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Rising Spirits Community Resilience Project Final Research

The mortality rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is 1.6 times higher than for non- Indigenous people. The high prevalence of premature deaths in Aboriginal communities means that Aboriginal people are grieving and attending funerals all the time.

The two-year long, Rising Spirits Community Resilience project investigated what supports Aboriginal people need during bereavement, what is available that is being utilised by Aboriginal people, where the gaps are and the readiness of communities and the state to address grief and loss. Services and inter-agency linkages were mapped indicating the direction of referrals, the closeness of partnerships, sectors, and whether funding ceased within the two-year research timeframe.

We interviewed 134 people (82% being Aboriginal and 66% being female) in all geographic regions of South Australia. Interviewees included CEOs and Board members of ACCHS, Elders, Aboriginal community members, Aboriginal Health Workers and Liaison Officers, Social and Emotional Wellbeing workers, counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, trainers, youth workers and workers in the criminal justice system.

Our findings were corroborated throughout the project, and finally at a state-wide Forum where we fed them back to the 55 participants. Attendees worked in discussion groups to draft state-wide recommendations and verify the regional maps of services and fill in missing linkages and gaps.