Individuals who as children were removed from their biological families are the nation’s highest risk group to suicide. They are four times at risk than the nation’s highest population risk group to suicide; the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of the Kimberley which is the world’s second highest population risk group to suicide – behind Greenland’s Inuit peoples.
Despite all the good work done by many in saving lives, the suicide toll, particularly for the most elevated risk groups, is on the increase. The most elevated risk groups for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are individuals removed as children from their families, former inmates, the homeless and families evicted from public rental housing. When children are removed from their families because of alleged exposure to violence, dysfunction and other perceived aberrant behaviour they are not provided adequate healing and trauma informed counselling and restorative therapies.
The removal of a child from his or her family is a significant psychosocial hit, going straight to the validity of the psychosocial self and the id and simply it hurts, for many unbearably. Where there is no prospect of reunification with the parent(s) and siblings the trauma can degenerate to a constancy of traumas. One’s familial identity is made a liability and there is a disconnection with who they are and this impacts who they will be. Doubly so for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who daily have to deal with potential racism and the negative public spectacles and ceaseless conversations that diminish their historical and traditional heritage. When your identity is manifest as a liability it rips into your self-worth.