Culture is Life
Connecting and Belonging
‘Culture is life deepens connections and belonging by backing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led solutions to prevent youth suicide and to support young people to thrive.’
Culture Is Life Blog
I work for Culture Is Life, a not-for-profit combating suicide and self-harm among young First Australians – nine times the rate in the general population. As a nation we need urgently to ask ourselves, how can we counter the crippling despair overcoming so many of our young people? We believe some answers lie in strengthening their connections to culture, community and history. But there's another ingredient we can't supply – empathy and respect from our fellow Australians.
Since New Year’s Day, at least five Aboriginal young people have tragically taken their own lives. It was so distressing there was extensive media coverage for a change. Yet week in and week out, self-harm and suicide have grown into an epidemic among First Nations young people.
For five days, five other Aboriginal young people and I attended an intensive Cultural Exchange in Aotearoa. For the five days, our cohort of Indigenous youth were immersed in the culture of the Maori people of the South Island; learning language, sharing in customs and building friendships that will last long into the future.