The nine Lifespan strategies. Source:

The nine Lifespan strategies. 

4 August 2016

A pioneering new approach to suicide prevention announced today has the potential to reduce suicide deaths by 20% and suicide attempts by 30%, NSW Mental Health Commissioner Mr John Feneley said.

The four regions across NSW that will trial the new evidence-based “systems approach” are Newcastle, Illawarra Shoalhaven, Gosford/Wyong and the Murrumbidgee.

Called Lifespan, the program is being implemented by the Black Dog Institute and Centre for Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention (CRESP). It involves the simultaneous implementation of nine strategies proven to reduce suicide, including reducing access to lethal means, training for general practitioners, and school programs.

The approach was developed by CRESP with funding from the Mental Health Commission of NSW and in partnership with researchers, clinicians, community organisations, Indigenous health groups and people with lived experience of suicide and mental illness.

“There is abundant evidence about what works to prevent suicide, but it is often patchily implemented,” Mr Feneley said.

“By combining these nine proven strategies within an overarching systems approach, we believe we may have a chance to amplify their effect and make a dramatic difference to the number of lives lost.”

The trial will commence in Newcastle in October 2016 and proceed in a staged roll out over 2.5 years. The four regions involved in the trial were chosen by the Black Dog Institute and CRESP following a rigorous selection process that evaluated community need, readiness and capacity.

Lifespan is being implemented in partnership with the NSW Department of Health, Commonwealth Primary Health Networks, NSW Department of Education and local community organisations. The trial has been enabled by a generous $14.7 million grant from the Paul Ramsay Foundation.

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View previous news stories related to this project:

Release of Proposed Suicide Prevention Framework for NSW (August 2015)

$14.7 million private donation to fund trial of suicide prevention framework (December 2015)

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Last updated: 24 June 2017