Living beyond Aboriginal suicide: Developing a culturally appropriate and accessible suicide postvention service for Aboriginal communities in South Australia

Abstract

Anglicare SA's Living Beyond Suicide program (LBS) is a postvention service which partners with crisis services such as the police and ambulance who attend each suicide in South Australia and who provide families with an immediate link to the service. LBS workers visit in the hours and days after the suicide, companion survivors through post-suicide processes, and provide a vital link between families and the community. The support given is practical and based on a family's needs. It is also based on evidence which suggests that postvention services are important in mitigating the negative effects of grief and suicide contagion.

Despite the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in suicide statistics, LBS is significantly underutilised by Aboriginal people. The aim of this research is to investigate how programmes such as LBS can be made more accessible and appropriate for Aboriginal people so that all people in the community have the opportunity to access the service should they experience bereavement through suicide.

The project constitutes the beginning of a 'both ways', asset-based dialogue, and seeks to enhance the service's capacity through dialogue with Aboriginal stakeholders, whilst investigating the potential of the service to augment the capacity of Aboriginal people and communities to live beyond suicide.

To this end, the research here gathers information from a number of Aboriginal people who have been bereaved by suicide, and Aboriginal service providers who work with people who have been in this situation. It asks whether or not there is a need for a service such as LBS for Aboriginal families and communities and, if so, how the current programme could be modified to make it more accessible and/or appropriate for Aboriginal people. Overarching those service specific questions, the project investigates the potential utility of predicating social service provision on a process of 'walking together'.

Authors

Ian Goodwin-Smith
School of History and Politics, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA

Naomi Hicks
Christies Beach, Adelaide, SA

Michael Hawke
Anglicare SA, North Adelaide, SA

Gerri Alver
Anglicare SA, North Adelaide, SA

Peta Raftery
Research Fellow, School of Geography, Population and Environmental Management, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA

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Keywords

Aboriginal suicide; postvention; grief; capacity building

Meta

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