This week, Beyond Blue is supporting National Reconciliation Week (NRW), as events are held all around the country to mark our reconciliation journey.
This year’s NRW coincides with the 25th anniversary of formal reconciliation in Australia with the establishment of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, 15th anniversary of the formation of Reconciliation Australia, and 10 years of success in the Reconciliation Action Plan program.
Beyond Blue supports the key message behind National Reconciliation Week: As part of our reconciliation journey, there are truths to tell, stories to celebrate, and relationships to grow. Reconciliation is at the heart of our nation’s future.
It is unacceptable that Indigenous Australians are nearly three times more likely to be psychologically-distressed than non-Indigenous Australians.
The health inequality gap clearly exists in social and emotional wellbeing, as well as physical health, and we need to address this if we are to reduce the alarming suicide rate among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggest Indigenous Australians are twice as likely to die by suicide than non-Indigenous Australians.
Suicide is the fifth leading cause of death of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The continued higher suicide rate in Indigenous communities should be of the highest concern to us all.
Beyond Blue calls on all Australians to get behind the Close the Gap campaign to reduce the health and life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.
Beyond Blue is focused on ending discrimination and providing practical support and tools for Indigenous people at risk of suicide.
The BeyondNow app for smartphones, launched in March with support from the Movember Foundation, means people can create their own personal safety plan, refer to it when they are thinking about suicide and take appropriate steps to get support. The app can be downloaded from the App store or Google Play or available via:www.beyondblue.org.au/beyond-now
Finding our way back, a Beyond Blue booklet, proudly funded by donations from the Movember Foundation, is a resource designed specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with advice from people who’ve attempted suicide and their families. The booklet contains suggestions for family members and friends on what they can do to support someone in recovery and can be ordered online or downloaded at: www.beyondblue.org.au/thewayback
For more details on how to hold an event during National Reconciliation Week or participate in one happening near you, visit: https://www.reconciliation.org.au/.
To sign the pledge to Close The Gap, visit: http://bb.org.au/oxfamclosethegap
Mental health professionals are available at the Beyond Blue Support Service via phone 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or via www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support for online chat (3PM-12AM ADST) or email responses (within 24 hours).