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 short animated video in Warlpiri 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

A series of videos from Yarns Heal campaign ambassadors: Actor and comedian Steven Oliver, who talks about self-acceptance especially during dark times Source: Yarns Heal - funded by Brisbane North PHN

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

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

This fact sheet discusses mental health and wellbeing challenges, and how young people can look after themselves and seek support when they need it. Source: Headspace

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.

Young People

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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 connecting to culture even when someone is not on their traditional Country.

Payten Thorne talks about the role of creativity - photography and drawing - in supporting her wellbeing. Source: Desert Pea Media/WNSWPHN

Short resource about strength, healing and supporting younger generations Source: Trauma & Grief Network

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. Song that emphasises the importance of the environment and caring for Country.

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.

These videos aim to promote the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal children. Each animation provides a story that highlights key messages about the day-to-day caring of Aboriginal children’s wellbeing by parents, families and communities. Source: Kids Matter

Short film about an Aboriginal boy who is dealing with depression as a result of his cousin’s suicide, and how he finds help. Source: Mental Health First Aid Australia

Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people describe how racism affects them. Source: Headspace

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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This fact sheet shows how alcohol and different drugs can affect wellbeing, and how to seek help. Source: Headspace

This is a collection of conversation guides, posters and video stories under the headline: “Ask Your Mob, In Your Way, R U OK?” Sign up with an email address and phone number to get immediate access to all the downloads, which support people to have conversations with family members, friends and others who may be struggling. Source: RUOK

Short film about an Aboriginal boy who is dealing with depression as a result of his cousin’s suicide, and how he finds help. Source: Mental Health First Aid Australia

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

This short resource gives advice to families, friends and community leaders about how to support someone who has been bereaved by suicide. Source: Everymind

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. My Grandfather TL – Simone Andy: Simone’s memories of her 'war veteran' grandfather, and her own journey in trying to piece together more about his life. Source: Sista Girl Productions/Australian Centre for the Moving Image/VicHealth

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

Aunty Anne Dennis joins the dots between the decimation of Aboriginal culture, and the impact of grief and trauma on Aboriginal people’s day-to-day lives. She talks about improving social and emotional wellbeing by reintroducing cultural knowledge back into young people’s lives. Source: Desert Pea Media

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

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 youth from the Kuku Ya'u community on the East Coast of Cape York.

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

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

This evaluation framework is based on the principles described in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP). It is designed to evaluate suicide prevention activities that are already underway, and to provide guidance around evaluation while in the planning stages. Note: This 2017 resource is under review Source: Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention

This short resource gives advice to families, friends and community leaders about how to support someone who has been bereaved by suicide. Source: Everymind

Sisters Nerida and Roxanne Lorde talk about their strong bond in the face of the deaths of many family members, and how they find peace amid their grief. Source: Desert Pea Media/WNSWPHN

This video was driven by key figures in the communities of Galiwin’ku and Milingimbi, telling the story in Djambarrpuynu of how music, dancing and singing can improve mental health for Yolgnu people by sustaining identity and resilience. Source: EG Productions commissioned by the former NT Medicare Local

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