Cox Inall Ridgeway launch Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention campaign

Dentsu-affiliated Aboriginal social change agency, Cox Inall Ridgeway, has launched a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention campaign in NSW, funded by the NSW Ministry of Health under the Towards Zero Suicides (TZS) initiative.

The Heal Our Way campaign aims to give NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities the support, tools and advice to have safe conversations around suicide, and to empower them to reach out fr support and help.

Cox Inall Ridgeway, which is 51 per cent Aboriginal-owned, co-designed the campaign with NSW Aboriginal communities, tapping into Australia’s First Nation’s 6,000 years of creative history to make a campaign that speaks to the resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Cox Inall Ridgeway general manager Yatu Widders Hunt said: “The campaign is anchored in lived experience, this is fundamentally important for any campaign speaking to First Nations communities, but particularly so when tackling issues around mental health and suicide. The expertise, the knowledge and the history lives in our communities, not within agencies, at Cox Inall Ridgeway our role is to harness that and work in a collaborative way and that’s what we did.”

In developing the campaign, the agency assembled a community advisory panel to ensure the campaign honoured the existing knowledge in First Nations communities and deliver materials that could better support them in having safer conversations around suicide.

The advisory team included Aboriginal psychologist Professor Pat Dudgeon, Tom Brideson former CEO of Gayaa Dhuwi and representatives from the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA), NSW Ministry of Health, Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations funded by TZS.

The campaign focuses on the stories of the lived experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Srait Islander people of all ages, speaking openly about their or their friends and family’s experience with suicide.

These case-studies are supported by tools that can be used to encourage and prompt safe discussions around suicide, including a guide to safe conversations comic, activities to prompt discussions and guides to running a strengths-based yarning circle and working with community.

Vanessa Edwige, Cox Inall Ridgeway senior consultant and Psychologist said: “First Nations communities have been told what to do for so long, this campaign is not about doing the same, rather it is about working with them around how to create something that works with the communities’ interests at heart.”

Suicide accounted for 5.5 per cent of all deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in 2020.

“Suicide effects all communities, while it is a human issue, this campaign is about empowering our people to have safe conversations about what it means for our communities,” said Edwige.


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