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Indigenous suicide rate ‘nationwide tragedy’

Ingidenous people are dying of suicide at more than double the rate of the non-Indigenous Australians and it is a national tragedy, the federal government says.

The Commonwealth and the Northern Territory government will spend $43 million over the next five years to help prevent suicide in the territory.

David Coleman, the assistant minister to the prime minister for mental health and suicide prevention, says the support aims to reduce the heartbreaking suicide rate in remote communities.

“Indigenous Australians die of suicide at more than double the rate of the non-Indigenous population,” he said on Monday.

“This is a national tragedy.”

NT Health Mnister Natasha Fyles said mental health was one of the biggest challenges confronting people in the NT.

“The mental health needs in the territory are incredibly complex and vastly different to those in other jurisdictions,” she said.

The funding includes $15.4 million for two new Head to Health adult mental health satellite clinics, $9.1 million for a new Head to Health children’s hub and $9.3 million for aftercare services when patients are discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt.

Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt said the funding ensured Territorians had access to additional mental health support when and where they needed it.

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