Effective Components of Indigenous Suicide Prevention Projects Identified


For the past half century suicide has emerged as a major cause of premature mortality among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and a significant contributor to the overall life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

In 2014 suicide was the fifth leading cause of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with Indigenous people experiencing an age-standardised suicide rate around twice as high as their non-Indigenous counterparts.

Considering the significant impact suicide has within Australia, there is limited evidence about what works to prevent suicide among both non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians alike.

A recent report from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Project (ATSISPEP) has summarised the potential success factors in suicide prevention initiatives targeting Indigenous Australians.

The report, Solutions that work: what the evidence and our people tell us, presents the ‘success factors’ for Indigenous suicide prevention identified in the meta-evaluation of evaluated community-led programs. These include:

  • Gate-keeper training
  • Peer-to-peer mentoring
  • Connecting to culture
  • Access to counsellors
  • Involvement of elders
  • Partnerships with community organisations

Each of these factors is explored within the report including evidence and case studies supporting their effectiveness in suicide prevention programs for Aboriginal Australians.

The report also provides tools, in the form of a five-part flow chart that can be used in the evaluation of proposals for Indigenous suicide prevention activities. The resource aims to empower Indigenous communities to assess proposals for suicide prevention initiatives for their community and ensure the activities align with the ‘success factors’ identified in the report.

Individual tools provided in the report include:

  • An evaluation tool for evaluating proposals for Indigenous suicide prevention activity,
  • A community tool to support the development of Indigenous suicide prevention activity,
  • An evaluation framework for Indigenous suicide prevention activity for use by communities, government and Primary Health Networks, and

The ATSISPEP report also refers to interactive maps showing Indigenous suicide number and rates by postcode. These maps, available on the ATSISPEP website, provide a visual insight into the numbers and rates of Indigenous suicides across Australia. The maps are designed for use by researchers, policy makers, service providers and communities.

To access the interactive maps visit:

To read the ATSISPEP report in full visit:

For more information about effective suicide prevention strategies visit the Knowledge Hub:

If you, or someone you know is struggling, at risk of self-harm or suicide, please contact someone immediately.

Lifeline 13 11 14

Beyondblue 1300 224 636

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467