Statistics about Indigenous youth suicide are startling, with young Aboriginal people five times more likely to take their own lives than non-Aboriginal people. At this self-managed community more than 900 kilometres north of Perth, with 72 residents and a school that enrols children from kindergarten to Year 10, there have been no suicides since it was established in 1992. It is using music and song to engage young Aboriginal people at risk.
With so many negative stories going around about youth suicide, especially among our Indigenous youth, it’s great to see the positive work being done in the small remote community of Yulga Jinna.
The community is over 900 kilometres North of Perth and the school there serves children from Kindergarten to Year 10. Teachers at the school use music to engage the students and deal with mental health issues.
Since the school was established in 1992, they have recorded no suicides at all. Children are encouraged to talk through their music and have produced a song which they wrote themselves called Yulga Jinna Kid (available for viewing on YouTube).
Art in all of its many forms can be a great release, so much so that most psychiatric clinics and hospitals offer Art Therapy classes as part of their healing models. Writing literature, drawing, painting, sculpting, woodwork, metal work, pottery, singing, listening to or playing music, dancing, drama, craft endeavours and so forth all provide a relaxing release from the tension that trauma of any kind can cause as well as allowing self expression. One could even view gardening and decorating/renovations as a form of art – equally satisfying, healing and offering release from the stresses of life.
FACAA use music, drum and bass, dance, percussion, belly dancing to help survivors of child abuse overcome their ordeals. We do this to break the cycle of child abuse one survivor at a time. The awesome people at Yulga Jinna use similar programs to stop young people in their community. Well done Yulga Jinna.
You don’t have to be good at it, you just have to enjoy it. If you have never tried any form of art or craft before and you sometimes struggle with your own mental health, there is no better time than the present to experiment and see what fits you. You never know, you may just uncover a hidden talent within yourself along the way. (GE)