Suicide prevention research is a central concern of researchers at CCDE. Our focus is primarily on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and communities, and we approach suicide prevention from multiple perspectives and through different activities:

  • policy development and engagement
  • community- and school-based early intervention and prevention
  • clinically oriented research in hospitals and community mental health services and population level research on determinants of suicide risk and protection.

Our parenting programs were initiated as part of a community response to alarming rates of suicide on the Tiwi Islands and other NT communities. They aim to provide support for the development of at risk children and their families.

We have developed preventative social-emotional learning programs and anti-bullying resources for Aboriginal youth from remote communities.

Our projects also evaluate outcomes of hospital treatment, mental health care and prevention services and aim to contribute to best practice in assessment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people presenting to hospitals with suicidal thoughts and behaviours. 

We conduct studies of self-harm in the wider community, focusing on identification of risk and protective factors at the population level. CYDRP / hospitalisation study

In 2013, a CCDE team led a national consultancy to draft Australia’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy, launched in May 2013. The national strategy is available on the Australian Government Department of Health website

  • Commonwealth Department of Health
  • beyondblue
  • National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Centre for Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention, University of WA
  • Headspace NT
  • NT Commissioner for Children
  • NT Departments of Health, Education, Attorney General and Justice and Territory Families
Current publications:
  • CBATSISP Guidelines
  • Report: Outcomes following hospitalised suicidal behaviour in the Northern Territory and opportunities for prevention.
  • Leckning B, He VYF, Condon JR, Hirvonen T, Milroy H, Guthridge S. Patterns of child protection service involvement by Aboriginal children associated with a higher risk of self-harm in adolescence: A retrospective population cohort study using linked administrative data. Child Abuse Negl. 2021 Mar;113:104931. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2021.104931. Epub 2021 Jan 15. PMID: 33461112.
  • Robinson, Gary & Lee, Eunro & Silburn, Sven & Nagel, Patricia & Leckning, Bernard & Midford, Richard. (2020). School-Based Prevention in Very Remote Settings: A Feasibility Trial of Methods and Measures for the Evaluation of a Social Emotional Learning Program for Indigenous Students in Remote Northern Australia. Frontiers in Public Health. 8. 552878. 10.3389/fpubh.2020.552878.
  • Leckning, Bernard & Borschmann, Rohan & Bradley, Pat & Silburn, Sven & Guthridge, Steven & Robinson, Gary. (2020). Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Emergency Department Presentations Involving Suicide-Related Thoughts and Behaviors. Crisis The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention. 10.1027/0227-5910/a000675.
  • Leckning, Bernard & Hirvonen, Tanja & Armstrong, Gregory & Carey, Tim & Westby, Mark & Ringbauer, Alix & Robinson, Gary. (2019). The BestPrAxIS study: Developing best practice guidelines for psychosocial assessment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people presenting to hospital with self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
  • Leckning, B., Robinson, G., Guthridge, S., & He, V. (2019). Exploring risk profiles of young people with self-harm hospital admissions in the Northern Territory . Darwin: Menzies School of Health Research. 
Earlier publications:
  • Leckning, B. A., Li, S. Q., Cunningham, T., Guthridge, S., Robinson, G., Nagel, T., & Silburn, S. (2016). Trends in hospital admissions involving suicidal behaviour in the Northern Territory, 2001–2013. Australasian Psychiatry, 24(3), 300–304.
  • Robinson, G., Leckning, B., Midford, R., Harper, H., Silburn, S., Gannaway, J., ... Delphine, T. (2016). Developing a school-based preventive life skills program for youth in a remote Indigenous community in North Australia. Health Education, 116(5), 510-523.
  • Robinson, G., Silburn, S., & Leckning, B. (2012). Suicide of Children and Youth in the NT, 2006-2010: Public Release Report for the Child Deaths Review and Prevention Committee, Darwin.
  • Silburn, S., Robinson, G., Leckning, B., Henry, D., Cox, A., & Kickett, D. (2014). ‘Preventing Suicide Among Aboriginal Australians’ in P. Dudgeon, H. Milroy and R. Walker (eds) Working Together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Wellbeing Principles and Practice, 2nd ed., Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.
  • Arney, F., McGuinness, K., & Westby, M. (2012). Report on the Implementation of Family Group Conferencing with Aboriginal Families in Alice Springs. Centre for Child Development and Education, Darwin: Menzies School of Health Research.
  • Leckning, B. A., Li, S.Q., Cunningham, T., Guthridge, S., Robinson, G., Nagel, T., & Silburn, S. (2016), Trends in hospital admissions involving suicidal behaviour in the Northern Territory, 2001–2013. Australasian Psychiatry 24(3) 300-304.
  • Roberts, C.M., Kane, R.T., Rodney, R.M., Pintabone, Y., Baughman, N., Hassan, S., Cross, D., Zubrick, S., & Silburn, S. (2018). Efficacy of the Aussie Optimism Randomised Controlled Trial: Promoting Pros-social Behaviours and Preventing Suicidality in Primary School Students. Frontiers in Psychology, 8(1392).