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Fresh funding vital for ongoing work of suicide prevention in the Northern Territory

Wesley Mission is delighted that it has received funding to continue its vital ongoing work of suicide prevention in the Northern Territory.

Wesley Mission is one of three organisations which received funding from the Commonwealth Government to implement its Wesley LifeForce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Program.

The rate of suicide in the Northern Territory is the highest in Australia.

The program will see the delivery of two Train the Trainer programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community health workers. It will enable 12 key community mental health workers to facilitate ongoing suicide prevention workshops to build local capacity and resilience.

The program will be delivered through to June 2019 with $81,400 in funding coming from the Commonwealth Department of Health. The work has been commissioned by the Northern Territory Primary Health Network in response to gaps and opportunities within the suicide prevention sector.

Training will be delivered in Darwin and Alice Springs with community health workers drawn from surrounding communities supported to participate.

Wesley LifeForce began in 1995 and has since trained more than 40,000 Australians in suicide prevention skills in metropolitan, regional and remote Australia.

It has also helped in the development and ongoing support of 93 community-based suicide prevention networks – 21 of them identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander ¬- across the nation with the number expected to reach 113 in the next few years.

“Although suicide was largely unknown in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities until a few generations ago, their suicide rate is now approximately double that of the non-Indigenous population”, said Wesley Mission CEO the Rev Keith Garner.

“The most important aspect of the program is that participants feel they are in a culturally safe place. Facilitators who undergo a ‘train the trainer program’ will ensure that appropriate cultural protocols around engagement, participation, reciprocity and deep listening are followed, and to show respect to participants.”

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