Lifeline Explores Suicide Solutions in Top End
Lifeline Australia is meeting with the NT Government and key stakeholders in Darwin on Monday (24 October) to reassure them of the national charity’s commitment to supporting Territorians and discuss how it can help stop Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide.
CEO Pete Shmigel said that Lifeline is exploring an ‘important new chapter’ in Darwin following the closure of its former Top End operations, which contributed to the 13 11 14 crisis line for more than ten years.
“We have been in regular contact with the NT Government and, while the decision to close Lifeline’s operations there was ultimately a local one, we now hope to build on our previous activities in the Top End to support those most vulnerable in the region,” Mr Shmigel said.
“As the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Report (ATSISPEP) recently highlighted, we need to start putting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the centre of the country’s mental health and suicide prevention activities. This involves promoting genuine collaboration, leadership and ownership.
“We have personally heard too many stories of suicide loss and heartache felt by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country – and suicide rates in the Northern Territory are particularly heart wrenching. As such, our activities there will seek to build on the extraordinary strength and resilience found in so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“With current rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide in the Northern Territory triple the national rate, we recognise the need to do things differently if we are to take steps towards a more hopeful future – one without suicide. It’s early days for us, and we now must engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Top End on how Lifeline can best play a role.”
Mr Shmigel also said that Lifeline Australia is strongly committed to building on the training workshops run by Lifeline Central Australia in the Top End, which will continue along with the 24/7 availability of the charity’s national 13 11 14 crisis line.
“Lifeline Central Australia will continue its vital work in the Top End as one of the few organisations across the country that ‘trains the trainers’ responsible for running workshops in communities, workplaces and schools on how we can spot the signs of suicide and respond in an open, caring and helpful ways,” Mr Shmigel said.
“Furthermore, Lifeline Australia and our broader Australia-wide network – which has answered calls from the Northern Territory for many years – remain committed to supporting Territorians, and indeed all Australians. If you are based in the Northern Territory and are experiencing a crisis or having thoughts about suicide, please call Lifeline’s 24 /7 crisis line on 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au.”
INTERVIEWS: To request pre-recorded comments, or organise a one-on-one live interview in Darwin on 24 October, please contact [email protected] or 0408 407 376