A Critical Response Service trialed in WA over the past year will be expanded into the Northern Territory and South Australia this year, says Indigenous Affairs minister Nigel Scullion.
The expansion will be part of a $10 million national roll out of the service over three years which will eventually see it move into the remaining states from 2018.
The Critical Response Service is led by Bunuba and Gija woman Adele Cox from WA’s Kimberley. Ms Cox is a national leader in mental health and suicide prevention.
“Every suicide is a tragedy and the effects on tight-knit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are often more profound – contributing to the clusters of suicide and self-harm that we see,” Mr Scullion said in Groote Eylandt on Monday.
“Suicide rates among Indigenous people are twice the national rate and five times the national rate for young people. For suicide rates to fall it is essential Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can access responsive and culturally-appropriate care – and this is something the Critical Response Service will support.”
Members of the Critical Response Service team make contact with Indigenous families affected by a suicide or a traumatic event and co-ordinate existing support services to ensure they are delivered in a coordinated and culturally appropriate way that best meets the needs of the family.
Ms Cox said the Critical Response Service would support individuals, families and communities and help to lessen the burden felt by so many in their time of need while at the same time contributing to broader suicide-prevention activities.