Australian non-profit suicide prevention organisation R U OK has developed new resources with members of Arrernte, Luritja, Pitjantjatjara and Warlpiri Communities, so important conversations can be had in language.
It’s the next step of R U OK’s First Nations program “Stronger Together” so communities can ask in their own way “R U OK?”
Nationally 9.5 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people speak an Indigenous language at home, and the proportion is the highest in the Northern Territory with 58.5 per cent.
Stronger Together’s Advisory Board Chair Dr. Vanessa Lee-Ah Mat says the Northern Territory was also chosen because of higher number of suicides among First Nations people.
National data collected from 2017-2021 shows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people die from suicide at twice the rate of non-Indigenous people.
Suicide is the fifth largest cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the 15th leading cause of death for non-Indigenous Australians.
Dr. Lee-Ah Mat says starting conversations early can prevent issues spiraling in the future.
“We know that starting conversations early can help prevent small problems from growing into big ones.
We need our mob to know that they already have what it takes to ask the question in their way,” She said.
Dr. Lee-Ah Mat says the program gives everyone the opportunity to take part in important conversations while embracing culture.
“We need to stand up and support each other and make sure we’ve got each other’s backs.
And that is what this stronger campaign is saying, we all know how to have a conversation, let’s keep the conversations going … let’s not be shamed, let’s talk in our languages and let’s check in with each other and say ‘are you okay? which way? what’s going on?'”
“Stronger Together” resources can be found at RUOK.org.au
If you need someone to speak to: Call 13YARN 13 92 76 – free 24/7 confidential crisis support line for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Listen to the full interview with Stronger Together’s Advisory Board Chair Dr Vanessa Lee-ah Mat here:
Photo: R U OK?