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Suicide Prevention in Aboriginal Communities

 1.5 Day Workshop

Adjunct Professor Tracy Westerman presents a day and a half workshop on Suicide Prevention in Aboriginal Communities. This training program has been developed based on evidence regarding the different risk and protective factors that exist for suicidal behaviour in Aboriginal people. It is the only program in Australia specifically developed for Aboriginal people and on empirical evidence.

Participants will walk away with the following skills:

  • A unique and practical understanding of how to engage effectively with a suicidal Aboriginal client taking cultural differences in communication and engagement into account
  • Learn how to translate differences in the nature of Aboriginal suicide into effective intervention strategies at the level of determining individual risk and intent for suicide
  • Learn how beliefs about suicide from within the Aboriginal context impacts on effective intervention, communication and discussion of suicide intent and effectiveness of mainstream assessment processes
  • An overview of Adjunct Professor Westerman’s research on suicidal behaviour in Aboriginal communities – what it tells us about the relevant risk and protective factors and how these differences necessitate a unique approach to Aboriginal suicide prevention
  • The nature of Aboriginal suicide – taking the differences that are clear and translating them into effective assessment and intervention
  • Depression – its cultural manifestation and relationship with Aboriginal suicide.
  • The components of cultural resilience and how to develop interventions inclusive of these factors
  • Ensuring effective engagement with suicidal Aboriginal clients – an empirically tested engagement model
  • Learn how to translate cultural differences into Suicide Risk Assessment
  • Applied case studies using a culturally validated suicide risk assessment tool
  • Postvention – what can be done after a suicide attempt or death in a community – a practical model for the prevention of copycat suicides
  • IPS success in the development, delivery and evaluation of Whole of Community Suicide Intervention Programs in FOUR states of Australia with over 2,000 community members – an effective community intervention model
  • ACCREDITATION in the Westerman Aboriginal Symptom Checklist – Youth WASC-Y
  • ACCREDITATION in the Westerman Aboriginal Symptom Checklist – Adults WASC-A. These tests are uniquely developed and validated for use with Aboriginal people. They enable screening of Aboriginal youth and adults of risk for depression, suicidal behaviours, alcohol and drug use, anxiety and the determination of cultural resilience as a moderator of risk


  • Pre-workshop reading material
  • Aboriginal Mental Health Cultural Competency Test
  • Participant workbook
  • Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea