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Suicide prevention trial for Kimberley region

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The Government has announced a landmark suicide prevention trial site in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia, where suicide rates are more than six times the national average.

It will be one of 12 trial sites around the nation and is part of a $192 million suicide prevention package promised before the July Federal election.

Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, said the trial would help develop a model of suicide prevention which could be tailored to the unique and often culturally sensitive requirements of communities.

“We must, as a nation, address the tragic over-representation of suicide rates in remote and indigenous communities such as the Kimberley,” Ms Ley said.

The Country WA Primary Health Network will commission the trial, which has been welcomed by Black Rainbow, the newly-formed peak body tackling suicide in the Indigenous lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender and intersex (LGBQTI) community.

Black Rainbow CEO Dameyon Bonson, who is based in Broome, said that for far too long the Kimberley had weathered the high rates of Indigenous suicide.

“What we know nationally is that Indigenous Australians are 2.5 times more likely to die by suicide, and LGBQTI Australians are up to 14 times more likely to do so,” Mr Bonson said.

“These figures place Indigenous LGBQTI people at an astronomically heightened risk of suicide and self harm – we are talking up to 35 times more likely.

“It is hoped that all of the 12 selected sites are responsive to the needs of Indigenous LGBQTI people.”

Maria Hawthorne