The Student Association would like to congratulate its inaugrual 2016 Collaboration Award and Community Services Award winner, the Rural Health Organisation of the University of Notre Dame Sydney (ROUNDS) on their wonderful success on fundraising for and spreading awareness of Indigenous suicide prevention. One of the many outstanding clubs on Campus!
Indigenous Australians have the highest rates of suicide in the world (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2015) and these rates have skyrocketed over the last 20 years. Indigenous youths aged 15 – 24 have 5.2 times greater risk of intentional self-harm than non-indigenous Australians (Closing the Gap Clearinghouse 2014, AIHW 2015). In the Northern Territory, Indigenous suicide rates are 10 times higher than their non-Indigenous counterparts. These statistics are shocking and need to be a national priority. As highlighted in the Elders’ Report (2014) a connection to culture is shown to be the most powerful factor to protect against Indigenous youth suicide.
The rural health organisation of The University of Notre Dame Sydney (ROUNDS) has recently spent time in Nhulunbuy, North East Arnhem Land with senior Elder and Traditional landowner Gayili Marika Yunupingu.
Gayili co-founded Galupa Marngarr Suicide Prevention Group alongside her sisters in 2011. Gayili and her sisters are proud Yolngu women of the Gumatj clan. Their work has single-handedly reduced the youth suicide rate in their community from the world's worst to zero.(http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-20/culturally-sensitive-program-launched-tackle-indigenous-suicide/6712482). As an advocate for suicide prevention, Gayili has been selected to be on the National Indigenous Suicide Prevention Advisory Council for the Prime Minister and nominated for Australian of the year.
Despite this, Gayili has received minimal funding since 2013 and her and her family live in poverty. The Galupa Safety House is in a state of disrepair with no running water or electricity. The safety house is vital to the work of Galupa Marngarr and the safety and well-being of the young people it supports. Gayili can no longer do her work because she is struggling just to get by and suicide is once again rampant in her community.
ROUNDS alongside not for profit organisation Culture is Life has been invited by the Galupa Marnarr Suicide Prevention Group to help repair the Galupa Safety House and assist Gayili to bolster the on country healing program. Already this year, through funding, ROUNDS has restored the road that connects the town to the Healing Place and gotten the community car up and running so at-risk youth can be easily taken out of town to Gayili's Safety House and then onto the Yudu Yudu Healing Place.
On the 16th September ROUNDS held the annual Culture is Life fundraiser evening to raiseenough funds for building materials and to fly up tradespeople and labourers to re-build the Galupa Safety House. The fundraiser was a huge success with over 100 attendees and more than $10 000 raised.
Excitingly, ROUNDS, Culture is Life and major sponsors Stroud Homes franchises (Toowoomba, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Brisbane North, Brisbane South and Brisbane West) will now be able to send a team of medical students alongside two tradespeople and a representative from Stroud Homes up to Galupa in November to complete the re-build alongside Gayili and her community. ROUNDS, Culture is Life and Stroud Homes recognise that community led initiatives are best practice for reducing the rates of Indigenous youth suicide.
SAUNDA is proud to be supporting Indigenous communities and such a proactive group of students to help reduce the disproportionately high rates of Indigenous youth suicide in Australia.
To donate or learn more about the project please see our website: