7 December 2023

Suicide prevention trial to focus on helping Coen

| Matt Nicholls
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The state government will spend more than $2 million over two years to trial and evaluate a comprehensive, sustainable, and culturally responsive suicide prevention trial in Coen and three other First Nations communities in the Far North.

Widely accepted as a vital component of suicide prevention, postvention is the support and help provided to bereaved families and communities after a person dies by suicide.

Indigenous suicide postvention service, Thirrili Ltd, will deliver the trial in Coen using principles of self-determination, allowing communities to identify the most appropriate responses based on their specific local needs.

The suicide rate among First Nations Queenslanders is twice that of non-Indigenous Queenslanders, with the intergenerational impacts of trauma, colonisation and racism are known as contributing factors.

Coen was chosen for the trial after a spate of recent suicides and attempted suicides.

The trial will complement other community supports currently available, including fly-in/fly-out health and mental health services provided by the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service, Royal Flying Doctors Service and Apunipima.

Thirrili Ltd is also working with community leaders to give them the skills and ongoing mentoring support to be able to intervene early in distress, identify people at risk, and provide timely support to prevent suicide.

The three other communities will be identified for the trial through a collaborative process that also considers the social and emotional wellbeing and suicide response needs of each community.

“Woven into our approach is a holistic understanding of health and wellbeing that includes our relationship with Country, family, community, and Cultural health. Alongside an in-depth understanding of how First Nations people connect with support services,” said Thirrili executive Marnie Weule.

“In this way we bring together the cultural knowledge and expertise of First Nations people to understand and address trauma and loss, and to reduce suicide.”

The trial has been backed by local leaders in Coen, as well as Cook Shire Council.

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Suicide Call Back Service
1300 659 467
Beyond Blue
1300 224 636

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