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Fundraising concert to raise awareness for Indigenous suicide prevention

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fundraising concert for indigenous suicide prevention

On World Suicide Prevention Day September 10th, The Westerman Jilya Institute will host a fundraising concert for Indigenous suicide prevention featuring a star-studded line up of Indigenous artists, with special guest John Butler. 

The Concert will feature top Indigenous artists Gina Williams AM and Guy Ghouse, Kobi Morrison, Bojesse Pigram and Naomi Pigram, and will be headlined by a special guest: internationally renowned, ARIA-award winning musician and songwriter John Butler. 

The Concert will be held on Friday September 10th at Winthrop Hall at the University of Western Australia, Perth. Tickets went on sale starting Monday 12th of July.  

The concert aims to raise $175,500 through a donor initiated online auction, sponsors and ticket sales. One scholarship is $11,700 and the institute is aiming to fund 15 this year to add to the existing 15.   

“Jilya means ‘my child’ in Nyamal: for this is about our children; to provide a world in which our most vulnerable Indigenous children have at least an equal opportunity to thrive,” the institute said in a statement. 

All funds raised will go towards The Westerman Jilya Institute, which advances, supports and mentors Indigenous psychologists for Australia’s highest risk communities. 

The announcement of the Concert comes just days after The Westerman Jilya Institute confirmed its receipt of a $403,000 Lotterywest grant — its first operational grant since the Institute was launched eight months ago on World Suicide Prevention Day 2020.  

Lotterywest is one of the few lotteries in the world where all profits are returned back to the community, and the Westerman Jilya Institute will be using the grant towards the expansion of its critical mental health and suicide prevention work. 

Indigenous suicide prevention 

The suicide rates for Indigenous children in Australia are amongst the highest in the world, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged between 15 and 24 are almost four times more likely to commit suicide than non-Indigenous people the same age, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. 

Dr. Tracy Westerman AM, founded the Westerman Jilya Institute in response to the unacceptable rates of Indigenous child suicide. She says the Concert represents a significant coming together of all Australians to say that these lives matter and they matter equally. This includes an incredible list of renowned artists in support of Indigenous suicide prevention.  

“We are incredibly grateful for these generous and talented musicians giving up their time to support us in this most vital of causes,” Dr. Westerman says.  

“We are also humbled by the support of the University of Western Australia, who have so generously donated the use of Winthrop Hall and all associated audiovisual support and staffing for the concert. 

“The Westerman Jilya Institute is committed to building an army of Indigenous psychologists across Australia to ensure our best opportunities for a future free of the unacceptable rates of Indigenous child suicides.  

“The work of The Westerman Jilya Institute provides our best opportunity of addressing this unbearable tragedy that has plagued our communities for decades, and the Concert will provide a significant step for all Australians to join us in raising money and awareness for this cause. 

“The Jilya concert is about showing our most vulnerable communities that when issues like child suicide feel so overwhelming, there is something that can be done. For those communities that have carried the burden of grief associated with these unacceptable deaths, there is light within that darkness,” Westerman said.

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