People of NSW will be better supported to work together to prevent suicide in their local communities under a new statewide framework.
The NSW Mental Health Commissioner Catherine Lourey today welcomed the announcement by Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies of a new Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention in NSW 2018-2023, to drive suicide prevention efforts across the state in a more focused and coordinated approach.
The Framework was developed by the Mental Health Commission of New South Wales and the NSW Ministry of Health in collaboration with people with lived experience of suicide attempts or losing a loved one to suicide, government agencies, mental health organisations and experts in suicide prevention.
“About 16 people lose their lives to suicide each week in NSW, causing lasting distress for their loved ones, friends, colleagues and communities,” Ms Lourey said.
“This new Framework sets out how individuals, communities, organisations, the private sector and government can work together to ensure fewer of us in NSW are impacted by suicide.
“It is about stepping in when distress and hardship are too much to bear, and providing a coordinated response to help the person find their way through their difficulties.”
The Framework identifies five priority action areas to reduce suicide in NSW:
- Building individual and community resilience and wellbeing
To help people cope with tough times
- Strengthening the community response to suicide and suicidal behaviour
To help people recognise those who are at risk of suicide, and take steps to support them
- Supporting excellence in clinical services and care
To ensure people have access to appropriate, high quality clinical services and care, including broader supports and services
- Promoting a collaborative, coordinated and integrated approach
To reduce duplication and gaps
- Innovating for a stronger evidence base
To know and use interventions that work to prevent suicide.
The Commission consulted around 1800 people on the Framework’s development, including travelling to ten communities around NSW and via a public survey.
As well, the Commission held targeted consultations with priority populations, namely LGBTIQ people, Aboriginal people, young people and those living in rural and remote communities in NSW.
“Communities told us they want to own local solutions to improve their wellbeing and prevent suicide, with the support of safe and accessible services. Calling 000 was not a solution to the distress they were feeling or for the help they needed,” Ms Lourey said.
“The Framework responds to this feedback, with the NSW Government outlining ‘tailored community response packages’ as one of its three areas for immediate attention.
“Suicide and attempted suicide are the most devastating consequences of distress, but together, we can support each other to save lives. This Framework provides guidance on what agencies, communities and individuals can do to get there.”