Essay about Suicide And Mental Illness Rates Among Indigenous Australians

Essay about Suicide And Mental Illness Rates Among Indigenous Australians

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Suicide and mental illness rates amongst Indigenous Australians are significantly higher than that of non-Indigenous Australians. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population makes up approximately 3% of the total Australian population as per the 2011 consensus (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013). Of the approximate 700,000 people, 90% identify as being Aboriginal, 6% identify as being Torres Strait Islander and 4% identify as being both (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012). Although constituting a much smaller portion of the population, mental illness and suicide rates in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are on average 3 times higher than those of non-indigenous backgrounds (The Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, 2016). This essay will identify and discuss the issues faced by these minority groups, in every day life. The social and cultural factors that are associated with higher rates of mental illness and suicide and will discuss Closing the Gap.

In 2010, 4.2% of deaths amongst ATSI’s were by suicide which is 2.6 times more than for non ATSI. (Australian Government - Department of Health, 2013)

It is important to note that ATSI’s have a monumentally shorter life expectancy at birth compared to non-indigenous children. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are expected to live between 11 and 17 years less than the rest of the Australian population (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013) (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016). The gap in life expectancy demonstrates a large number of generational issues relating to a range of different factors. These marginalised groups have a much higher child to adult ratio, 55.2% of the population is 24 years or younger compared to non ...


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...ic results of the 2005 Social Justice Report and was endorsed by the Australian Government in 2008 (HealthInfoNet, 2013). This strategy acknowledges the significant issues faced by indigenous Australians in particular the overwhelming gap in life expectancy, chronic health conditions, education and mortality rates. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has set multiple targets to address the issues, achieve equality and improve quality of life for all ATSI by 2030.

The targets focus’ include: closing the life expectancy gap within a generation, halve mortality rates for children under 5 by 2018, improve access to early childhood education in remote communities by 2013, improve reading, writing and numeracy achievements for children by 2018, employment outcomes by 2018, year 12 or equivalent attainment rates by 2020. (Council of Australian Governments, 2016).

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