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A comprehensive research report into the high rates of suicide in the Kimberley has called for a major change in the way prevention programs are designed and delivered that will both empower and heal Aboriginal communities.
The Hear our voices report found that Aboriginal communities had a clear desire to lead their own healing initiatives, based on the value of life, culture, and community.
The research was carried out jointly by the Centre for Research Excellence in Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing at the Telethon Institute for Child Health, the University of Western Australia, and the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council, with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.
The report authors consulted with community members in Broome, Halls Creek, and Beagle Bay as well as documenting the responses from communities and governments over more than ten years.
Report co-author and study leader Professor Pat Dudgeon said this report goes beyond the statistics and listens to the wisdom within the Aboriginal communities.
'The Kimberley communities want to take ownership of finding a solution. People spoke of the overwhelming need to heal at an individual, family, and community level and the need to help young people reconnect with their culture, their family, and themselves,' Professor Dudgeon said.
'There is no doubt that governments have a very important role here but the clear message is that communities know themselves best and their voices need to be heard.'
Source: Telethon Institute for Child Health Research