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Working on suicide prevention

More services and support are needed for young people in Cherbourg to seek help.
More services and support are needed for young people in Cherbourg to seek help. Geoff Potter

THE Chairperson of the Cherbourg Suicide Prevention Action Netw

ork wants to help young men in the town establish a better connection to their culture, identity and land.

In the last months two young Cherbourg men have died from suicide.

Organisation chair Bevan Costello was born and bred in Cherbourg, and said mental health issues and suicide were not a problem for the community when he was growing up.

"Talking about 40-50 years ago we never had these sorts of issues here,” he said.

"Our elders took the time to take us hunting and get us on horses and teach us stuff out in the bush, show us where all the sites are.”

He said he was working on a plan for a house in the bush for young men to go live in, to learn more about their culture and land.

"To get them away from the drugs and alcohol in the community and learn about who they are,” he said.

"Just out of community far enough away they can't walk back. (I want to) put these kids there, these are kids with issues who are in and out of detention and on drugs and alcohol and causing trouble on the streets. "We will try to put them on these house stations with house parent and do some programs with them out on the land get them back to nature, bush and back to the land.”

Mr Costello would like young men to experience hunting, fishing, yarning, and talking to elders.

"There has been that loss of connection to culture,” he said.

Mr Costello said Cherbourg faced the same issues as every other community, including drugs and alcohol and domestic violence.

"It's a problem we've got and we've got to work on getting some support around these people,” he said.

Mr Costello said the only option many people had when they left school was to leave the community.

"The only opportunities they have are outside of Cherbourg, but they are traditional landowners, they shouldn't have to leave,” he said.

Mr Costello said education programs about drugs and alcohol and suicide prevention can be taught to the students to prevent young people in Cherbourg taking their own lives.

"Once they get into school we can put the programs in school about drugs and domestic violence and that sort of stuff,” he said.

Suicide rates

From 2011-2013, 126 indigenous Queenslanders took their own life.

65.9% were under the age of 35.

The suicide rate in indigenous males is 1.7 times higher than the general population

If you or someone you know needs help now, phone Lifeline on 131114.

If someone is in immediate danger, phone 000.

You can also phone the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300659467.

Topics:  lifeline suicide prevention

South Burnett

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