World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization, provides the unique opportunity to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.
The theme of the 2017 World Health Day campaign is depression.
Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. It causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living. At worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds.
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and young people are particularly vulnerable, comprising 30% of the suicide deaths among those under 18 years of age. In addition, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander 15–24 year olds are over five times as likely to suicide as their non-Indigenous peers (ATSISPEP, 2016).
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) is an Australian Government funded initiative to identify the success factors that underpin successful Indigenous suicide prevention activity. It addresses the concerning emergence of suicide in the past half-century as a major cause of Indigenous premature mortality and a contributor to the overall health and life expectancy gap (ATSISPEP, 2016).
In November 2016 the Australian Government released the ATSISPEP final report – ‘Solutions that work – What the evidence and our people tell us’. This report summarises the work of ATSISPEP in expanding the evidence-base for what works in Indigenous community-led suicide prevention. It also includes a number of recommendations for government and other activity pertaining to Indigenous suicide prevention.
ATSISPEP have released a number of tools and resources to be used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and stakeholders to support suicide prevention activities.
For more information check out the ATSISPEP website.