A model of early intervention for suicidal ideation and psychological distress among Aboriginal communities

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Aim: To develop a community based, transferable and sustainable Aboriginal model for early identification and referral of people with psychological distress and suicidal ideation.
Background: Aboriginal people and men in particular have difficulty seeking help for their mental health problems (1). Disclosing their problems or sharing it with others appears to be a major obstacle (2). When Aboriginal people who have been struggling with personal issues for a long time do seek help, health workers often do not have the time (1or more hours) to listen to their stories. This makes individuals feel frustrated and uncared for. It also increases the risk of prolonged psychological distress and suicide ideation.
Content: The presentation will describe the rationale for, the development of and the usefulness of the Jekkora Spear Group Model for the early identification of individuals showing signs of psychological distress or suicidal ideation. The model is built around a group of trained volunteers through a collaborative effort between the Social and emotional wellbeing service, the medical service and a mental health nurse.
Results: The Jekkora Spear Group model improves access to culturally appropriate support and care for those displaying signs of psychological distress in rural Aboriginal communities. It is a good example of a locally developed, replicable, culturally acceptable, problem specific and result oriented service that is both cost effective and sustainable.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventMental Health Services (MHS) Conference 2015: Translating Best Practice into Reality - National Convention Centre, Canberra, Australia
Duration: 25 Aug 201528 Aug 2015
https://www.themhs.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Conference_Handbook_2015.pdf (Conference Handbook)


ConferenceMental Health Services (MHS) Conference 2015
Abbreviated titleTheMHS 2015
Internet address


  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
  • Suicide prevention
  • Community models

Cite this

Hearn, S., Isaacs, A. N., & Sutton, K. (2015). A model of early intervention for suicidal ideation and psychological distress among Aboriginal communities. Abstract from Mental Health Services (MHS) Conference 2015, Canberra, Australia.