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A Perth Aboriginal corporation has organised a 'crisis summit' for next month in response to what it says is an alarming sudden rise in Indigenous suicides during the past four months.
Robert Eggington, director of Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation, said it heard 'almost fortnightly' from communities about a suicide, usually of a young person. 'In Mowanjum (near Derby) the other day there was another death, of a 12-year-old girl,' Mr Eggington said. 'One woman in Esperance has lost three children to this epidemic.'
The corporation has invited state and federal governments, Western Australian (WA) Police, and judicial figures to a three-hour meeting on May 21 2013 to discuss the current strategies and funding for suicide prevention.
'The question must be asked, if these services are working, why then are the statistics and the death rate of our people through suicide remaining at the highest in the world,' Mr Eggington said. He and his wife Selina, who runs an Aboriginal loss and grief program at the corporation based in Waterford, lost their 27-year-old son Bob three years ago when he took his own life.
Premier Colin Barnett last week admitted the billions of dollars the Government had spent on Aboriginals was not achieving the improvement it wanted, prompting it to create an Aboriginal affairs Cabinet subcommittee.
'State government expenditure on services for Aboriginal people was about $2.3 billion in 2010-11, or approximately $30,000 per person,' the Premier told Parliament on April 17. 'Despite this reform and investment, outcomes for Aboriginal West Australians are unacceptable. Mortality rates are 2 times higher and suicide rates are three times higher,' he said.
Mental Health Minister Helen Morton and Indigenous Affairs Minister Peter Collier said they could not attend the crisis meeting between 12.00-3.00pm because the Legislative Council was sitting from 3pm. They will send representatives in their place.
Source: The West