THE suicide rates for Indigenous children in Australia are amongst the highest in the world.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged between 15 and 24 have almost a four times higher suicide rate than non-Indigenous people of the same age.
The Westerman Jilya Institute for Indigenous Mental Health has gathered together a star-studded line-up of Indigenous artists to perform on World Suicide Prevention Day, Friday, September 12, at Winthrop Hall at the University of Western Australian in Perth, to raise funds to combat these alarming numbers
Renowned musicians Gina Williams AM and Guy Ghouse, Kobi Morrison, Bojesse Pigram and Naomi Pigram will join special guest John Butler, internationally famous, ARIA-award winning musician and songwriter, on the stage.
All musicians are giving their time freely, and the UWA is donating the use of Winthrop Hall together with audiovisual support and staffing.
The Westerman Jilya Institute’s work concentrates on increasing the number of Indigenous psychologists in Australia who will attend to years of neglect by providing access to clinically and culturally competent services to high-risk communities.
Founder of the institute Dr Tracy Westerman AM, said, “The work of The Westerman Jilya Institute provides our best opportunity of addressing this unbearable tragedy that has plagued our communities for decades.”
“The concert will provide a significant step for all Australians to join us in raising money and awareness for this cause,” she said.
“This event is about showing our most vulnerable communities that when issues like child suicide feel so overwhelming, there is something that can be done.
“For those communities that have carried the burden of grief associated with these unacceptable deaths, there is light within that darkness.”
The Dr Tracy Westerman Indigenous Psychology Scholarships advances, supports, and mentors Indigenous psychologists to work in remote communities.
The scholarship program provides eligible psychology students with money to assist with study, living and transport costs, any time throughout their undergraduate or postgraduate studies.
Preference is for indigenous students who have remote and rural connections who wish to return to work in these locations once they are qualified.
One scholarship is $11,700, and the concert aims to fund 15 this year, to add to the existing 15 by realising a total of $175,500 through a donor initiated online auction, sponsors and ticket sales.
Local businesses are involved in supporting the fundraiser concert alongside UWA and the musicians.
Internationally renowned jeweller Keiko Uno said, “Tracy’s vision is inspiring and one to embrace and support as a community.”
“I am proud and honoured to play my part as a sponsor of the Jilya Concert and by calling on like-minded friends to walk together with Tracy toward a brighter future,” she said.
Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased online at https://UNIWA.sales.ticketsearch.com/sales/salesevent/13738.
For help contact Lifeline: 131 114 or Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
Carol Saffer is an award-winning journalist enthusiastic about creating copy that engages audiences. She is curious by nature, possesses a growth mindset and thrives on new and unusual challenges.
Carol has experience as a reporter for various regional Victorian newspapers and writing for Business Day in The Age. Her previous career was in the fashion industry, and she holds post-graduate degrees in business and journalism.