About the Rising Spirits website

About the Rising Spirits website

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. Tauto Sansbury talked about this prevalence of premature death in his letter, 8 Funerals in 13 Days, which helped inspire the Rising Spirits Project.

Click here to download a PDF of 77 Aboriginal suicides in South Australia alone by Gerry Georgatos, October 4th, 2013 or click here to view online.

The 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 research timeframe.

This website is a practical outcome of the Rising Spirits project and aims to offer information and resources for the SA Aboriginal community and service providers.


We would like to honour the memory of AHCSA CEO, the late Mary Buckskin who, in 2011, highlighted the importance of improving supports for Aboriginal people who are in bereavement. It was her inspiration and wise counsel that motivated this project.

We also owe an enormous debt to the participants who shared their stories with us, imparting deep knowledge and understanding wrought of sad loss but incredible resilience. We are grateful to Beyondblue which funded the project, and to AHCSA which administered it, contributing substantial in-kind support.

Our partners UniSA and SAHMRI supported their researchers to participate in very significant ways. The Research Team and the Aboriginal Advisory Group are to be congratulated for their important contributions and guidance.

Finally, Nunkuwarrin Yunti’s People Development Unit facilitated our consultations with their SEWB network and their attendance at our Statewide Forum.