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WA Aboriginal youth suicide rate a crisis

AAP logoAAP 17/11/2016 Rebecca Gredley

Aboriginal youth suicide rates in Western Australia have worsened despite 40 inquiries over 15 years, a report has concluded.

The parliamentary inquiry, which focused on remote areas, analysed the recommendations of past inquiries and found they had not been adequately implemented, confirmed by rising suicide rates.

The Education and Health Standing Committee is determined its recommendations are followed up, including the creation of a head agency to oversee support services as there is no group that takes ultimate responsibility and is accountable for government action.

The report suggests the premier and involved ministers report to parliament every six months to track the progress of the recommendations, which also include higher Aboriginal employment targets for WA government agencies.

The suicide rates of Aboriginal people in certain areas of WA are among the highest in the world.

Overall, the suicide rate among Aboriginal people in the state is 3.3 times higher than among non-Aboriginal people.

Despite only comprising three per cent of Australia's population, Aboriginal children and young people represent 28 per cent of all recorded suicides of this age group.

Committee chairman Graham Jacobs said Aboriginal people should be more involved in policy and implementation.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

Local Aboriginal Medical Service available from www.vibe.com.au.

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