The Life Program
founded by The Dr Edward Koch Foundation
Members of the Foundation work to prevent suicide in all communities of Far North Queensland through better coordination of support services. This is mostly achieved through the role of the Foundation’s FNQ Suicide Prevention Taskforce.
The foundation works to achieve greater understanding of suicidal risk for indigenous and other cultures, and upholds the holistic view of health and well-being at both individual and community levels.
The Foundation recognises indigenous communities have unique characteristics and that models developed for communities in one region may need to be adapted for communities in other regions. The ultimate aim of the Foundation is to provide a protective blanket of care against suicide across Far North Queensland.
Four integrated components of the Foundation's Life Program form the basis of a core community strategic plan to help prevent suicide, able to be adapted to suit any community's particular needs.
The Yarrabah Community Plan
The Indigenous Yarrabah community has partnered with the Dr Edward Koch Foundation on many suicide prevention projects. Since the initial stages of the Far North Queensland Suicide Prevention Taskforce, (a Foundation project) in 1996, there have always been members representing this community. The 'Healing Our Way' project was implemented by the Foundation in cooperation with the Yarrabah community in 2005 as a community response to several episodes of suicide and self-harm that affected the community. In 2007, in response to three suicides in the Yarrabah community, the Dr Edward Koch Foundation employed two local residents to be available in the community to assist those bereaved through suicide. The Foundation is currently working with the Yarrabah Life Promotion Officers to have people in the community trained in suicide prevention skills.
The Cyclone Yasi Disaster Area Suicide Prevention Plan
The aim of the Cyclone Yasi Disaster Area Suicide Prevention Plan was to increase the capability of communities in the Yasi-affected area to recognise the causes of stress, depression and suicide and to enable our trained volunteer Life Community Carers to alleviate problems, provide support to individuals at risk of suicide and to provide support to those affected when suicide occurs. The project has also endeavoured to improve community wellbeing by reducing the levels of trauma, depression and suicide in the community.
The Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) Suicide Prevention Plan
The aim of the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) Suicide Prevention Plan is to provide an intensive suicide prevention strategy in the five Indigenous communities of:
- New Mapoon
Delivery of this intensive suicide prevention strategy is intended to provide a network of care against the risk of suicide. The program commenced in early 2010 and is continuing. It consists of four integrated components, which are the delivery of Life Workshops and counselling services, sustainability of the program throughout the communities, including training of Life Community Carers, the provision of local resources specific to each community and the Life Bereavement Support Service (LBSS).
The Cairns & Hinterland Suicide Prevention Community Action Plan is administered and delivered by the by the FNQ Suicide Prevention Taskforce, Dr Edward Koch Foundation on behalf of Northern Queensland Primary Health Network, and funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.