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Seven Aboriginal youth that was either directly bereaved by suicide or impacted by suicide within their community went bush as part of a program designed to boost their mental health awareness recently, funded through a $10,000 Mental Health Commission suicide prevention small grant.

The program, which ran from April to June 2015, included weekly activities such as stand up paddleboarding at Cable Beach, kayaking around Gantheaume Point, basketball at Broome’s recreation centre, and sessions at Headspace’s Broome office.

Developed and facilitated by Headspace Broome, the program included informal small group and one-one discussions covering the topics of grief and loss, depression, anxiety, staying strong, healthy lifestyles, positive relationships, help-seeking, personal agency and positive self-esteem.

After seven weeks of youth engagement, health promotion and educational programs a cultural camp took place at an Aboriginal-owned wilderness camp located on the Dampier Peninsula named Kooljaman at Cape Leveque.

The camp took place over three days, including two nights, which were both spent in swags under the stars of the Kimberley wilderness.

Cultural guide Brian Lee took the young people and camp facilitators to places of cultural significance, fishing, making spears, swimming, four-wheel driving, crabbing, and to his community of Djarindjin.

Additionally, the camp included snorkelling, collective cooking and cleaning, campfires, group discussions, and other recreation/youth engagement activities aimed at team building and creating positive social experiences.

One of the key outcomes of the program was the development of a youth-led, one-page self-help website at http://kamsc.org.au/ph/hs/index.html

In addition, the young people themselves spoke highly of the program, with one stating “the program has given me a sense of belonging, and I want to continue with Headspace support.”

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