Dr Paul Brown, The Pierre Janet Centre, Melbourne | the Stringer |November 2nd, 2014:

I have just returned home to Melbourne from working as a locum consultant psychiatrist at Alice Springs Hospital. I also work in research. My field is suicide. Over the last decade, I have developed a theory of suicide which centres on violence and secularisation. I believe that subjects are mostly either driven or abandoned to suicide. I call this nemesism. In Aboriginal culture, the equivalent of secularisation is Westernisation. My nemesism-secularisation theory is informed by cultural studies in both First and Third World environments, most notably of Jews and Gentiles in pre-Nazi and Nazi Germany. Over the last year, my views on suicide have been reinforced by my first-hand experience as a veteran psychiatrist accessing Aboriginal and non-indigenous communities in WA, Victoria, Queensland and NT.

The statistics for Aboriginal suicide have been repeatedly published. Here, only the headlines need repeating. Georgatos’ (National senior consultant Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project) 2013 article in the Independent Newspaper[i] is my source. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported 996 Aboriginal suicides across Australia between 2000 and 2010. That was one in every 24 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders. Mowanjum near Derby suffered a spate of suicides 100 times the national average. And, for every completed Aboriginal suicide across Australia, there were hundreds of attempted suicides.

Aboriginal youth suicide is at the heart of the epidemic. In part, the vulnerability of this age group reflects demographics…

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