Indigenous suicide prevention service provider Indigenist has been named provider for one of two new community-based suicide prevention programs that will roll out across the Northern Territory.

Part of the Federal Government’s National Suicide Prevention Trial (NSPT), the programs are being coordinated by the Northern Territory Primary Health Network (NT PHN).

Indigenist is set to fund, develop and deliver a program targeting the communities, service providers and families of Indigenous LGBTIQ+ youth in the Greater Darwin region.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ+) Suicide Prevention Awareness Training for Youth Program, is the first of its kind in Australia, according to Indigenist Managing Director and Operator Dameyon Bonson.

Founder of Black Rainbow, a national advocacy platform for Indigenous LGBTIQ+ people, Mr Bonson has extensive experience in navigating the intersections of Indigenous and LGBTIQ+ identities.

“We support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBQTI people through a variety of community projects and initiatives that we have, and continue, to develop. We call these initiatives Contagion of Love projects,” Mr Bonson said.

Mr Bonson was also recognised earlier this year as a role model for young Australians in Amplify’s Young Blood: The New Australians report.

The LGBTIQ+ Suicide Prevention Awareness Training for Youth Program will be codesigned with Indigenous LGBTIQ+ young people, their families and services to create workshops and literature that increases awareness of LGBTIQ+ youth’s needs and experiences.

“This [new program] is a really exciting opportunity to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ+ young people of the Greater Darwin region, and get an insight into their lives and what we as adults can do to support and create safer environments for them to grow up in and excel,” Mr Bonson said.

The program will explore topics such as dual identity – what it means to be an Indigenous LGBTIQ+ young person, the strengths and challenges of this identity, self-harm and suicide risk factors, and tools and behaviours to increase safety for Indigenous LGBTIQ+ young people.

NT PHN CEO, Nicki Herriot said these kinds of programs are an important step toward addressing the high rates of suicide across the Northern Territory.

“We know the devastating impact that suicide has on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, individuals, families and carers, and we’re determined to work with the local community to help prevent self-harm and suicidal behaviour,” Ms Herriot said.

“Under the NSPT, suicide prevention services will adopt a more considered and tailored approach to effectively meet local needs.”

Anglicare NT will deliver the Wellbeing Champions Program during the 2019-2020 AFL season in partnership with AFL Northern Territory (AFL NT).

The program aims to create safe spaces at local football clubs, train local community members on how to talk to young people about wellbeing, address stigma around mental health and promote positive wellbeing strategies.

“The Wellbeing Champions provide a safe avenue for players and club members to access the support they need, whether it’s simply having a chat, seeking advice on available services, or guidance around referral pathways,” Anglicare NT Executive Manager of Mental Health, Jade Gooding said.

Ms Herriot said the NSPT has also developed the Strengthening Our Spirits model in collaboration with community, which maps seven components of a systems-based approach to suicide prevention.

Strengthening Our Spirits model. Photo via NT PHN website.

“It captures the needs, cultural values, and priorities of the Darwin Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community towards effective suicide prevention activity,” Ms Herriot said.

Additional providers for community activities and programs will be announced by NT PHN in the following weeks.

For more information on the Strengthening Our Spirits model, visit: https://www.ntphn.org.au/strengthening-our-spirits.

By Hannah Cross