With this year's theme of World Suicide Prevention Day being "Creating hope through action," South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council chairperson Megan Krakouer is leading a push to raise awareness in Indigenous communities.
Ms Krakouer has worked for a decade in suicide postvention and prevention.
Suicide is the leading cause of death of First Nations people under 40 and almost all First Nation deaths by suicide involve individuals who were living below the poverty line.
To mark World Suicide Prevention Day, SWALSC encourages the Noongar community, and all First Nations people, to reach out to those around us and offer love and support to people who are struggling.
Ms Krakouer, who is also the Director of the National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project, said suicide is "the most pressing issue that affects our people".
"This needs to be prioritised by this nation, by every government in this country, before all other issues," she said.
According to the Indigenous mental health and suicided prevention website, data from 2017–2021 show the rate for suicide among Indigenous Australians is twice the rate of non-Indigenous Australians.
In 2021, suicide was the fifth-leading cause of death among Indigenous Australians, and the 15th leading cause of death for non-Indigenous Australians. It was also the leading cause of death for Indigenous Australians aged 15–44 years. In 2021, 196 Indigenous Australians died by suicide.
The data also included that from 2017–2021 the suicide rate was highest in Western Australia out of all states and territories.
An important step towards suicide prevention and mental wellbeing is connection to community and it's one of the seven domains of social and emotional wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Social and emotional wellbeing is a holistic way of looking at relationships between individuals, family, kin and community in the context of land, culture, spirituality and ancestry.
There are support services that can provide much-needed help to people in need. If you know someone who needs support, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project, call 13YARN (139 276), the 24/7 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander crisis support line, or contact your local community services.