Silburne, S., Robinson, G., Leckning, B., Henry, D., Cox, A., & Kickett, D. (2014). Preventing suicide among Aboriginal Australians. In P. Dudgeon, H. Milroy and R. Walker (Eds.), Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and welbeing principles and practice, 2nd edition (pp.147-164). Commonwealth of Australia.

This chapter begins with an overview of the recent epidemiological trends in suicide and attempted suicide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal Australians and how this compares with the situation in other post-colonial English speaking nations such as Canada and New Zealand. It then reviews studies exploring the historical and social aetiology of suicide and the nature of its occurrence and consequences within Aboriginal community contexts. These studies provide insights into the group, community, situational and intergenerational factors associated with the increased likelihood of suicide and suicidal behaviour in some communities. The life-course study of individuals who develop suicidal behaviour or complete suicide is another source of evidence which has helped explain why some individuals are more vulnerable to stresses which trigger or escalate suicidal behaviour. The phenomenon of suicide ‘clustering’ in which the idea of suicide, and suicidal behaviour appears to become socially ‘contagious’ with so-called ‘copy-cat’ behaviour is then discussed. The chapter concludes with a review of what works in prevention, early intervention and postvention, including proactive bereavement support and containment of suicide clusters, as well as longer-term strategies for community.