More support for those in crisis

Released 05/11/2018

The ACT is set to take part in a research trial of the LifeSpan integrated suicide prevention framework to help strengthen support services for people facing suicidal crisis.

The LifeSpan framework aims to build a safety net for the community by connecting and coordinating new and existing interventions and programs, and building the capacity of the community to better support people facing suicide crisis.

According to the Black Dog Institute’s research, this integrated systems approach has the potential to prevent around 21 percent of suicide deaths, and 30 percent of suicide attempts. It will include a strong voice from people with a lived experience of suicide, including family members and carers.

“The ACT Government has invested $1.545 million to establish the suicide prevention framework, which combines nine strategies for suicide prevention into one community-led approach,” Minister for Mental Health Shane Rattenbury said today.

This includes:

  • Improving emergency and follow-up care for suicidal crisis;
  • Using evidence-based treatment for suicidality;
  • Equipping primary care to identify and support people in distress;
  • Improving the competency and confidence of frontline workers to deal with suicidal crisis;
  • Training the community to recognise and respond to suicidality;
  • Promoting help-seeking, mental health, and resilience in schools;
  • Engaging the community and providing opportunities to be part of the change;
  • Encouraging safe and purposeful media reporting; and
  • Improving safety and reducing access to means of suicide.

Minster for Mental Health Shane Rattenbury will today be joined by ACT Health representatives, Dr Fiona Shand, Research Director for LifeSpan at the Black Dog Institute and Lauren Anthes, General Manager of Planning and Performance at Capital Health Network to launch the trial locally.

“This is a great example of a partnership between, government, non-government sectors and community working together towards a common goal: suicide prevention,” Black Dog Institute’s Dr Fiona Shand said.

General Practitioners are often the first point of contact for those in need of suicide support. As such, $300,000 in funding for 2018-19 will be directed towards primary health care.

Suicide prevention: key Government focus

The ACT Government has also provided additional funding for suicide prevention and to support community agencies working in suicide prevention in the ACT.

Earlier this year the Government provided $60,000 for suicide prevention through the Let’s Talk Funding Grants to enable the mental health sector to better communicate suicide prevention services to Canberrans.

“The Government is committed to an integrated approach to mental wellbeing, suicide prevention and self-harm prevention that works with the community as a whole,” Mr Rattenbury said.

Today’s announcement also follows recent funding of $350,000 of the Way Back Support service, to provide additional support those who have tried to take their own lives.

“We know that those who have attempted suicide in the past are disproportionately more likely to attempt suicide again,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“We know that community groups are out there providing services on the front line and are extremely well-placed to deliver support services and education to vulnerable Canberrans. In providing the right support at the right time, we can reduce the devastating impacts of suicide in our community.”

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15 to 44 years, and the second leading cause for those aged 45 to 54 years.

- Statement ends -

Section: Shane Rattenbury, MLA | Media Releases

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