Leaders in suicide prevention gathered together last week (8 February) to discuss suicide prevention issues and share details of activities planned for NSW and Australia in 2017.
Attendees from over 20 organisations heard about the progress of LifeSpan, a multi-strategy suicide prevention trial being led by the Black Dog Institute in four NSW communities over six years. Black Dog Institute CEO Helen Christensen reported the project commenced in Newcastle in October 2016, and will commence in Illawarra Shoalhaven this month. The trial will begin in the two other communities – Murrumbidgee and the Central Coast – in the second half of 2017.
This was followed by a discussion about the data needed to support suicide prevention activities, including the merits of developing a suicide register in NSW. This included a brief overview of the current models in Victoria and Queensland.
Participants also discussed the Australian Government’s planned 12 suicide prevention trial sites and were provided with a status update on the NSW Government’s Suicide Prevention Fund expression of interest process.
The meeting included an acknowledgment of those whose lives have been touched by suicide by new NSW Deputy Mental Health Commissioner Allan Sparkes. Mr Sparkes has personal experience of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide.
The meeting was the third gathering of the Suicide Prevention Advisory Group, established in 2016 by the NSW Mental Health Commission to improve the planning, monitoring and co-ordination of suicide prevention efforts in NSW. The Group meets every six months and includes participants whose lives have been affected by suicide, as well as representatives from organisations including:
Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council
Black Dog Institute
Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health
Coroner’s Court of NSW
Council on the Ageing NSW
Hunter Institute of Mental Health
Hunter Primary Care
Lifeline Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Mates in Construction
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Advisory Group
National StandBy Response Service
NSW Farmers Association
Primary Health Networks
Suicide Prevention Australia
Tamworth Regional Council
UnitingCare Mental Health
Uniting Church in Australia
NSW government agencies: Premier and Cabinet, Aboriginal Affairs, Police, Ambulance, Health, Education, Family and Community Services, and Transport, Office of the Minister for Mental Health
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