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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Using technology to save the lives of young Indigenous people

Date posted: 9 December 2013

The Black Dog Institute, in partnership with Western Australian (WA) based suicide prevention program Alive and kicking goals, has launched a trial of the world's first suicide prevention app designed for young Indigenous Australians for use on mobile telephone and tablet devices.

The app, called iBobbly (a name derived from a greeting of the Kimberley region of WA), delivers treatment-based therapy in a culturally relevant way, drawing on Indigenous metaphors, images, and stories from local Indigenous artists and performers.

Professor Helen Christensen of the Black Dog Institute says that the app addresses two of the major issues for young Indigenous people in seeking mental health support - perceived stigma and geographical isolation.

'We know that Indigenous Australians are not seeking face to face mental health care, more than 70% of Indigenous suicides occur in people who are not previously known to health services,' said Professor Christensen.

She also added that 'Indigenous youth have a high rate of mobile phone usage so it makes sense that we engage them on technology they are comfortable with and able to use in their own private time.'

The trial of the app is currently taking place in the Kimberley region of WA and was launched in Broome on 16 November by Yawuru man Patrick Dodson. It is hoped that iBobbly will be available for use by Indigenous people across Australia later in 2014.

Source: Black Dog Institute


Joe Tighe
Alive and kicking goals
Ph: 0400 240 607


Last updated: 9 December 2013
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