Health workers’ views of help seeking and suicide among Aboriginal people in rural Victoria

Anton N. Isaacs, Keith Sutton, Stuart Hearn, Gilbert Wanganeen, Patricia Dudgeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To explore Aboriginal health workers’ views about help seeking and suicide. Design: One-to-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants. Data were analysed thematically. Setting: Njernda Aboriginal Corporation and the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal Community of Echuca, Victoria. Participants: Twenty seven participants (15 men and 12 women) over the age of 18 years were interviewed, of which 24 were Aboriginal workers employed by Njernda Aboriginal Corporation. Results: Four themes emerged from the data: ‘Difficulty in talking about one's problems’; ‘Reasons for not talking with family and peers’; ‘Lack of access to suitable formal supports’ and ‘Consequences of not talking about one's problems’. Conclusion: This study unpacks the problem of help seeking for psychological distress among rural Aboriginal people and highlights its association with suicide and self-harm. The findings suggest that the barriers faced by Aboriginal people in sharing their traumatic emotions exist from childhood to older age groups and this inability to seek and obtain help can lead to self-harm and suicide. Similar studies on Aboriginal help seeking and suicide will help shed more light on this challenging issue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-174
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


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