Priority 3: Preventing suicide

Suicide and attempting suicide are the most devastating consequences of mental distress. We know suicidal behaviour results from interaction between many factors in a person’s life, including their social and economic circumstances and their culture and individual history. A wealth of evidence shows suicide can be prevented through strategies aimed at individuals and entire communities.

This is a 2015-18 priority because

  • If we make a clear commitment to rigorously understanding the causes of suicide and the best means for preventing it, we can act on this knowledge in order to save people’s lives
  • Some groups in our community are affected by suicide at much greater rates than others. This is an injustice that we have an obligation to challenge and remedy.

2015-2017 Projects

Suicide Prevention Advisory Group

The Commissioner has convened a Suicide Prevention Advisory Group, to advise and inform the Commission on issues relating to suicide prevention.

Living Well Action 3.4.1

Proposed Suicide Prevention Framework for NSW

The Proposed Suicide Prevention Framework for NSW was launched at a National Suicide Prevention Summit at Parliament House in Canberra on 10 August 2015. The Framework was funded by the Commission and developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Centre of Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention with the Black Dog Institute

The framework identifies nine strategies that could be applied in parallel at a local or regional level to reduce the number of suicides.

Living Well Action 3.4.2

Conversations Matter

Conversations Matter is an online practical guide to help individuals, professionals or communities have safe, supportive and productive conversations about suicide. It is a joint project of the Commission and the Hunter Institute for Mental Health, begun in 2013, which will be extended to include materials tailored to professionals working with Aboriginal communities and culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and engagement with those communities to promote its use.

Living Well Actions 3.4.3 and 7.2.2

Communities Matter

Working with Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) the Commission developed Communities Matter, an online toolkit to support small towns to turn conversations and interest in suicide prevention into activities that reflect local need. The toolkit outlines, in plain English, evidence-informed suicide prevention strategies to support communities to undertake suicide prevention activities and combat stigma.

Living Well Action 3.4.3


iBobbly app for Aboriginal youth

The Commission has contracted the Black Dog Institute to extend and improve the content of the iBobbly smartphone app, which uses evidence-based and culturally appropriate content to reach young Aboriginal people who are at risk of suicide, and who have very low levels of help-seeking. The project is intended to make iBobbly more relevant and engaging to a wider group of users, and thereby facilitate uptake and evaluation of the app in other regions. Other partners are Alive & Kicking Goals!, HITnet Innovations, Thoughtworks, Muru Marri Indigenous Health Unit UNSW, the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre (YAW-CRC) and BackTrack (Armidale).

Download the NSW iBobbly report.

Living Well Actions 2.2.6 and 3.4.3

Scoping a systems approach to suicide prevention

The Commission has contracted the Black Dog Institute and the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention (CRESP) to develop a model to investigate whether dramatic reductions in the suicide rate could be achieved if multiple interventions known to be successful were integrated and applied simultaneously. Black Dog researchers believe that such a systems-based approach could lower suicides and attempted suicides by 20 per cent within two years. In this project, the research team will collect information to determine the feasibility and methods required to establish a systems based approach to suicide prevention in one regional and one metro area of NSW.

Download the Implementation plan for the systems approach to suicide prevention in NSW Summary Paper 1.2 MB

Living Well Action 3.4.5

Language when talking about suicide

Beyondblue has some tips on how to avoid stigmatising terminology here.

Last updated: 5 April 2017

Share this