The youth suicide rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia are four times the national youth average.
A 2013 survey of Indigenous people reported that a dislike of health services prevented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from seeking appropriate mental health support.
Due to the limited uptake of existing interventions by Indigenous communities, health services are working with these communities to find new ways to ensure mental health supports are accessible and effective, with a focus on promoting youth help-seeking and early intervention and prevention initiatives.
iBobbly is the world's first suicide and mental illness prevention app for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia. Everything seen, heard and experienced in the app is shaped by, or delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
A recent pilot study carried out in Western Australia found there was a significant reduction in scores of suicidal thinking, depression and distress from using iBobbly and that appropriately designed self-help apps are an acceptable means of lowering symptoms for mental health disorders in remote communities.
With our support, Black Dog Institute will roll out iBobbly in a large-scale trial in regional and urban areas of NSW, connecting Indigenous youth with both digital and local face-to-face support.
As Indigenous youth have a high rate of mobile usage, iBobbly aims to provide a new form of intervention that is easily accessible and helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to learn skills to manage distress and suicidal thinking.
By learning these skills and by increasing help-seeking it is hoped there will be a reduction in the number of suicide attempts and death by suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.