Despite the standout work of various individuals, our Governments have failed to respond to the catastrophic humanitarian crisis sweeping this nation, that is taking the lives of children, young adults, of human beings denied the sense of hope that the majority of Australians enjoy. The statistical narrative is startling and indicts the nation but there continues an effective silence. Our governments have normalised inequality and injustices.
- One in 19 of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths are registered as suicide. This is an abomination, moral, political and otherwise.
- However because of underreporting issues the statistical narrative is indeed much worse. I estimate it is one in 10 to one in 12. This is an abomination, moral, political and otherwise.
- If you are an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aged 15 to 35 years, one in three deaths in this age group will be registered as suicide. Suicide is this age group’s leading cause of death.
- Aboriginal and Torres Islander children aged 14 years and less are 8 times more likely to suicide than non-Aboriginal children. Suicide is this age group’s second leading cause of death. In some regions this rate is up to 30 times. An indictment of our Governments.
- The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations of the Kimberley and far north Queensland endure the nation’s highest suicide rates – up to 8 times the overall national trend and near double the world’s highest national trends. A climate of death – premature and unnatural.
- Another staggering statistical narrative – no less than one in 10 and possibly up to one in 6 of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living have been to jail. This is nothing less than racialised imprisonment.
- In Western Australia, one in 13 Aboriginal adult males is in prison today – from a racialised lens, the world’s highest jailing rate.
- Nearly 7 per cent of the Kimberley lives in some form of homelessness. Nearly all of this homelessness is comprised of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Therefore around 12 to 13 per cent of the region’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are in some form of homelessness – about one in 8 persons. Australia is the world’s 12th largest economy and per capita one of the world’s wealthiest nations.
- More than 7 per cent of the Northern Territory lives in some form of homelessness. Nearly all of this homelessness is comprised of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Therefore around one in eight are homeless. Outside of natural disasters and civil strife this is among one of the world’s worst homelessness rates.
As long as Australian Governments fail to respond to these crises and fail to respond comprehensively, they are responsible for the suicides, the familial and community distresses. While this narrative of human misery and suffering, this narrative of death continues – and it will worsen – then there is no ‘closing the gap’. Of all the world’s middle and high income nations with relatively recent colonial oppressor histories, Australia has the widest divide between its First Peoples and the rest of the population. It cannot be argued that there is any legitimate closing of the gap when more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are being jailed than ever before, when there are so many suicides.
There are many of us doing what needs to be done but more of us need to be involved – particularly our Governments and their instruments. The ways forward are not rocket science, but the political will is an obstinate one which has denied the ways forward, abominably. In the end, I rest tired but remain in the understanding that we must improve the lot of others and remove the barriers that deny equalities. Our days under this sun will pass within the flicker that we are caught within, our time cast to the ages, done to the eons that distance from the here and now but while we are within this flicker, there is no greater legacy than to help one another, to improve the lot of others, to save lives. All lives matter.
Suicide – a catastrophic humanitarian crisis
– ABC News 24, September 5, 2015 – Miriam Corowa and Andrew Geoghegan interview Gerry Georgatos on the suicide crisis among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. One in 3 deaths among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 15 to 35 years is registered as a suicide. This is the world’s highest such rate.
Declaration of impartiality conflict: The author of this article, Gerry Georgatos, is a suicide prevention researcher with various national and other projects and is also a community consultant with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP).
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:
It is not like me to cry
Call for a national inquiry
Catastrophic suicide crisis will escalate “unless”…
One in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have been to jail
An eleven year old suicides – nine months later his mother takes her life
Understanding the abominable jail and suicide rates
The issue of our time – 1 in 3 deaths by suicide
When the right people lead then lives will be saved
Truth, not lies on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention rates
A moral abomination – a narrative that is racialised; of human suffering and misery
Plato said engage with our politicians or risk being governed by the dumb – the suicide crises
Stop selling resilience
Another misguided reductionist plan to reduce rates of suicide self-harm
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
Shame job Australia – they came through the gate with my boy’s body
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
Stop examining the oppressed – instead examine the oppressor
A humanitarian crisis
Beating back suicide
Youth suicide at crisis levels among Indigenous population
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
Indigenous suicide prevention ambassador
Mother takes her own life after losing beloved son
Tiga Bayles and Gerry Georgatos discuss the suicide crises
The Wire – The suicide crisis
Unpaid fines leading Indigenous over representation
Researcher says poverty is driving incarceration of Aboriginal people
One in twenty First Peoples deaths classify as suicide
CAAMA Radio – Gerry Georgatos Speaks out on Aboriginal Suicide.
ABC – Indigenous suicide rates at crisis levels