Alive and Kicking Goals!: Preliminary findings from a Kimberley suicide prevention program

Abstract

Suicide is an enormous problem in the Kimberley, a region in northern-Western Australia. An 18-year-old Indigenous male is seven-times more likely to die by suicide, compared to his non-Indigenous peers.

Alive and Kicking Goals! (AKG) was a pilot program that took an innovative approach to suicide prevention peer education. Players from the Broome Saints Football Club formed a youth sub-committee. Guided by a Project Mentor (PM), these young men undertook training in suicide prevention in order to become Peer Educators (PEs) for the Kimberley region. AKG created a safe space for healing which allowed these young men to come to terms with the 'cycle of grief ' experienced in the region. AKG also tackled suicide stigma as the PEs, who were well-respected sportsmen, demonstrated that seeking help does not display weakness.

At the conclusion of the pilot, 16 young men became PEs. They learned practical skills in suicide awareness and prevention which they can teach within and across the different communities within the Kimberley region. Preliminary results from this pilot have informed ways in which AKG can be developed for the future. Further research can indicate to long-term positive impacts.

Authors

Joe Tighe
Alive and Kicking Goals!, Menís Outreach Service Inc, Broome, WA

Kathy McKay
Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD

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Keywords

Indigenous; suicide; Kimberley; sport; empowerment; peer-education

Meta

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