Magazine article New Internationalist

Community Matters

Magazine article New Internationalist

Community Matters

Article excerpt

In February this year Australian madia reportad tha story of the remote indigenous community of Doomadgee in northwest Queensland where, over a period of 14 months, 18 people had killed themselves. The population of the township is just over 1,000.

The official rebuttal was quick - the figure was for the entire North West Health District and Doomadgee itself had had one suicide in that period. Some of the other people who had killed themselves had 'strong links' with Doomadgee.

That the media prefers to sensationalize reporting on suicide is in no doubt, regardless of what may be 'the truth' of what happened in Doomadgee. However, reports of this nature arise from an all-too-palpable disintegration of Aboriginal communities under the onslaught of racism, cultural annihilation and crushing lack of opportunity.

Higher suicide rates, particularly among young men, are one expression. Much higher rates of incarceration and substance dependency (both of which are often linked with suicide) are others. …

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