Year: 2022 Source: The Australian Community Psychologist. (2022). 31(2), 23-38. SIEC No: 20220099

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in Queensland die by suicide at more than four times the rate of their non-Indigenous peers. As the evidence of successful suicide prevention is limited, understanding effective mechanisms is crucial. The United Health Education and Learning Program (UHELP) pilot program evaluation found a significant decrease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth suicidal ideation. A further qualitative analysis to explore participants’ experiences and perspectives to identify intervention elements contributing to the positive outcomes was conducted and presented in this paper. In total 30 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people of 54 returned their surveys about the program. A qualitative thematic analysis of open-ended questions revealed three main themes: 1) connectedness; 2) confidence; and 3) knowledge. Within the community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach, the thematic analysis results were further discussed and reviewed within the broader community. From these findings the following recommendations were made at a community level for future UHELP deliveries: 1) facilitators should be accessible for young people to connect with after the sessions, rather than implementing the content in a stand-alone approach; 2) UHELP sessions should include staff from local mental health services that participants could access for treatment; and 3) evaluate impact of UHELP on cultural identity and connectedness.