13 April 2016

The Australian Christian Lobby welcomes news of a WA Parliamentary inquiry into the high suicide rates in the state’s remote areas as Canning MP Andrew Hastie today leads a high-level bipartisan plan for action to tackle the crisis.

The Education and Health Standing Committee has said it will look at young Indigenous lives in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions to understand why suicide is on the rise.

ACL WA Director Dahlia Messiha said the Parliamentary inquiry was a good development given the sense of helplessness the community is experiencing following the spate of suicides.

“Suicide is being experienced throughout WA and most notably in the indigenous community. It is tragic to learn that a WA suicide support team has attended 17 indigenous deaths in recent months,” Ms Messiha said.

“Suicide effects people across the cultures but is particularly tragic when it involves a young life.

“Since December eight young people from Rockingham to Harvey have taken their own lives.

“The initiative of Canning MP Andrew Hastie to lead the bipartisan delegation of leaders in talks with the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today is a step in the right direction.

“The ACL congratulates the West Australian, its regional newspapers and Seven News for starting a campaign to help young Western Australians in crisis,” Ms Messiha said.

“We agree with Mr Hastie that underlying pressures such as unemployment, homelessness and family dysfunction need to be considered in dealing with mental health issues in the region,” she said.

“Teen suicides leaves a lasting strain on families, schools and the wider community, so any efforts to deal with the underlying issues should be supported.

“ACL is optimistic that the work by Mr Hastie and the parliamentary inquiry will lead to solid changes in the way that we as a community deal with those struggling with mental health issues.  We would strongly encourage MP’s from across the party divide to get involved with this initiative.”


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