Publication Details

Carlson, B., Farrelly, T., Frazer, R. and Borthwick, F. (2015). Mediating tragedy: facebook, aboriginal peoples and suicide. Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 19 1-15.

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Australasian Journal of Information Systems

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Creative Commons 3.0


Some Australian Aboriginal communities experience suicide rates that are among the highest in the world. They are also, however, avid social media users—approximately 20 percent higher than the national average. This article presents some preliminary findings from a current national study, funded by the Australian Research Council, titled Aboriginal identity and community online: a sociological exploration of Aboriginal peoples’ use of online social media. The purpose of the study is to gain insights into how Aboriginal people utilise and interact on social media, and how these technologies can assist with suicide prevention strategies. It found that Aboriginal people are engaging with Facebook to both seek and offer help for issues relating to suicide and self-harm. An existing continuum of suicide prevention strategies was evident—from light emotional support to direct suicide intervention involving health services. These strategies can be leveraged to implement effective and appropriate suicide prevention programs.

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