Guidelines to improve assessments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people presenting to hospital

Posted 20th August 2019 in Close The Gap

The Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP) aims to reduce the causes, prevalence and impact of suicide on Indigenous individuals, families and communities. A focus on at risk groups, by identifying, translating and promoting the adoption of best practice in Indigenous specific suicide prevention activity, including that which is found in emerging national and international research.

Suicide is a critical issue for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

The Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies), commissioned by CBPATSISP have developed evidenced-based guidelines to improve assessments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people presenting to hospital with self-harm and suicidal thoughts.  

Hospitals are one of the most common points of contact for professional help for people presenting with suicidal thoughts and behaviours. The guidelines aim to meet the need for quality guidance for assessing self-harm and suicidal thoughts by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in hospital settings. 

These guidelines are important for all practitioners, and particularly non-Indigenous practitioners, to better understand their capacity to engage more responsibly with Aboriginal people.

“Increased cultural responsiveness is a timely and necessary step towards ensuring that mainstream services are not harmful, but instead, are relevant and helpful for Aboriginal peoples and communities. As mainstream services become more culturally responsive and safe, they are able to engage meaningfully with Aboriginal people and work alongside Aboriginal communities to strengthen social and emotional wellbeing and reduce the impacts and instances of suicide and self-harm,” Professor Pat Dudgeon.

The guidelines contain 227 evidence-based recommendations that have been endorsed by an expert panel of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous professionals and those with lived experience using the Delphi method for establishing an expert consensus on best practice.

Recommendations in the guidelines have a strong grounding in the concept of social and emotional wellbeing to ensure that assessments inform the most appropriate and effective options for care in the hospital and recovery in the community.

The guidelines can be found online, at: https://www.lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/about-suicide/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-communities/guidelines-to-improve-assessments-for-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-people-presenting-to-hospital