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Youth Suicide Prevention for North East Arnhem Land, NT

Ngaoara Limited was recently commissioned by the Australian Commonwealth Department of Health to consult and advise on strategies to respond in a culturally meaningful way to the recent increase in Aboriginal youth suicide in North East Arnhem Land.

Professor Brown undertook visits to Nhulunbuy and Yirrkala, in North East Arnhem Land to engage with community leaders, service providers and family members. She also engaged directly with Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation to explore their core business and existing services for child wellbeing, and as such supported their current efforts to attract resourcing for the adaptation and implementation of strengths based and culturally relevant services for young people in the North East Arnhem region.

Local initiatives that focus on addressing the risks and protective factors for positive mental health and social and emotional wellbeing for children, families and community members was identified as crucial:

'We need to privilege Yolngu cultural leadership and apply a cultural lens to planning and implementation. This will likely increase community engagement, shift social norms and embed principles and practices that will improve mental health and social and emotional wellbeing impacts and outcomes for children, adolescents and young people in North East Arnhem Land.'

From this consultancy, Ngaoara established a strong relationship with Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation, who provide health and wellbeing support to seven surrounding Aboriginal communities in the North East Arnhem Land Region.