Assimalised/Correctionalised – Howard Edwards: Howard’s memories of being removed from his family, activism for Aboriginal people in Melbourne in the 1970s and 80s, and his work in community radion.

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.

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.

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