Recommendation 27 of the Senate Inquiry into Suicide Report, The Hidden Toll: Suicide in Australia (see Section 3.5) called for the development of a separate suicide prevention strategy within the NSPS for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This recommendation was supported by the Australian Government. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Advisory Group was subsequently established to provide input to the development of the strategy and to provide advice on priorities for the $6 million of funding provided through the TATS package that was quarantined for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention initiatives.24
In June 2012, the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing announced the appointment of the Menzies School of Health Research to develop Australia’s first National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy. To inform the development of the Strategy, 14 community consultations were held across Australia, a national expert workshop was attended by peak bodies and key stakeholders, and 48 contributions from community members were received via a dedicated website. The development of the Strategy was overseen by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Advisory Group. The commitment to develop the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy was part of the Government's response to the Senate Inquiry into Suicide in Australia.
On 23 May 2013 the Strategy was released, supported by funding of $17.8 million over four years (2013-14 to 2016-17). The funding will support the establishment of local suicide prevention networks and a centre of best practice to support and prioritise local, community-led activities, and share knowledge in suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia. These activities will be developed in close consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and will implement key elements of the Strategy. The ministerially-appointed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group will guide the development of program guidelines and implementation of key recommendations from the Strategy.