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We are not the problem, we are part of the solution: Indigenous Lived Experience Project Report

Dec 7, 2018

“We are not the problem, we are part of the solution: Indigenous Lived Experience Project Report” is a joint project between the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP) and the Black Dog Institute. The Report details the findings from consultation with participants who attended a workshop facilitated by CBPATSISP to investigate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ lived experiences of suicide.

The workshop showed that the lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was different to non-Indigenous peoples. Although there are unique differences between the experiences of different groups, the significant overarching commonalities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ lived experiences of suicide emerged as a fundamentally shared cultural experience. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lived experience is contextualised within a history of colonisation that has resulted in disadvantage, racism, lack of acknowledgement of cultural differences and exclusion.

The following themes emerged from the workshop:

  • The need for an Indigenous lived experience definition and network
  • The need for self-determination
  • Experiences of grief and loss (not only loss of loved ones but also grief and loss of country and culture)
  • Experiences of racism and trauma
  • Lack of appropriate services and responses
  • Isolation, discrimination, and racism in mainstream LGBTIQ+ services
  • Prioritising engagement of Indigenous LGBTIQ+Sistergirl Brotherboy peoples and communities
  • Hope for the future

The recommendations from the workshop included the urgent need for the provision of culturally appropriate services and responses to Indigenous suicide prevention. In particular, this involved the prioritisation of Indigenous understandings and practices of wellbeing and healing. Participants recommended mandatory training for mainstream organisations to support staff to comprehend, understand and appreciate the prevalence of grief and loss within the daily lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The participants emphasised the importance of local solutions, including capacity building within communities and organisations, being culturally informed and being guided by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with lived experience. Local solutions was promoted as a means of increasing self determination and empowerment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

Download “We are not the problem, we are part of the solution: Indigenous Lived Experience Project Report” (1MB PDF)