A spate of suicides across the Northern Territory over the past four weeks has prompted calls for a Senate inquiry into the underlying causes of psychological distress in Aboriginal communities.
Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said more needed to be done to ensure young Indigenous Territorians were not at risk, and to support communities and families affected by suicide.
“Seven young people, some as young as 14, have taken their own lives across the Northern Territory over the last month. As a community we cannot ignore this, we cannot allow these tragic deaths to continue,” Senator Scullion said.
“I will be calling for a Senate inquiry to examine the underlying causes and deliver expert recommendations about the sort of early intervention programs we need to put in place, because the problem is getting worse.
“Late last year the Australian Medical Association released research showing that Indigenous men were nearly three times more likely to be hospitalised for self-harm than non-Indigenous men, and Indigenous women were at even greater risk.
“In response to the findings Federal Minister for Indigenous Health Warren Snowdon said, ‘What I need to emphasise here is that action is being taken,’ yet organisations working to prevent suicide have been unable to obtain Federal funding.
“The Coalition had a $1.5b package for mental health which would have significantly increased funding for frontline suicide prevention programs in the Northern Territory. We will seek every opportunity to progress our policy in the new Parliament.”
A Youth Action Group public rally will be held next Thursday September 30 from 12-2pm at the Northern Territory Parliament House. People who wish to contact the organisers can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senator calls for inquiry into Indigenous suicides 24.9.10.pdf