Yesterday, the Northern Territory Government released another near useless policy plan in the hope that it can reduce rates of suicide, self-harm and the impacts of self-harm. It will not achieve any of this because it does not go to the heart of the problems. It does not go to overall social health, does not go to the suite of social determinants and to the suite of psycho-social determinants, to self-determination, to what ’empowerment’ should and truly means.

The Government’s reported, the NT Suicide Prevention Strategic Action Plan 2015-2018, is more cheap hogwash, minimalist reductionist crap that will fail to address underlying issues of disempowerment, disenfranchisment, racism and poverty. As it is a three year cycle report this translates to more suicides, more self harms, more impacts, more community distress, more hopelessness, more racism.

The benefit of through-care journalism as opposed to mouthpiece journalism is that what should be said or written gets said or written.

The Territory’s Minister for Health, John Elferink sold a perennial cheap line, “It is clear that suicide prevention and intervention requires a sustained effort and it will require an innovative and coordinated approach to make a difference.”

The making of a difference can only occur with a move away from the Government neglect of the Territory’s communities of First Peoples. When there is a response to care for the communities and town camps, to provide services, to provide the full suite of social health then much will change.

In the very least, self-determination for the Homelands is about their right to social equivalencies with the rest of Australia, with the local management of their own local business, with respect for local cultural content and contexts to the point that it is unnecessary for clashes between cultural settings, between the cultural settings of First Peoples and that of the western cultural settings.

“We already have some fantastic services in the Northern Territory, both Government and non-Government, and we can take a more improved and coordinated approach to tap into these.”

Yeah, sure. People are taking their lives at higher than usual rates. Self-harms and community distresses are record high and pernicious and Minister Elferink is claiming that there are “fantastic services”. Where are the outcomes based results? More than forty people take their lives in the Territory each year. Over half are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander males. Suicides are under reported. This is a given. Please work with the well accepted quotient that the number of suicides reported, that in fact they are in the least actually double the reported numbers. This is what my own independent research demonstrates and what the World Health Organisation also suggests.

Minister Elferink claimed, “Fortunately, over the last eight years, suicide in the Northern Territory has been decreasing, however more must be done to address this tragic issue.”

Minister Elferink should look to before the Federal Government’s Military Emergency Response – ‘The Intervention’. That is before eight years ago, when the Intervention smashed into the lives of the First Peoples of the Territory. It has been since the Intervention that suicides, self-harms, community distress rates shot up. The Federal and Territory Government brought on the higher than usual rates of suicide. They smashed people psychosocially, they reduced self-determination to tatters, they turned the lives of the Territory’s First Peoples into a traumatic custodial predicament. This continues. Liberal and Labor Governments have continued to damage the lives, reputations and pride of the Territory’s First Peoples. There has been no respite. Both support the Intervention, in effect the decimation and ruination of identity, culture, of well-being on so many levels. It should have been one of the issues of our times but once again racism stares into the quiet the rights of those in the lived experience and the activism of those who wisely know better.

Liberal and Labor Governments are bent on assimilating on the First Peoples of this continent into a one size fits all cultural setting. They are not into high cultural content plurality. The Liberal and Labor Governments may go about the sell of assimilation differently but assimilation is all both have on the table. The Liberal where their heart on the sleeve while Labor packages it differently, effectively lying. But in the end the both sell assimilation with presumptions of equality. Labor takes a more sleight of hand approach while the Liberals go whole hog and want to get it over and done. But in the end both are pushing the same journey to the one destination; assimilation.

Minister Elferink said, “The Northern Territory Government today announced it will commit to an additional $3 million per annum.” Laugh out loud, sadly – tragically.

He claims this little bit of pittance will assist the mental health sector to a solid plan. Without splitting hairs the mental health sector will dry this up quick smart with its carpetbagger contractor payments.   The Government’s Action Plan is another stereotypical effort to say something is being done when indeed what should be done is not being done. It is more than just a cop-out, more than just a farce, it is racism. Lives will be lost because people were not put before profit.

The Government’s plan can be found here – NT Suicide Prevention Strategic Action Plan 2015-2018


Gerry Georgatos is a researcher suicide prevention and in racism


Lifeline’s 24-hour hotline, 13 11 14

Crisis Support and Suicide Prevention Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636

Other articles and media on the suicide crisis and suicide prevention by Gerry Georgatos: The leading cause of death – for 15 to 44 year old Australians – is suicide | The Stringer

People strengthening people focus on suicide prevention

Understanding difference and unfairness is a first step in suicide prevention | The Stringer

Taboo, stigma and shame need to get out of the way for suicide prevention | The Stringer

Suicide is heading to a humanitarian crisis – it is a leading cause of death | The Stringer

Suicides are preventable – here is what we must begin to do | The Stringer

The extensiveness of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander suicides – 1 in 20 | The Stringer

Preventing suicide – “no greater legacy” | The Stringer

Understanding Australia’s suicide crises

Suicides, high among overseas born and second generation Australians

Child suicidal ideation on the increase

It is racism killing our people – suicides born of racism

Kimberley suicide rate – one of the world’s highest – Yiriman is the way to go

My Country – But look how I am forced to live

What will it take to end Aboriginal disadvantage, the inequalities and the various crises?

What sort of Australia is this? Seven homeless children in an asbestos slum

Six homeless children fighting for a better tomorrow

Quality of life for Australians 2nd only to Norway but for Aboriginal Peoples 122nd

Dumbartung convenes suicide crisis summit

Suicide attempts among women on the rise

Australia’s Aboriginal children detained at the world’s highest rates

Culture should not be denied – change needs unfolding, not impost

Everyone in the Territory doing well, except for Aboriginal Peoples

Australia’s Aboriginal children, the world’s highest suicide rate

Wes Morris slams government suicide prevention programs

How many more suicides will it take? How many more deaths?

Hopelessness in suicide riddled communities

More government neglect of Aboriginal children

In identity lay the answers – ATSI suicides

$25.4 billion spent on Aboriginal disadvantage is a lie

Beagle Bay to State Parliament – Farrer speaks out on suicides

Government to address Aboriginal suicides


996 Aboriginal deaths by suicide – another shameful Australian record

996 deaths by suicide – one in 24 die by suicide

Australia’s Aboriginal suicide epidemic – whose child will be the next to die?

77 Aboriginal suicides in South Australia alone

Kimberley’s Aboriginal peoples old at 45 years

Australia, the mother of all jailers of Aboriginal people

Close the gap failed

Despite what’s being reported, life expectancy not improving for ATSI peoples – 1 in 3 dead by 45 years of age

Tumult of death – 400 suicides in last three years

30 suicides in the last three months as we wait for promises to be kept

Suicide crisis – genocidal numbers

Suicide crisis – from tragic to catastrophic

Suicide crisis needs real funding and actions

Hundreds more will suicide if we wait for 2015

Nothing will be done about suicides crisis

Scullion bent on saving lives

Elders across Australia say governments need to listen to them on how to address youth suicide

Suicides – western society and ancient cultures clash

If we are serious about suicide prevention

Australia’s suicide crisis should not be played down – the media must highlight it

From my father’s death bed to the must-do to end the suicides

Governments promise on ending suicides must come good now

More confirmation of what everyone knows, was suicide prevention inadequate

The must-do need to listen and trust if suicides crisis is to end

Working together – mental health and suicide prevention roundtable

Break the taboo around suicides, we reduce suicides

Suicide crises born of Australia’s inhumanity

Suicides – children

Suicides crisis linked to incarceration

Wes Morris urges funding for cultural methodologies

The betrayal of our children – the Northern Territory

New project offers hope to reduce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicides

Depression and suicide prevention must be top of the agenda this century

World Suicide Prevention Day – suicide takes more lives than war

Western Australia – 1 in 13 in a jail, a bullshit state of affairs

Forgotten children of the promised land – the fight to save rural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Yiriman saving lives in the midst of the Kimberley’s suicide crises

Healing Halls Creek

The smaller a community, the less likely a suicide

Overcoming disadvantage report shows disadvantage not overcome

600 Black deaths in custody by 2025 – jail numbers to soar

Get out of the way – Aboriginal suicide rates will drop

A nation shamed when the solution for its children is homelessness

Christmas, a period of vulnerability for many

Stop peddling lies $30 billion spent on Indigenous disadvantage is a lie

To end our trauma government must stop the assault on our people and our culture

In Australia there is the Aboriginal rights struggle

Kirstie Parker, Mick Gooda say enough of fine words – close the gap a big fat lie

Highest child removal rates in the world worse than Stolen Generations

Other media:

A nation shamed when child sees suicide as the solution

Families urged to look after each other as suicide rates soar

Response to rash of suicides in remote WA regions

ABC 7:30 Report – Deaths in custody and jail rates


Tiga Bayles and Gerry Georgatos discuss the suicide crises

The Wire – The suicide crisis

Unpaid fines leading Indigenous over representation