We Know Our Strengths

We Know Our Strengths tailors its format to be culturally sensitive to the communities it works in – putting in to practice Action Area 5 of the LIFE Framework: Providing targeted suicide prevention activities.

The We Know Our Strengths project originated in response to a high number of suicide attempts and deaths in the area. The Waltja Palyapayi Aboriginal Corporation management committee of senior Indigenous women called for intergenerational activities to help reduce the occurrence of these tragedies.

Aims

We Know Our Strengths aims to develop:

  • resources with local communities to address suicide and self-harm in a remote aboriginal context
  • processes manual to help guide future suicide prevention projects with the aid of an evaluator .
Duration

Commenced June 2007.

Location

The program is based in the Northern Territory and targets Indigenous men in the remote aboriginal communities of:

  • Titjikala
  • Mt. Liebig
  • Santa Teresa
Model

A flexible community-based approach that is sensitive to the needs of Indigenous men.

Activities
  • Cultural and family trips to local waterholes and other significant sites.
  • Health promotion activities in partnership with other health providers.
  • Intergenerational activities that validate men’s role in caring for their families and as active participants in their communities.
  • Development of local suicide prevention and awareness resources.
Evaluation

An independent evaluator has been selected who has lived in the region. A specific set of evaluation tools have been developed for the project and the evaluator conducts field visits to the three communities to assess achievements.

Lessons learned
  • One size does not fit all.
  • Suicide prevention requires a community-by-community approach.
  • Cultural context and geographical regions are important issues to consider when developing suicide prevention activities.
Project partners

Life Promotion Program (Mental Health Association of Central Australia).

More information

Email Liz Archer, Youth Services Manager at Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi Aboriginal Corporation, at youth@waltja.org.au.