This page will be updated over the duration of the consultation
How to participate
Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia (GDPSA) have been asked by the Australian Government to renew the 2013 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy (NATSISPS) in consultation with stakeholders and community members.
To that end, GDPSA will be hosting a number of targeted roundtables over late September and October 2020. But we are also keen to hear from individuals and organisations who work, or have an interest, in Indigenous suicide prevention.
To assist, GDPSA have produced a Discussion Paper in which we identify key elements of the NATSISPS for renewal, changes to the policy space since 2013, and questions as to how the NATSISPS could be updated to reflect these changes and otherwise.
As a first round of wider consultation, GDPSA invite submissions against the questions in the Discussion Paper, or in relation to any other element of NATSISPS renewal. The deadline for these is the 31 October 2020.
GDPSA aims to issue a draft strategy for comment in mid-November 2020. There will be a further opportunity to comment at this stage.
- Please find the 2013 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy here
- Please find our Discussion Paper here
- Please make submissions using the Submission Template provided here
- Please send submissions by 31 October 2020 to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ensure your or your organisation’s name and contact details are included with your submission.
What is the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy?
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy (NATSISPS) was released in May 2013. It was developed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts and leaders in mental health and suicide prevention. It contains six Action Areas:
- Building strengths and capacity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
- Building strengths and resilience in individuals and families
- Targeted suicide prevention services
- Coordinating approaches to prevention
- Building the evidence base and disseminating information
- Standards and quality in suicide prevention
Why does it need renewal?
The NATSISPS remains a sound evidence-based strategic response to Indigenous suicide. However, it also responded to a set of circumstances that have changed since 2013, including the following:
- The replacement of Medicare Locals with Primary Health Networks (PHNs) in 2015 and the responsibility for primary mental health care (e.g. provided by GPs) and suicide prevention being given to PHNs in 2016.
- The adoption of ‘integrated approaches’ as the basis of national suicide prevention activity in 2016. An ‘integrated approach’ involves the coordination of multiple evidence-based responses to suicide at the same time in a community, with the understanding that the effect of the combined responses will be greater than that of the individual parts. The reform commenced with the establishment of 16 sites where integrated approaches were trialled, with the Darwin and the Kimberley sites to specifically trial integrated approaches to Indigenous suicide prevention. A number of other trial sites have relevance to Indigenous communities.
- To support the above, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) was established to determine ‘what works’ in Indigenous suicide prevention based in part on evaluated programs. Published in 2016 as Solutions That Work, the project’s work significantly expanded the Indigenous suicide prevention evidence base.
- A further ATSISPEP task was to develop a model for suicide postvention services in Indigenous communities – and that became the National Indigenous Postvention Service.
New policies including:
- The 2017 Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan and Implementation Plan. This included Australian governments’ commitment both to integrated approaches to suicide prevention (as above) and to supporting the implementation of the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration developed by National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH) in 2015.
- The National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing 2017-23.
- The new Closing the Gap Agreement which includes a target to achieve ‘significant and sustained reductions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide towards zero’ over the life of the agreement.
- New national level leadership in suicide prevention through the 2018 National Suicide Prevention Leadership & Support Program (NSPLSP) and with a primary responsibility of supporting PHNs’ work in suicide prevention. The NSPLSP includes the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention
Because of the above changes, Australian governments announced the renewal of the NATSISPS, alongside the development of a new mainstream national suicide prevention plan, in the 2017 Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.
The renewed NATSISPS will preserve the best of the original strategy but will be updated to account for the above changes for implementation over the next decade.
What is Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia and what is its role?
Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia (GDPSA) was established in early 2020 as the new Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention national leadership body. It is governed and controlled by Indigenous experts and peak bodies working in these areas, promoting collective excellence in mental health care and suicide prevention.
The members and directors of Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit Australia) include Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health, the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association, Indigenous Allied Health Australia, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, National Indigenous Postvention Service and the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association.
GDPSA’s Vision is Indigenous leadership, excellence and presence across all parts of the Australian mental health system and the achievement of the highest attainable standard of social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and suicide prevention outcomes for Indigenous peoples. The new body takes its name from the Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Declaration.
GDPSA has been asked by the Australian Governments to renew the NATSISPS and will work closely with the Prime Minister’s National Suicide Prevention Taskforce to ensure that the mainstream and Indigenous specific parts of the overall national suicide prevention policy framework work together, while ensuring some of the different suicide prevention needs and aspirations of Indigenous peoples are recognised and accommodated through a consultation process.
What are the key issues we have initially identified?
Preliminary advice GDPSA have provided to the National Suicide Prevention Taskforce are that there are two priority areas for consideration in NATSISPS renewal:
Establishing Indigenous governance of Indigenous suicide prevention at all levels including the:
- National level - including ensuring consistency of approaches among the States and Territories and coordination and oversight of the national-level support elements of integrated approaches to suicide prevention that regions and communities will rely on.
- Regional level – including the PHN regional level – and of regional activity.
- Community-level - by recognised community leadership mechanisms, including Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.
- Establishing what is important to include in integrated approaches to Indigenous suicide prevention in our communities. In particular, with reference to ATSISPEP’s Solutions That Work report, and the to-be-released learnings from the Indigenous-specific suicide prevention trial sites. This includes consideration of clinical and cultural elements of mental health and suicide prevention service provision.
See our Discussion Paper for more detailed information.