Report to tackle Indigenous suicide in the Midwest/Murchison-Gascoyne Region

Published on Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 10:59:50 AM

GRAMS Suicide Prevention Report

GRAMS Suicide Prevention Report launch event.

Last month, Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (GRAMS) formally launched their Regional 2020 Suicide Prevention Report which outlined the framework for the creation and development of Aboriginal led Community Safety and Wellbeing Action Plans.   


Key health organisations, Ministers and government officials were invited to the formal launch and presentation of the Suicide Prevention Report which was a collaborative effort between GRAMS, Carnarvon, Mt Magnet, Karloo, Rangeway, Utakarra and Mullewa where workshops were conducted over a five month period.  With funding from WA Primary Health Alliance a consultant, Peter Kenyon from Bank of Ideas worked with the Coordinator of the GRAMS Suicide Prevention Project Elaine Laraia to produce “Journey to the Blue Tree and Beyond”.


This report’s focus is on suicide prevention, intervention and postvention strategies specifically targeted at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and communities.


Like so many people in the region who have lost loved ones to suicide Mavis McGibbon shared her story and lived experience, by highlighting Mark’s story as documented by GRAMS in Steps in the Journey to the Blue Tree & Beyond booklet.  Mavis narrated the story of Mark’s struggle with depression, alcohol and mental health issues and suicide ideation, which saw the journey end with the loss of Mark’s life in 2018.


Mavis’ story resonates with so many other families bereaved by suicide. Suicide remains the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.


Deaths by suicide amongst First Nations Peoples are significantly higher than those in non-Indigenous Australians.


In 2019, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported the suicide rate for non-Indigenous people to be 12.7 per 100,000 and compared to First Nations Peoples at 27.1 per 100,000 – more than double the rate.


As the rates of suicide amongst First Nations Peoples in Western Australia continue to rise, GRAMS Chairperson Sandy Davies said it was time to take a different approach to fighting suicide.


“We need to start thinking outside the box to reduce stigma and raise awareness of suicide prevention,” said Mr Davies.


“This country is in a deep crisis in terms of what is happening with our young people. We need to start doing things a little bit differently and do something about mental health and depression.”

Chairperson of GRAMS Board Sandy Davies said it is time for the State to step up and do better.

Mental Health Minister Stephen Dawson said he was hopeful for the future and looking forward to working with GRAMS.


“Congratulations to everyone who has played a part in bringing this report to fruition, it’s a tremendous body of work and has been many years in the making,” said Mr Dawson MLC.


“We know to tackle the suicide problem that local solutions are what is needed – solutions that are evidence-based and well implemented.”


“I am committed to doing all I can to support this movement across the State to reduce the devastating loss of lives to suicide.”

Mental Health Minister Stephen Dawson said the new Suicide Prevention Framework 2021 – 2025 promotes a whole-of-state approach to suicide prevention in WA.

Release of blue doves to symbolize peace and hope for a brighter future towards mental health

To learn more about the GRAMS Suicide Prevention Report and Action Plans, please visit


If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health, call the numbers below for help:

Lifeline 13 11 14

Kids Helpline 1800 551 800

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 800

Beyond Blue 1300 224 636

Crisis Care 24/7 1800 199 008

Midwest Ribbon for Life 0428 381 545

Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (08) 9956 6555

In an emergency call 000

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