What does it mean to say that Aboriginal suicide is different? Differing cultures, accounts, and idioms of distress in the context of the indigenous youth suicide
Colin Tatz's article provides a provocative and ostensibly 'different' perspective on indigenous suicide. There are multiple problems with the arguments and evidence presented, and the article, as a whole, is arguably more of a rhetorical 'argument' and ideological position and challenge than a research report, considered review of the theoretical or research literatures addressing this phenomenon, or substantive analysis of a critical and salient social problem. It should not be confused with a systematic, evidence and research findings-based study and/or evaluation of the evidence of others. Given the status of the author, the seriousness of the issue, and the social problem construction character of the public discussion to date, it is important that some counter views and caveats are offered, ideally from a spectrum of disciplinary, professional practice, and cross-cultural perspectives. Professional and 'research-based' analyses, accounts and evaluations have real consequences, not only in the context of prevention and intervention programs, policy initiatives and reviews, and funding in the health sector, but also with respect to public understandings of science and, in this case, health and prevention programs. The article and position offered by Tatz could well have unfortunate consequences with respect to prejudicial disciplinary and professional practice judgements, and the discounting of important and very necessary initiatives and programs at the level of preventive public health and individual and community intervention.
Australian Aboriginal Studies