Part 2: Systems-based Approaches to Suicide Prevention

Systems-based and multiple simultaneous approaches

National Suicide Prevention Strategy

Policy document Reference Description
LiFE Framework (2007)
  • The 2007 National Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS) is operationalised through the Life is for Everyone (LiFE) Framework – an adaptation of the LiFE Model – which is based on the premise that suicide prevention and activities and programs should be coordinated across eight overlapping domains of care and support:
    • universal interventions
    • selective interventions
    • indicated interventions
    • symptom identification
    • early intervention
    • standard treatment
    • longer-term treatment and support.
  • These overlapping domains target different sections of the population at all stages of suicide risk, treatment and recovery to provide comprehensive support and care.
  • To achieve its objective and goals, the LiFE Framework sets out six action areas which have been adapted by other suicide prevention strategies including the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy (discussed below). The action areas include:
    • Improving the evidence base and understanding of suicide prevention through building a high-quality body of research on effective activities and developing thorough evaluation methodologies;
    • Building individual resilience and capacity for self-help by promoting supportive environments;
    • Improving community strength, resilience and capacity in suicide prevention by raising awareness of suicide prevention in families and communities and when to take action;
    • Taking a coordinated approach to suicide prevention that involves the collaboration of communities, organisations and all levels of government;
    • Providing targeted suicide prevention activities with a focus on prevention and early intervention, individual resilience, help-seeking and supportive environments; and
    • Implementing standards and quality in suicide prevention and drawing on the evidence base to determine effective activities.
  • The LIFE Framework informs, but is being superseded at time of writing by, systems-based approaches as discussed below.

National Suicide Prevention Implementation Strategy in development

Policy document Reference Description
Fifth Plan (2017–2023) Action 4 (imp) p.11/ Action 3, p.24, Action 4, p.25
  • [SPPRG] will lead the development of the National Suicide Prevention Implementation Strategy. This will include a focus on 11 elements drawn from the World Health Organization’s (2014) Preventing Suicide – A Global Imperative (at p.57):
    • Surveillance—increase the quality and timeliness of data on suicide and suicide attempts.
    • Means restriction—reduce the availability, accessibility and attractiveness of the means to suicide.
    • Media—promote implementation of media guidelines to support responsible reporting of suicide in print, broadcasting and social media.
    • Access to services—promote increased access to comprehensive services for those vulnerable to suicidal behaviours and remove barriers to care.
    • Training and education—maintain comprehensive training programs for identified gatekeepers.
    • Treatment—improve the quality of clinical care and evidence-based clinical interventions, especially for individuals who present to hospital following a suicide attempt.
    • Crisis intervention—ensure that communities have the capacity to respond to crises with appropriate interventions.
    • Postvention—improve response to and caring for those affected by suicide and suicide attempts.
    • Awareness—establish public information campaigns to support the understanding that suicides are preventable.
    • Stigma reduction—promote the use of mental health services.
    • Oversight and coordination—utilise institutes or agencies to promote and coordinate research, training and service delivery in response to suicidal behaviours.
  • Governments will, through the [SPPRG of the MHPC] develop a National Suicide Prevention Implementation Strategy that operationalises the 11 elements above, taking into account existing strategies, plans and activities, with a priority focus on:
    • providing consistent and timely follow-up care for people who have attempted suicide or are at risk of suicide, including agreeing on clear roles and responsibilities for providers across the service system
    • providing timely follow-up support to people affected by suicide
    • improving cultural safety across all service settings
    • improving relationships between providers, including emergency services
    • improving data collections and combined evaluation efforts in order to build the evidence base on ‘what works’ in relation to preventing suicide and suicide attempts.

Indigenous-specific suicide prevention plan

Policy document Reference Description
Fifth Plan (2017–2023) Action 11
  •  [ATSIMHSPPRG] will work with the [SPPRG] on the development of a nationally agreed approach to suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, for inclusion in the National Suicide Prevention Implementation Strategy [TOR 1] NB: Subsequent meetings of both ATSIMHSPPRG and the SPPRG have resulted in agreement that a dedicated Indigenous suicide prevention plan will be developed guided by the 2013 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy (see above).
2019–20 Federal Budget
  • $4.5 million for Indigenous leadership to create a national [Indigenous suicide prevention] plan for culturally appropriate care, and services that recognise the value of community and protective social factors

Systems-based approaches being trialled

Policy document Reference Description
National Suicide Prevention Trial (ongoing) Systems-based approaches
  • The Australian Government is supporting the implementation and evaluation of twelve suicide prevention trial sites across Australia as part of the National Suicide Prevention Trial.
  • The trials are led by Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and aim to improve the current evidence for effective suicide prevention strategies at a local level for at-risk population groups. Each trial site will run for four years from 2016-17 to 2019-20 and receive Australian Government funding of up to $4 million. PHNs who have a trial site within their region are actively engaged with local stakeholders and have formed community working groups, as well as commissioning activities such as suicide prevention training, media campaigns and follow-up support services.
  • Selection of each trial site was determined with consideration for infrastructure and services available within the region. Factors considered for selection of trial sites included:
    • their relationship with other suicide prevention activities within Australia
    • the rate of suicide death within the region
    • the Government’s election commitments to mental health and suicide prevention in the region
    • participation in the Primary Health Network Mental Health Reform Lead Site Project…
  • Details of each trial site including date of implementation and target population are listed – at: https://www.lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/programs-resources/regional-approaches/phn
  • Each trial site will focus suicide prevention towards a specific priority population/s and administer prevention strategies reflecting community needs.
European Alliance Against Depression model
  • One systems-based approach being trialled in Australia (in Perth South) is the European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD) model (2008).
  • It aims to improve care and optimise treatment for patients with depressive disorders and to prevent suicidal behaviour by focusing on four pillars:
    • Primary health care and mental health care
    • General public depression awareness campaign
    • Focus on high risk groups and their relatives
    • Community facilitators and stakeholders
  • WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) is the national chapter for the European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD) and is committed to providing leadership for the ongoing dialogue and action around the treatment of depression and anxiety and the prevention of suicide. The EAAD four-pillar framework is based on evaluated trials and is recognised as the world’s best practice for the care of people with depression and in the reduction of suicide. It is a clinical model which is community-led.
  • WAPHA is using the principles of EAAD to inform its mental health commissioning and related activities throughout WA: “We believe this framework provides the platform to come together as stakeholders, partners and communities to treat depression and reduce deaths by suicide in WA.”
  • See: https://www.wapha.org.au/community/community-projects-and-stories/alliance-against-depression/
Black Dog Institute website LifeSpan Suicide Prevention Trial
  • LifeSpan is an evidence-based, systems-based approach to integrated suicide prevention developed by the Black Dog Institute. It combines nine strategies that have strong evidence for suicide prevention into one community-led approach incorporating health, education, frontline services, business and the community.
  • LifeSpan involves the implementation of nine evidence-based strategies from population level to the individual, implemented simultaneously within a localised region.
    • Providing 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
    • Promoting help-seeking, mental health and resilience in schools
    • Training the community to recognise and respond to suicidality
    • Engaging the community and providing opportunities to be part of the change
    • Encouraging safe and purposeful media reporting
    • Improving safety and reducing access to means of suicide
  • Based on scientific modelling, LifeSpan is predicted to prevent 21% of suicide deaths, and 30% of suicide attempts.
  • In December 2015, Black Dog Institute received an independent philanthropic grant from the Paul Ramsay Foundation to deliver LifeSpan in four sites in NSW through PHNs: Newcastle, Illawarra Shoalhaven, Central Coast and Murrumbidgee.
  • LifeSpan has rolled out:
    • Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) best-practice suicide prevention program to 5000 Year 9 students in NSW high schools.
    • Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) online program – One thousand people in NSW are now trained in the QPR online program, enabling community members and professionals to identify those at risk of suicide more effectively.
  • Another key element of ongoing support to trial sites is the provision of quality data for evidence-based decision making in suicide prevention. Black Dog is establishing a sophisticated analytics capability which allows us to advise regional suicide prevention groups on the best location, type of intervention and investment based on local needs and suicide risk levels. This ground-breaking work is the result of a partnership with the Australian National University and SAS, the global analytics company, and we look forward to further discussions with the Federal Government about continuing to develop this capability into a real-time national sentinel system, informing Government and Primary Health Networks about how best to target suicide prevention.
  • These trials will also deliver important insights into the tailoring of suicide prevention efforts to priority populations including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, young people, LGBTQI communities, men, rural and regional needs, and veterans.
Vic SP Framework (2016-25) Objective 5, p.26 Victorian SP Trials
  • Objective 5 is to… help local communities to prevent suicide through a coordinated place-based approach that delivers both universal and targeted interventions in communities across Victoria.
  • Victoria will trial the coordinated place-based approach to suicide prevention in six sites. This will enable local governance and coordination of government and non-government organisations to deliver multiple interventions in targeted local areas. The core features of a coordinated approach to suicide prevention are:
    • implementing a range of evidence-based strategies at the same time
    • multi-sectoral involvement by all government, non-government, health, business, education, research and community agencies
    •  governance within a localised area
    • demonstrating sustainability and long-term commitment.
  • This approach emphasises all relevant organisations and services working together in an integrated way, simultaneously and at a local level. It implements suicide prevention strategies that are proven to be effective, and builds the evidence base for emerging approaches. Each site will then develop a suicide prevention action plan based on a needs analysis. It will set out the specific actions to be taken to reduce suicide risk in the local community. This plan will consist of a set of core principles based on evidence of effective interventions, and specific strategies will be tailored to address unique community needs.
  • Each local plan will include locally adapted action from nine key suicide prevention interventions:
    • appropriate and continuing care once people leave emergency departments and hospitals
    • high-quality treatment for people with mental health problems
    • training general practitioners to assess depression and other mental illnesses, and support people at risk of suicide
    • suicide prevention training for frontline staff every three years, including police, ambulance and other first responders
    • gatekeeper training for people likely to come into contact with at-risk individuals
    • school-based peer support and mental health literacy programs • community suicide prevention awareness programs
    • responsible suicide reporting by media
    • reducing access to lethal means of suicide.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services will provide central coordination as well as support to each local site. This coordination and support will assist local communities to develop innovative, evidence-based suicide prevention plans that both support the policy directions of Victoria’s 10-year mental health plan and promote learning at the local community level about the most effective strategies.
  • The coordination and support will include advice on effective strategies, data analysis, access to research experts, coordination of effort across agencies, and shared learning and evaluation activities across sites. The sites commenced operation during the 2016–17 year.
  • The program may be expanded to more sites through real-time assessment of the impact of initial implementation sites and the needs of local communities. In each site the government will seek to partner with the primary health network, and provide coordination, support, and access to specialist expertise to ensure successful implementation.

Indigenous & Indigenous-specific National Suicide Prevention Trials/systems-based approaches

Policy document Reference Description
NATSISPS (2013) Outcome 3.5, p.36
  • There are integrated and collaborative approaches across sectors responding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander who are at high risk, such as people experiencing mental illness, substance misuse, incarceration, domestic violence, etc
NATSIHP /IP (2013-2023) Strategy 1C, p.13
  • Whole-of-life cycle health interventions are accessible and have a strong focus on prevention and early intervention to prevent mental health conditions and illness, chronic health conditions and injuries from occurring, including disability.
Darwin (ongoing) Strengthening Our Spirits model
  • Darwin is one of 12 regions selected for the Australian Government’s National Suicide Prevention Trial (as above).
  • In partnership with the community and key stakeholders, Northern Territory PHN is coordinating the implementation of the trial, focusing on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of the Greater Darwin region. Under the trial, suicide prevention services will adopt a more considered and tailored approach to better meet local needs.
  • Our Darwin trial site engaged the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to inform and lead the design of a systems-based approach to suicide prevention referred to as the Strengthening Our Spirits model based on the elements of fire, land, air and water. See: https://www.ntphn.org.au/strengthening-our-spirits
Kimberley (ongoing) ATSISPEP ‘success factors’ as the basis of a systems-based approach
  • The Australian Government chose the Kimberley as one of 12 national Suicide Prevention Trial Sites (as above) due to the tragic over-representation of suicide in Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley, where the age-adjusted rate of suicide is more than six times the national average.
  • The Trial is guided by the recommendations of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP).
  • A strong cultural framework underpins all Trial activities and community decision making on suicide prevention strategies in local communities.
  • The Trial is led by the WA Primary Health Alliance, Country WA PHN, in partnership with the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services (KAMS), who have been commissioned to co-design and co-govern the Trial.
  • The Trial’s Working Group is co-chaired by the Minister for Indigenous Health [now for Indigenous Australians], Ken Wyatt AM MP and the KAMS Deputy CEO, Mr Rob McPhee and has strong community representation from across the region. This group oversees the implementation of the operational plan.
  • The Trial also has a Steering Group, which has been nominated by the Working Group Members to make decisions that will progress the trial between the Working Group meetings.
  • https://www.wapha.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Kimberley-Aboriginal-Suicide-Prevention-Trial-Stakeholder-Update-1.pdf
The eleven elements of systems-based approaches to suicide prevention

The eleven elements of systems-based approaches to suicide prevention as promoted through the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan 2017–2023

1. Surveillance

Surveillance—increase the quality and timeliness of data on suicide and suicide attempts.

Policy document Reference Description
Budget 2019-20 Youth MH&SP Plan
  • $15 million to create a new national information system that will help communities and services respond quickly to areas affected by high incidences of suicide and self-harm.
NATSISPS (2013) Outcome 1.4
  • High levels of suicide and self-harm in communities are identified and monitored to facilitate a planned response.
  • Standardised methods for assessment and recording of suicidal behaviour and self-harm are reviewed for adoption by primary health care and specialist mental health services
  • Primary health care and community services implement protocols for mental health assessment and recording data on self-harm
ATSISPEP CRP (2016) Rec. Real time suicide data
Queensland Suicide Register
  • Queensland Suicide Register
  • The Australian Institute of Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) maintains the Queensland Suicide Register (QSR).
  • The QSR contains data from suicides that have occurred in Queensland from 1990 and contains a broad range of information regarding these types of deaths including the circumstances of the death, preceding life events and psychiatric history.
  • AISRAP conducts ongoing research based on this data and compile a tri-annual report on suicide mortality rates.
Qld SP Action Plan (2015-17) Priority 4, p.23
  • Develop and implement a Data and Information Sharing Network to enhance the collection, analysis and dissemination of suicide mortality and attempt data. This work will seek to improve the timeliness, accessibility and utility of this type of data and information for service providers, community representatives and other practitioners.
Priority 4, Actions 39, 40, p33.
  • Review the deaths and serious injuries of children who were known to Child Safety within one year prior to the incident or who were in out-of-home care at the time of the event, including suicides.
  • Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, Child Death Review Panels will conduct a review when a child or young person in care has died by suicide. The purpose of the review is to facilitate ongoing learning and foster improvement in the provision of services and accountability within Child Safety Services. Outcomes of the review will help inform whether appropriate case management and service delivery responses were provided to assist the young person
  • Implement a process for monitoring and analysing incidents of suspected suicide and significant self-harm involving individuals with current or recent contact with a Queensland Health service. This project will extend upon existing mortality review processes within Hospital and Health Services across the state and will inform strategic directions, policy and clinical practice, with a view to improving the care of people presenting at risk of suicide.
Living Well (NSW) (2014-24) p.38 Action 3.4.6
  • Assess the data needs of local communities and service providers and provide timely reports to meet those needs, including by considering the recommendations of the National Committee for the Standardised Reporting on Suicide, working with first responders and assessing whether a suicide register should be established in NSW.
  • Significant underlying issues, such as data collection and the dissemination of high-quality information and training, need to be addressed if we are to achieve a significant impact. Taking some key steps towards resolving these issues will reap direct benefits and provide a solid foundation on which we can build and refine further reform aimed at preventing suicide (p.36).
NSW SP Plan (2018-23) Priority Area 5, p.31
  • Exploring opportunities to use data already available through the health system, human services, emergency services and other sources to inform suicide prevention activities. A wide range of data collections and intelligence systems provide opportunities for better linkages and their potential utility is being considered across government. Key data system experts will convene to inform options for NSW to work towards improvements in the timeliness, quality, sharing and utility of data.
  • Exploring how digital technologies can enhance suicide prevention activities, especially through consideration of predictive technologies and machine learning.
Townsville SP Plan (2017-20) Strategy 2.7 p.18
  • Monitoring of population base Levels of risk
  • Confidential regular liaising with emergency services re: data on attempts in Townsville … allowing for ‘Heat Mapping’ of the City per week, allowing for rapid coordination of support and follow up.
SA SP Plan (2017—21) Priority 3, Action 1, p.21
  • Establish a South Australian Suicide Registry – We will work with SAPOL and the State Coroner’s Office to establish a Suicide Registry to provide early identification and understanding of suicide in South Australia.
  • We will use the data provided through the Suicide Registry to take preventative action; utilise in research to better understand causal factors and inform service provision.
  • Connect to evidence base development (p.22)

2. Means restriction

Means restriction: reduce the availability, accessibility and attractiveness of the means to suicide.

Policy document Reference Description
NATSISPS (2013) Outcome 1.1, p.28
  • (iv) Develop specific strategies regarding access to methods and means of suicide in the community
ATSISPEP STW (2016) p.3 (Table)
  • Reducing access to lethal means of suicide
NSW SP Plan (2018-23) Priority Area 5, p.31
  • Transport for NSW is funding the Preventing Railway Suicide project aimed at developing an automated suicide risk detection system to reduce the incidence and impact of railway suicide, which has a devastating effect on victims’ families, station staff, train drivers, emergency workers, and bystanders.
  • This project will develop two complementary information systems for more effective detection and reporting of suicide risk, use these systems to investigate how different situational factors interact with different combinations of service interventions to influence suicide risk, and share the findings to reduce railway suicide in Australia and overseas.
National
  • Project Agreement for SP: Cth– NSW – Vic – Tas – ACT agreement to support the delivery of infrastructure projects to prevent suicides at suicide hotspots
Qld SP Action Plan (2015-17) Priority 2, p.16
  • Continue efforts to reduce access to the lethal means of suicide within facilities and community infrastructure and provide support to individuals at risk to eliminate or reduce the risk of suicide
SA SP Plan (2017-21) Priority 2, Action 8, p.19
  • Working to create safer environments: SA Health will work with Australian, state and local government agencies to accurately identify local risks and suicide hot spots that can be used to put local prevention plans into place.
Tas SP Plan (2016-20) Priority 3, Objective 8, p.25
  • Activities to implement public health approaches to reduce suicidal behaviour and increase community literacy about suicide and suicide prevention.
  • Work to identify and reduce access to means of suicide in Tasmania, including safety measures implemented at known hotspots.
  • Implement an evidence-based plan to reduce the number of attempts and deaths occurring from sites identified as a hotspot through data analysis in Tasmania.
  • Investigate options to reduce and/or restrict access to means of suicide identified through data analysis in Tasmania. Longer-term

3. Media

Media—promote implementation of media guidelines to support responsible reporting of suicide in print, broadcasting and social media. See Mindframe: https://mindframe.org.au/

Policy document Reference Description
ATSISPEP STW (2016) p.3 (Table)
  • Responsible suicide reporting by the media
Townsville SP Plan (2017-20) Strategy 8
  • Local media strategy
National National Communications Charter
  • A unified approach to mental health and suicide prevention. The Charter is designed to guide the way organisations talk about mental health and suicide prevention, with each other and with the community. It serves as a formal commitment to working together and developing better structures and processes for collaboration.
SA SP Plan (2017-21) Priority 2, Action 9, p.19
  • Engaging with the media: SA Health will continue to work with media organisations to use the Mindframe National Media Initiative guidelines in the proper reporting of suicide and related articles and will ensure emergency contact numbers are provided after articles that may trigger distress in other people.
Tas SP Plan (2016-20) Priority 3, Objectives, 8 and 9, p.25
  • Ensure media reports, public communication from official sources and any communication from the suicide prevention sector uses evidence-based advice about discussing methods of suicide (Linked to the new Tasmanian Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Communications Charter described in Action 9.2 [below])
  • Develop and implement a proactive communication strategy that involves and includes services, individuals, government agencies, communities and the media
  • Establish a state-wide Communication Working Party with membership from TSPCN, academics, health professionals, community sector organisations (CSOs), those with lived experience, communication experts, suicide prevention policy analysts and local media to develop and implement a strategic communications plan that sets roles and priorities.
  • Develop and implement a Tasmanian Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Communications Charter, to be signed by organisations working in suicide prevention and other community leaders to set out principles and key messages for public communication about suicide in Tasmania. This should be used to guide all cross-sector communication under this Strategy and other related strategies in Tasmania.
  • Deliver annual Mindframe2 (or other nationally approved) training in partnership with Tasmanian stakeholder/s to media organisations and the Journalism, Media and Communications programs at University of Tasmania.
  • Communication and media training delivered to experts, community organisations and those with lived experience to build the capacity of multiple sectors to implement the Tasmanian Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Communications Charter.
Actions 2.1/2.2 p.23
  • Work with national agencies to support the dissemination of guidelines for managing online content following suicide deaths – including the management of memorial pages
  • Work with national agencies to implement guidelines to support how suicide prevention organisations and campaigns engage with communities online. Longer-term
  • Provide training to members of Parliament and other community and sector leaders in safe communication about suicide and participate in local community activities across Tasmania to raise awareness of suicide and its impacts. Immediate-to-short-term
  • Disseminate evidence-based resources and information on talking about suicide through education settings, workplaces and other community services and networks (including priority populations in Tasmania). This should link with and be supported by the Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Community Network (TSPCN).

4. Access to services

Access to services—promote increased access to comprehensive services for those vulnerable to suicidal behaviours and remove barriers to care.

Policy document Reference Description
NSW SP Plan (2014-24) Priority 3, p.27
  • Caring for people with suicidal behaviour and thinking in mental health services
    • A significant expansion of clinical mental health services is underway in NSW. Mental health services that make clinicians available in the community rather than hospital are growing and access to specialist mental health professionals in emergency departments and hospitals is being further developed, including through video links to rural areas.
    • NSW Health is also increasing the number of peer workers (people with a lived experience of a mental health issue) employed in mental health services to support people in their recovery. Peer workers in mental health are people with lived experience of a mental health condition who are employed to support people in their recovery and advocate for improvements to the mental health system.
Qld SP Action Plan (2015-17) Priority 2, p.16, Action 25, p.29
  • Equip all service providers with the necessary skills and knowledge to identify and respond in an appropriate and timely way to support people at risk of suicide, dependent on their respective roles and responsibilities.
  • Provide person-centred assessment, support, treatment and care for those at risk that not only considers the point-in-time clinical assessment, but the life circumstances of the person needing support, including appropriate follow-up care for those who have attempted suicide.
Qld Connecting care to recovery (2016-21) Priority 4, p.22
  • Strengthening clinical skills and capacity to screen, assess and manage suicide risk.
SA SP Plan (2017-21) Action 1 p, 12
  • We will re-train clinicians in South Australian Local Health Networks targeting all Mental Health staff and most Emergency Department staff, the Primary Health Networks and private providers in the ‘Connecting with People’ approach to provide a common and consistent framework across the state.
  • We will support this implementation across South Australia with a Connecting with People Policy Guideline for mental health services.
  • We will increase the number of trained staff, including mental health nurses and allied health practitioners in best practice treatments that complement the Connecting with People approach such as, Dialectic Behaviour Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Mentalization Based Cognitive Therapy, Mindfulness Training and Schema Therapy
  • Connecting with People is an internationally recognised suicide and self-harm mitigation and prevention program built upon best available evidence in the field of suicide prevention. As a training program the Connecting with People approach is designed for use by SA Health and its partners to assist individuals vulnerable to, and/or experiencing suicide and self-harm related distress.
    • It is situated on the premise that suicide is preventable and can be mitigated when clinicians have the appropriate knowledge, attitudes, skills and confidence and access to tools for intervention.
    • The Connecting with People approach is a paradigm shift in the way suicide is considered. It is marked by clinicians engaging in comprehensive person-centred assessment, safety planning and suicide mitigation with a series of evidence-informed and peer-reviewed clinical tools to support clinical assessments and assist with the identification of, and response to suicide risk. It requires nurses to work in a compassionate person-centred way with the individual to identify their own risk factors, distress triggers, needs and strengths, imparting hope and encouraging them to seek and accept support. The Connecting with People approach also involves the practice of safety planning (see safety planning).
  • See: https://www.lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/news/suicide-prevention-insights-connecting-with-people-in-south-australia
Townsville SP Plan (2017-20) Strategy 2.6
  • Survey mental health professionals within the region to identify those who have expertise in treatment of suicidal individuals, including for particular issues and groups (ie: childhood abuse and neglect, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, LGBTIQ people)
  • Create a local Register of clinical practitioners who specialise in trauma informed care – This includes trauma related to Sexual Violence & Domestic Violence (as identified by the Qld Mental Health Commission in Live Well)
  • Develop a list of locally relevant referral pathways that can be used at times of crisis or in aftercare and includes links to the Register.
  • Begin targeted rollout of referral pathway lists

Integrated services

Policy document Reference Description
NSW SP Plan (2018-23) Priority 5, p.31
  • NSW Health is evaluating the pilot of LikeMind mental health hubs in Penrith, Seven Hills, Orange and Wagga Wagga.
  • LikeMind is an integrated service that brings together four core streams of service provision (mental health, drug and alcohol, primary care, and psychosocial and vocational services) in an accessible, engaging community space or ‘one stop shop’ for adult mental health consumers.
Tas SP Plan (2016-20) Priority 1.1, p.21
  • Activities to create a responsive, coordinated health service system for people experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviours and build and promote referral pathways to services and programs so people know how and where to get support.
  • Develop a more integrated health service system that works to support people with suicidal behaviour, regardless of how or where they present for services.
  • Support the development and implementation of a suicide prevention Pathway for Tasmania, including specific considerations for at risk populations. This should include relevant primary care, public health and private health services and utilise the Primary Health Tasmania Tasmanian Health Pathways online system to track and monitor progress.
  • In line with the Rethink Plan [Tas mental health plan], support primary care to take an active role in suicide prevention to ensure people are supported and linked to public and private health services and other community supports.
  • Develop and implement consistent approaches across primary care and public health services, for example, emergency departments, mental health services, and drug and alcohol services, for conducting comprehensive assessments of any person presenting with suicidal thoughts or behaviours. Medium-term

Indigenous-specific: Integrated services

Policy document Reference Description
NATSISPS (2013) Outcome 3.2
  • Build inter-sectoral and professional links to support integrated services
  • Integrated services, including targeted and indicated services for families and individuals, are available in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing centres or other community centres
  • Develop and disseminate models for services that combine specific targeted and indicated services in centres providing integrated wellbeing services
  • Strengthen the focus on early intervention and suicide prevention within integrated services
  • Build inter-sectoral and professional links to support integrated services
Outcome 4.2
  • Coordinated suicide prevention strategies are supported by improved community sector capacity, based on partnerships between services, agencies and communities
  • There is development of governance and infrastructure to and capacity for planning to support regional and local coordination of suicide prevention
  • Identify models for governance to support interagency approaches to coordinated suicide prevention
  • Examine models for pooling of funds to support coordinated approaches to prevention
Outcome 4.3
  • There are agreements to support collaborative approaches to joint case management to ensure continuity of services and supports for higher risk clients
  • Pilot and evaluate specific multidisciplinary approaches to service provision for vulnerable individuals and families
  • Investigate feasibility of specific memoranda of understanding to enable joint approaches to case management
  • Clarify agency responsibilities for interagency coordination of care for high risk Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and families
ATSISPEP STW (2016) p.3
  • Cross-agency collaboration
Balit Murrup (2017-27) p.12
  • Integrated and seamless service delivery: We will explore new service models with Aboriginal communities and mental health consumers that facilitate access, focuses on outcomes and provides clear pathways and transition support to ensure continuity and service integration.
  • We will work collaboratively across governments to support the development of joined-up approaches to social and emotional wellbeing support, mental health, suicide prevention, and alcohol and drug services. This will be underpinned by recognising the importance of holistic and integrated services to Aboriginal people. Particular emphasis will be placed on building partnerships between mainstream clinical mental health services, Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations and other primary and community health providers to support the continuity of care for Aboriginal people entering and leaving hospital.

Workforce Partnership with ACCHSs

Policy document Reference Description
MH&SEWB Fr (2017-23) Outcome 4.2, p.40
  • Culturally and clinically appropriate specialist mental health care is available according to need
  • Ensure the required mix and level of specialist MH services and workers, paraprofessionals and professionals required to meet the MH needs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including specialist SP services for people at risk of suicide
NATSISPS (2013) Outcome 4.4, p.38
  • Establish partnerships between governments and the community sector to develop and train the prevention workforce across health, education and community services
Outcome 3.4, p.35
  • There are links and partnerships between mainstream specialist mental health and wellbeing services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing services and community organisations
  • Identify opportunities for complementary service provision arrangements and referral linkages between mainstream services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community services to coordinate the provision of targeted preventive services
  • Develop local partnerships between existing services such as headspace centres and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community SEWB services
Outcome 4.4, p.38
  • Coordinated SP strategies are supported by improved community sector capacity, based on partnerships between services, agencies and communities
  • Build the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to sustain partnerships with govts and other organisations
ATSISPEP STW (2016) p.3 (Table)
  • Partnerships with community organisations and ACCHSs
MH&SEWB Fr (2017-23) Outcome 1.3, p.31
  • Give preference to funding ACCHSs to deliver MH, SP and other primary health programs and services where feasible.

5. Training and education

Training and education—maintain comprehensive training programs for identified gatekeepers

Policy document Reference Description
NATSISPS (2013) Outcome 1.3 p.28
  • There is access to community-based programs to improve suicide awareness among “gatekeepers” and “natural helpers” in communities affected by self-harm and suicide.
Outcome 1.2 p.28
  • Materials and resources are available that are appropriate for the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in diverse community settings.
    • Identify resource gaps and needs
    • Review and extend Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language training programs for mental health and social and emotional wellbeing
    • Produce resource materials in diverse formats for use by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in different community contexts, including those with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages
SP Workforce Development and Training Plan for Tasmania (2016-2020) Actions pp 14 – 22
  • Workforces likely to interact with people experiencing a suicidal crisis. Requirement: Tailored training for role and setting which focuses on person-centred risk identification and immediate management of those at risk ( p.14-15)
  • Health (and other) workers likely to interact with those at risk of suicide and/or needing ongoing management and care. Requirement: Tailored training for their role focused on identification of those at risk and ongoing support and management. (p.16-17)
  • Non-health workforces that may interact with people at risk of suicide or those impacted by suicide. Requirement: General knowledge and skills about suicide prevention, early intervention and postvention that is tailored for their specific role or setting (p.18-20)
ATSISPEP STW (2016) p.3 (Table)
  • Gatekeeper training – Indigenous-specific
NSW SP Plan (2018-23) Priority 1, p.22
  • Promoting mental health literacy and community led suicide prevention with Aboriginal people – NSW Health is funding the delivery of Mental Health First Aid across NSW to improve mental health literacy and equip people with the skills they need to provide appropriate support to people experiencing mental health problems.
SA SP Plan (2017-21) Action 4, p.13
  • Gatekeeper and early identification/intervention training and education
  • We will provide education and training in the Connecting with People approach to first responder personnel; including South Australian Ambulance Service staff, South Australia Police (SAPOL), the State Emergency Service (SES), Metropolitan Service (MFS), Country Fire Service (CFS), Lifeline, SPNs and other community organisations according to their skills and need.
  • South Australian Fire and Emergency Services (SAFECOM) will incorporate Mental Health First Aid for first responders within the training curriculum as an ongoing course.
  • The Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC) and Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) will continue to review their resources and guidelines for staff for responding to disclosures of suicidal ideation and risk in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist.
VIC SP Plan (2016-25) Objective 2, p.18
  • Sporting clubs are an essential part of the community fabric. Victorians of all ages and backgrounds come together in grassroots clubs to be active, enjoy themselves in a positive environment and socialise. Many people with higher risk factors participate in club sport – for example Aboriginal, LGBTI, rural communities, young people affected by suicide and families and friends of suicidal people. This makes sporting clubs an important setting to reach out to those who need help. The government will continue to work with the sector to improve mental health and wellbeing outcomes for Victorians.
Townsville SP Plan (2017-20) Action 5.1, p.25
  • SP Training for:
    • Volunteers including, but not limited to: – Sports/arts/music/dance -coaches and tutors – Club leaders – Surf life savers – Service club members (including Landcare groups, etc.) – Volunteer coordinators – Meals-on-Wheels volunteers – Hospital and nursing home volunteers – Neighbourhood / Community Centre
    • Frontline Services include: SES, Rural Fire Brigade, QPS, QAS, AFP, QFES, Nurses (Registered/Enrolled) – incl Midwives, Aged Care, ADF
    • Public Facing Industries, for example: – Hospitality and Tourism, eg: caravan park operators, publicans and bar staff – Transport Workers – Personal Care Industry, eg: hairdressers, personal trainers, massage therapists, beauticians – Librarians – Childcare workers
    • Schools and Education – Parents, teaching staff, auxiliary staff, boarding school residential staff, after school care staff – Vocational Education and Training- staff, operators and students – University – staff, residential advisors, students
    • Track and map: – Who has already undertaken training and currency – Maintain accurate data of people who undertake training – Follow-up evaluation of who has used their training
Qld Connecting care to recovery (2016-21) Priority 4, p.22
  • Enhancing training of emergency department staff to better recognise, assess and manage people at risk of suicide
  • implementing sustainable training for emergency department staff and other front line acute mental health care staff in recognising, responding to and providing care for people presenting to HHSs with suicide risk
WA SP 2020 (2015) Action Area 5, p.3 and p.41
  • Increased suicide prevention training:
    • Promoting training and self-help activities for high-risk groups and peer support.
    • Supporting mental health and suicide prevention training in schools, vocational and tertiary education sectors and community groups…
    • Backing up training with adequate supervision and de-briefing mechanisms. (The Mental Health Commission will promote supervision and de-briefing guidelines and best practice on the One Life WA website.)
  • The State Government will continue to and provide training grants and coordination to enable local communities to access evidence-based mental health and suicide prevention training… Gatekeeper training will be expanded across the State with frontline workers in education, health, police, welfare and corrective services receiving training every three years.
  • Trauma informed care and specialist suicide prevention training for at-risk groups such as people who are bereaved by suicide, young people, Aboriginal communities, first responders and LGBTI groups will be supported.

Peer to peer mentoring

Policy document Reference Description
ATSISPEP STW (2016) p.3 (Table)
  • Peer-to-peer mentoring, and education and leadership on suicide prevention*
  • Employment of community members /peer workforce
Townsville SP Plan (2017-20) p.27 Discussion of qualifications
  • It is imperative that Peer Support Workers (even as a voluntary role) are provided with the skills, knowledge and recognition to take on this critical role.
  • With this in mind, extracting short course (units) from Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work (CHC43515) can be used to equip a Peer Support Worker with skills in safety as they support and potentially intervene.
SA SP Plan (2017-21) Priority 2, Action 4, p.19
  • Workplace Peer support:
    • SAFECOM will provide Peer Support Officers trained in Psychological First Aid and Mental Health First Aid to provide awareness programs in stress, trauma and suicide prevention to volunteers in their regions.
    • The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) will engage contractors in a leadership commitment to recognise promote and endorse work site health, safety and mental wellbeing initiatives along with initiatives in safety and mental wellbeing of construction workers. [NB: This is an example of workplace peer-based initiatives from around the country.]

GP capacity building and support

Policy document Reference Description
NATSISPS (2013) Outcome 2.4, p.32 (iii) Examine strategies to improve the preventive capacity of primary health care, including GP services, routine delivery of mental health assessments, counselling, etc
ATSISPEP STW (2016) p.3 (Table)
  • Training of frontline staff/GPs in detecting depression and suicide risk
Townsville SP Plan (2017-20) Strategy 3, Actions 3.4/ 3.5 p.20
  • GP Induction training
    • Local, generalised induction for international/locum GPs new to the region about local services, local community and local culture
    • Development of Induction Tool Kit
    • Roll out of induction program Investment
  • Delivery of advanced suicide prevention training targeted to clinicians – in particular, local resources available to GPs through the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration (GPMHSC) Tool Kit:
    • Year 1: Target training to geographical ‘hot spots’
    • Year 2: Focus training on SuperClinics
    • Year 3: Focus on After Hour Care GPs such as ‘Doctor to Your Door’
WA SP 2020 (2015) Action Area 5, p.3
  • Coordinating Gatekeeper and other programs for professionals and paraprofessionals including General Practitioners, health workers and frontline service providers
  • Backing up training with adequate supervision and de-briefing mechanisms. (The Mental Health Commission will promote supervision and de-briefing guidelines and best practice on the One Life WA website.)
SA SP Plan (2017-21) Action 2, p.12
  • We will work with Primary Health Networks and primary care providers to increase the capacity of General Practitioners to screen for suicide and depression, so they are able to provide immediate responses and referral into a system of care.
  • We will prioritise the Connecting with People approach so that it is available through primary care.
VIC SP Plan (2016-25) Objective 3, p.23
  • The Department of Health and Human Services will work with the primary health networks to deliver local, placed-based training for general practitioners to build their capability to respond to suicidal behaviours in patients and support patients after suicide attempts.
Tas SP Plan (2016-20) Priority 5, p.28
  • Suicide Prevention Workforce Development and Training Plan for Tasmania (2016-2020) – Train and support health workers and other gatekeepers to provide effective and compassionate care and support for people experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviours

Universal screening by GPs

Policy document Reference Description
Townsville SP Plan (2017-20) Strategy 3.6
  • Implementation of universal screening for depression, anxiety and suicidality within GP clinics – pre-screening prior to patient appointment while in waiting room; using a tablet, in the same manner as checking vital signs such as blood pressure etc. (NB: Essential that this is informed through lived experience.)
    • Year 1: 10% of GP clinics to trial in strategically chosen localities
    • Year 2: 25% of GP clinics applying universal screening
    •  Year 3: 50% of GP clinics
Strategy 3.7
  • Implementation of the STARS – Screening Tool for Assessing Risk of Suicide at the point when someone is flagged at possible risk of suicide

Frontline staff

Policy document Reference Description
ATSISPEP STW (2016) p.3 (Table)
  • Training of frontline staff/GPs in detecting depression and suicide risk
Living Well (2014-24) Page 38 Action 3.4.7
  • Ensure that front-line emergency, hospital, primary care and crisis personnel have access to good training about responding to suicidal behaviour, and that this training is strongly supported or mandated by employers.
NSW SP Plan (2018-23) Priority 2, p.25
  • NSW Health funds suicide prevention gatekeeper training for non-mental health workers in front line roles such as emergency department staff, first responders, drug and alcohol workers and maternal health nurses.
  • The NSW Department of Family and Community Services’ Caseworker Development Program includes a module related to self-harm and suicide prevention to better support caseworkers’ awareness and responsiveness to these issues. A staff wellbeing strategy has also been developed to increase emotional wellbeing, build resilience, manage potential psychological injuries and develop a comprehensive understanding of mental health risks.

Support for front line staff

Policy document Reference Description
VIC SP Plan (2016-25) Object 3, p.23
  • The Department of Health and Human Services will support the delivery of training, practice guidelines, clinical supervision packages and community of practices for frontline staff to manage suicidal behaviour.
  • This training and professional development will be offered to both mental health professionals and the full range of other non-specialist staff who support suicidal people.
  • Training will be developed to suit the needs of individual agencies and their staff.
  • A new Centre for Mental Health Workforce Development will disseminate best practice and promote trauma-informed care and other practice improvements to both specialist and non-specialist workforces.
Qld SP Plan (2015-17) Priority 1, Actions 5,8,9, p.26-27
  • Provide resilience training for staff identified as first responders to assist them in managing the personal impact of attending to traumatic or stressful situations.
  • Provide programs for front line officers that focus on post-incident support including FireCare and Embrace and improved access to employee assistance programs.
WA SP 2020 (2015) p.35
  • Training in Gatekeeper suicide prevention and trauma informed care will be increased for frontline workers, health professionals and para-professionals.
Townsville SP Plan (2017-20) Action 4.1, p23
  • Facilitate Opportunities for Training – particularly in relation to personal wellness plans (linked to Strategy 2.3). e.g. Blue Knot Foundation Training Safeguarding yourself – Recognising & Responding to Vicarious Trauma
Action 4.5, p.24
  • Frontline personnel have access to suitable clinical support (external to work if necessary)
Action 4.3, p.24
  • Peer support for front line workers (annual Peer Support Week for Queensland Fire and Emergency Services)
Action 4.7, p.24
  • Modified rollout of Yellow Ribbon Card System (See: https://yellowribbon.org/who-we-are/)
  • Basic, modified rollout in conjunction with Action 4.5 [above] – Clinicians Registered to ensure Frontline Personnel self-refer and are assured of confidentiality Further, able to be assisted with clinical intake with a mutual pre-understanding of what level their crisis is when presenting the card
SA SP Plan (2017-21) Action 5, p.13
  • Health and Wellbeing approaches within the workforce
    • SAPOL will develop a Health and Wellbeing Strategy for their workforce. The principal objectives are to promote positive mental health and wellbeing, break-down stigma and discrimination, improve help-seeking and offer early access and effective support for all members.
    • The Department for Correctional Services (DCS) will progress a three year partnership with the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) to improve the wellbeing and resilience of DCS staff.
VIC SP Plan (2016-25) Objective 2, p.18
  • Victorian Government will require all agencies that employ frontline health and emergency services staff to develop and implement mental health and resilience plans as part of a comprehensive occupational health and safety framework. This will include Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Victoria State Emergency Service, child protection and health services.
  • Victoria Police will develop a comprehensive mental health strategy to address the issues and gaps identified in the Victoria Police mental health review.
  • For paramedics, a partnership between Ambulance Victoria and beyondblue will design training programs covering topics such as depression and anxiety, trauma, substance abuse and suicide prevention. The training will support paramedics to understand mental health issues, recognise and respond to those at risk of suicide, and receive advice on getting the help they need. These plans to protect the mental health of these groups of workers will be implemented hand in hand with training that supports these staff to protect and support better mental health outcomes for clients, such as trauma-informed practices.
Qld SP Action Plan (2015-17) Priority 2, p.21
  • The Queensland Ambulance Service is a partner in a national, ambulance based $2.7 million project to reduce suicide and to improve the mental health of men and boys. The three-year project is being led by Monash University, funded by the Movember Foundation, and will map the needs of men and boys through ambulance presentations, and identify key intervention points for linkage to appropriate care. A number of workforce education paramedic-delivered interventions will also be developed for trial.
Priority 1, Action 7 p.27; Priority 2, Action 12, p.28
  • Develop a Queensland Police Service framework for Improving Mental Health, Well Being and Suicide Prevention Plan 2015-17.
  • Continue training front line PoliceLink staff in understanding suicidal behaviours and managing callers at high risk of suicide.
Priority 1, 9, p27, Priority 2, Action 11, p.28
  • Implement a ‘Suicide Recognition and Intervention’ training package for front line Queensland Rail staff.
  • With Queensland Rail — Continue facilitation of Employee Exposure Prevention and Support Programs.

6. Treatment

Treatment—improve the quality of clinical care and evidence-based clinical interventions, especially for individuals who present to hospital following a suicide attempt

Policy document Reference Description
NATSISPS (2013) Outcome 3.3
  • Targeted and indicated services, including emergency services, are culturally appropriate. They are delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander personnel and engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and families
  • Employ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander personnel in outreach, follow-up and engagement roles
Outcome 3.1 p.35
  • There is access to effective targeted and specialist services by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are at risk of suicide or self-harm
  • (i) Map service utilisation and barriers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people seeking to access targeted and indicated services in regions and communities
  • (ii) Identify barriers to access and utilisation and develop strategies to improve access to referral networks, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander information, liaison, flexibility and responsiveness
ATSISPEP STW (2016) p.3 (Table) success factors in indicated services
  • 24/7 availability
  • Time protocols (see also ATAPS Guidelines for ATSO SP Services)
  • Awareness of critical risk periods and responsiveness at those times
  • Employment of community members /peer workforce (in services)
  • High quality and culturally appropriate treatments
GDD (2017) Theme 4, p.5
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be trained, employed, empowered and valued to work at all levels and across all parts of the Australian mental health system and among the professions that work in that system.
Qld SP Action Plan (2015-17) Priority 3, p.21
  • Scope current service models, barriers for accessing services and options for improvement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people at risk of suicide within the Townsville region. This will particularly focus on the need for after-hours support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people who are at imminent risk of harm, in consultation with local service providers and community representatives (Queensland Mental Health Commission).
Priority 2, p.16, Action 25, p.29
  • Equip all service providers with the necessary skills and knowledge to identify and respond in an appropriate and timely way to support people at risk of suicide, dependent on their respective roles and responsibilities.
  • Provide person-centred assessment, support, treatment and care for those at risk that not only considers the point-in-time clinical assessment, but the life circumstances of the person needing support, including appropriate follow-up care for those who have attempted suicide.
Townsville SP Plan (2017-20) Strategy 2.2 p.17
  • Support/Referral to local initiatives e.g. Red Dust Healing, Uncle Alfred’s Men’s Group etc.
  • Capacity Building those Services though evidence base scaffolding to encourage financial self sustainably.
Qld SP Action Plan (2015-17) Priority 2, p.16, Action 25, p.29
  • Equip all service providers with the necessary skills and knowledge to identify and respond in an appropriate and timely way to support people at risk of suicide, dependent on their respective roles and responsibilities.
  • Provide person-centred assessment, support, treatment and care for those at risk that not only considers the point-in-time clinical assessment, but the life circumstances of the person needing support, including appropriate follow-up care for those who have attempted suicide.
Qld Connecting care to recovery (2017-21) Priority 4, p.22
  • Strengthening clinical skills and capacity to screen, assess and manage suicide risk.
WA SP 2020 (2015) p.35
  • The Mental Health Commission will seek resources to expand a number of existing services across the State to better support people at high risk.
  • This will include increasing mental health training, early intervention and suicide prevention programs for young people, men and women, families experiencing trauma, Aboriginal communities, regional communities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex groups.
SA SP Plan (2017-21) Action 1 p, 12
  • We will re-train clinicians in South Australian Local Health Networks targeting all Mental Health staff and most Emergency Department staff, the Primary Health Networks and private providers in the ‘Connecting with People’ approach to provide a common and consistent framework across the state.
  • We will support this implementation across South Australia with a Connecting with People Policy Guideline for mental health services.
  • We will increase the number of trained staff, including mental health nurses and allied health practitioners in best practice treatments that complement the Connecting with People approach such as, Dialectic Behaviour Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Mentalization Based Cognitive Therapy, Mindfulness Training and Schema Therapy
  • Connecting with People is an internationally recognised suicide and self-harm mitigation and prevention program built upon best available evidence in the field of suicide prevention. As a training program the Connecting with People approach is designed for use by SA Health and its partners to assist individuals vulnerable to, and/or experiencing suicide and self-harm related distress.
    • It is situated on the premise that suicide is preventable and can be mitigated when clinicians have the appropriate knowledge, attitudes, skills and confidence and access to tools for intervention.
    • The Connecting with People approach is a paradigm shift in the way suicide is considered. It is marked by clinicians engaging in comprehensive person-centred assessment, safety planning and suicide mitigation with a series of evidence-informed and peer-reviewed clinical tools to support clinical assessments and assist with the identification of, and response to suicide risk. It requires nurses to work in a compassionate person-centred way with the individual to identify their own risk factors, distress triggers, needs and strengths, imparting hope and encouraging them to seek and accept support. The Connecting with People approach also involves the practice of safety planning (see safety planning).
  • See: https://www.lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/news/suicide-prevention-insights-connecting-with-people-in-south-australia
Vic SP Plan (2016-25) Objective 3, p.23
  • A new The Department of Health and Human Services will work with the primary health networks to deliver local, placed-based training for general practitioners to build their capability to respond to suicidal behaviours in patients and support patients after suicide attempts. The department will continue to broker relationships between primary health networks and health services networks to build stronger pathways between tertiary care and primary care to support patient transition from hospital after a suicide attempt. The department will encourage person-centred, family-sensitive and recovery oriented models of care in these settings.
  • Centre for Mental Health Workforce Development will disseminate best practice and promote trauma-informed care and other practice improvements to both specialist and non-specialist workforces.

Follow up care after a suicide attempt

Policy document Reference Description
ATSISPEP STW (2016) p.3 (Table)
  • Continuing care/assertive outreach post emergency department after a suicide attempt
NSW SP Plan (2018-23) Priority 2, p.25
  • Delivering consistent, timely and continuing follow-up care and support: Aftercare projects are being rapidly expanded throughout NSW.
Qld Connecting care to recovery (2017-23) Priority 4, Actions 39, 40, p33.
  • Implement a process for monitoring and analysing incidents of suspected suicide and significant self-harm involving individuals with current or recent contact with a Queensland Health service. This project will extend upon existing mortality review processes within Hospital and Health Services across the state and will inform strategic directions, policy and clinical practice, with a view to improving the care of people presenting at risk of suicide.
Priority 4, p.22
  • Enhancing… assertive outreach for people discharged from emergency departments and inpatient units will be improved. The environmental safety of our hospital and health facilities will be strengthened to mitigate risk. We will collaborate with other services to build capacity and develop early and targeted responses to the management of people at risk, including the needs of at-risk groups. This includes supporting access to high quality evidence-based psychological services.
  • … Implementing a new state-wide program to embed a systems approach and strengthen clinical governance for suicide risk screening, assessment and management across our HHSs Suicide Prevention in Health Services Initiative
  • Establishing a suicide prevention health taskforce co-chaired by a HHS and a PHN, resourced to identify and translate the evidence-base for suicide prevention initiatives in a health service delivery context, support implementation of early intervention initiatives, and promote the strengthening of partnerships across HHSs and PHNs at a state-wide and local level… undertaking a multi-incident analysis of sentinel events relating to deaths by suspected suicide of people with a recent contact with a health service. The analysis will inform the work of the taskforce and HHSs development initiatives across the State.
Beyond Blue (ongoing) Way Back Support Services
  • The Way Back Support Service is delivered to people who have been admitted to a hospital following a suicide attempt or people experiencing a suicide crisis.
  • Partnering hospitals assess and refer people to The Way Back Support Coordinators who then contact the person within 24 hours and work with them to develop a safety plan.
  • Encouraging results in trial sites led to an Australian Government Budget announcement of $37.6 million for Beyond Blue to roll out The Way Back to up to 25 sites across the country, beginning July 2018.
Way Back Resources (see above)
SA SP Plan (2017-21) Strategy 1, p.12
  •  We will provide assertive follow-up to people who have experienced suicidal ideation and plans or attempts. This will include the development of protocols for discharge and referral to appropriate services.
  • We will establish a better approach to collaboration between the community sector and health services to provide follow- up and support for the person who is at risk and their friends and family.
Vic SP Plan (2016-25) p.10
  • Through the assertive outreach initiative, the Victorian Government will provide additional resources to support people after leaving hospital, an emergency department or a mental health service when they have attempted suicide.
  • The government will ensure there is a chain of care that links general hospitals and community aftercare services for patients discharged following a suicide attempt.
  • The assertive outreach service will identify and support suicide attempt survivors while they are still in hospital in emergency departments, general medical or mental health services, and provide follow-up support to the person after they leave hospital.
  • The service will provide immediate follow-up to ensure continuous and coordinated care for the person and their family. First contact will be provided within the first 24 hours after leaving the health service, and for up to three months immediately following the suicide attempt
Objective 2, p,.17
  • [Families, friends and carers are vulnerable] … to suicidal or self-harming behaviour themselves. In addition, the support provided by families, friends and carers is essential to preventing suicide. We need to engage with and support them to take care of both the suicidal person and themselves. The government will encourage services to involve families, carers and support people in care planning and decision making, especially around discharge planning and support. They will receive more information, education and support, and will be involved in developing, implementing and evaluating new initiatives.
Nat Standards – MH Services (2013) Criterion 2.11
  • Guidance for Implementation – Public Mental Health Services and Private hospitals p.12. There should be a regular risk assessment of consumers… Consumers are at greatest risk in times of transition between settings or transfer of care… Joint risk assessments between the MHS, non-government organisations, local communities and primary health services or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical services are often appropriate when responsibility for care is being transferred or jointly managed.
NSW SP Plan (2018-23) Priority 3, p.27
  • Developing a new Mental Health Patient Safety Program  Suicide prevention is a priority in the new Mental Health Patient Safety Program being established by NSW Health.
  •  This program is a key action under the Mental Health Safety and Quality in NSW: A plan to implement recommendations of the Review of seclusion, restraint and observation of consumers with a mental illness in NSW Health facilities.
  • In the new state-wide program, the Clinical Excellence Commission will support local mental health services and clinicians to apply effective quality improvement tools and methods in a systematic, localised and continuous way.
  • The new Mental Health Patient Safety Program will build on the local expertise of frontline staff in collaboration with consumers and carers to instil hope and share understanding that suicide can be prevented in people under the care of the health system. This model of embedding a structured patient safety program based on improvement science has been successful in several mental health programs internationally and will focus on:
    • Person-centeredness – ensuring that individual and personal values guide all clinical decisions
    • Patient experience – preventing avoidable harms and treating patients with compassion and respect
    • Staff experience – assuring staff work in safe environments, are well supported, accountable and encouraged to think innovatively
    • Effectiveness – enhancing how people recover from episodes of ill health via evidence-based practice, understanding outcome variations and how health systems can be optimised.
SA SP Plan (2017-21) Safety planning for people at risk
  • Why is safety planning important?
  • Safety planning is considered international best practice in indicated suicide prevention strategies as tools to help mitigate suicide risk. A safety plan document is co-created collaboratively by a consumer and clinician.
  • It typically consists of written statements, individualised actions, sources of comfort, distraction, and support that people can use to alleviate suicidal urges or other safety crisis. Written in the person’s own words/language, the strategies and supports are co-created with the person. The safety plan protocol is not something that is imposed upon a person.
  • Safety planning interventions typically utilise the following six key steps:
    • Recognise warning signs of an impending suicidal crisis and associated thoughts and feelings
    • Employ internal care and personal resource strategies
    • Utilise social and emotional contacts as a means of support and distraction from suicidal thoughts,
    • Contact family members or friends who can say and do things that help resolve the crisis
    • Contact mental health professionals
    • Reduce the potential use of lethal means.
  • https://www.lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/news/suicide-prevention-insights-connecting-with-people-in-south-australia
Vic SP Plan (2016-25) Objective 3, p.23
  • In 2010 the Victorian Department of Health published: Working with the suicidal person: clinical practice guidelines for emergency departments and mental health services.
  • These guidelines were based on an extensive literature review and consultation with both clinicians and people with lived experience.
  • Some aspects of the guidelines need to be updated since the introduction of the Mental Health Act 2014, and emerging evidence of current risks and effective approaches.
  • In particular, the guidelines will incorporate more guidance on follow-up, discharge practices and involvement of families, carers and support people.
  • The government will establish a technical advisers group to undertake a rigorous and comprehensive review of the guidelines to incorporate current research on best practice and consultation with all key stakeholders. Revised guidelines will be issued in 2017

Post attempt case management

Policy document Reference Description
NATSISPS (2013) Outcome 4.3, p.38
  • There are agreements to support collaborative approaches to joint case management to ensure continuity of services and supports for higher risk clients
  • (i) Pilot and evaluate specific multidisciplinary approaches to service provision for vulnerable individuals and families
  • (ii) Investigate feasibility of specific memoranda of understanding to enable joint approaches to case management
  • (iii) Clarify agency responsibilities for interagency coordination of care for high risk Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and families
Townsville SP Plan (2017-20) Strategy 1.5, p.15
  • Post Attempt Case Management
WA, SP 2020 (2015) p.35
  • Increased services for people who have and attempted suicide will be established. This will include support to general practitioners and their patients who present with suicidal or self-harm ideation and patients discharged from hospital Emergency Departments that have attempted suicide, engaged in self harm or present with ideation around self-harm or suicide. An intensive case management system will provide comprehensive assessment, face to face and telephone counselling, through care and a co-case management model with the patient’s general practitioner, as well as linking the client with health and social services in response to identified needs.

7. Crisis intervention

Crisis intervention—ensure that communities have the capacity to respond to crises with appropriate interventions.

Policy document Reference Description
NATSISPS (2013) Outcomes 1.1, 1.5 p.28
  • Communities have the capacity to initiate, plan, lead and sustain strategies to promote community awareness and to develop and implement community SP plans.
  • (i) Identify communities and regions (by expression of interest) to workshop models for community action
  • (ii) Develop information and resource guides for coordinating community action to prevent suicide
  • (iii) Review and disseminate information on best practice models for community suicide prevention
  • (iv) Develop specific strategies regarding access to methods and means of suicide in the community
  • Communities are assisted to plan and implement a comprehensive response to suicide and self-harm that includes both short–term and long-term early intervention and prevention activity.
ATSISPEP STW (2016) p.3 (Table)
  • Community empowerment, development, ownership
  • Community- specific responses
  • Involvement of Elders
GDD (2017) Theme 4, p.5
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be trained, employed, empowered and valued to lead across all parts of the Australian mental health system that are dedicated to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing and mental health and to reducing suicide, and in all parts of that system used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Living Well (2014–24) /Suicide Prevention Fund (NSW) p.36
  • In 2012 the NSW Ministerial Advisory Committee on Suicide Prevention consulted communities in NSW about how local suicide prevention responses could be better supported. This resulted in recommendations targeting priority groups, including initiatives such as the development of strategies to prevent suicides in small towns, enhanced community engagement in suicide prevention, application of evidence-based practice, and improved local data collection and workplace interventions.
  • [Following the above] … The NSW Government has introduced the NSW Suicide Prevention Fund to provide opportunities for non-government organisations and community-based services to deliver local suicide prevention services and activities. NSW Health is funding eight community managed organisations to deliver community-based suicide prevention activities across NSW under the four-year Suicide Prevention Fund. From 2016–17 to 2019–20, these projects are aimed at developing a local response to local need…
Qld SP Action Plan (2017-21) Priority Area One, p.14
  • Promote community leadership by supporting local level solutions to enhance community connectedness and engagement.
  • Raise community awareness about suicide to ensure that individuals, families and communities have the capacity to have safe conversations about suicide and recognise and help a person at risk of suicide.
WA SP 2020 (2015) Action area 2, p.3
  • Local support and community prevention across the lifespan This action area will be achieved through:
    • Promoting and supporting evidence based and culturally informed mental health literacy programs
    • Strengthening community-based suicide prevention activities, local capacity building and leadership.
    • Collaborating with local stakeholders to strengthen suicide prevention protocols, establish ways to reduce access to means of suicide and map pathways to care to appropriate services and support.
    • Partnering with primary care providers to address mental health needs and risk factors.
    • Ensuring communities have the capacity to respond to crises and can access emergency services, crisis support and helplines.
    • Improving postvention responses and care for those affected by suicide and suicide attempts.
NSW SP Plan (2018-23) Priority 2, p.25
  • Increasing suicide prevention skills in the community
  • Suicide prevention gatekeeper training is being delivered for communities, local services and organisations throughout NSW.
Tas SP Plan (2016-20) Actions 2.1/ 2.2 p.23
  • Support communities to develop and implement coordinated action to prevent suicidal behaviour and support those affected by suicide:
    • Support the continuation of the Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Community Network and ensure cross-sector and cross-community representation.
    • Identify priority communities and support the further development (or review) of Community Action Plans, and ongoing monitoring of approaches and outcomes delivered under the action plan/s.
    • Support communities to understand and safely talk about suicide and the impact of suicide
Townsville SP Plan (2017-20) Action 7.1, p.31
  • Community roles for individuals and organisations: Making information available about the roles people can play which is defined in Strategy 8. This includes roles such as: – Intervention Participants (Gatekeepers) (refer to Strategy 5) – Ambassadors (refer to Strategy 8) – Peer Support Workers (Refer Strategy 5) – Corporate Philanthropy (Refer Strategy 10) Streamlined Promotion of Intervention/Peer Support Roles through media/events
Action 7.3, p.31
  • Annual feature Suicide Prevention Events – welcoming visitors from FNQ, CQ, NWQ – Support Facilitation of topical Workshop/ Public Speakers – Linking in overflow/post community participations in CAP events between each year. Support Facilitation of more involvement of Schools (as Teams/Sponsors) incl. Boarding & District Wide Schools
Action 7.4, p.31
  • Expansion and integration of Neighbour Day Concept- Staged introduction of mini neighbourhood events to connect people into their own suburbs. These localities will be prioritised on: – Brand new urban estates – Areas where there are few services – Transient suburbs – Satellite communities, eg: Magnetic Island and Palm Island – At-risk postcodes
Action 7.5, p.32
  • Distribution of resources and information to reach whole of community – Production of TSPN Service Finders in various versions, eg: – Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander – Culturally & Linguistically Diverse – Accessible version for people with disabilities Purchase of resources made available through various centres and events, eg: – Posters that combine information about helplines and online support services – Support guides Targeted inclusion and increasing access via input into various local service, phone directories and regularly accessed e-directories.

Suicide Prevention Networks (SPNs)—Local Government

Policy document Reference Description
SA SP Plan (2017-22) p.16
  • We will expand the number of SPNs so that there is a network linked to each local government region in South Australia.
  • The SPNs will raise awareness and break-down stigma, start life-saving conversations in their community; bring education and training to their community and link those bereaved by suicide to support.
    • We will work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their families in establishing SPNs to empower action to support prevention.
    • What is a Suicide Prevention Network (SPN)?
    • A SPN is formed through the collaborative efforts of the OCP, Local Government and people in the community who want to prevent suicides in their community.
    • The OCP is currently working with a number of Networks. These Networks are linked to Local Government identifying with their boundaries, communities and their Public Health Plan. This is because the Local Government is the hub of every community providing connections that link all elements of the community together.
    • The Networks work to develop a local coordinated and sustainable approach to suicide prevention and postvention in the area.
    • Linking with Local Government also gives us a way of connecting the SPNs in a coordinated way.
    • It is acknowledged that the Community Development Model used by Wesley Lifeforce to establish SPNs has been utilised as best practice in setting up the South Australian SPNs.
    • The point of difference being the close connection SA SPNs have with Local Government.
    • The networks seek membership that is reflective of the diversity of the community; that is inclusive of business, industry, agriculture, viticulture, service clubs, churches, schools and sporting clubs.
    • The Local Government has a supportive role in the development of the Networks, providing facilities and expertise to the Network and exposure of the Suicide Prevention Network.
    • The Office of the Chief Psychiatrist (OCP) provides a community development and support role in the Suicide Prevention Networks. This is in the form of facilitation of meetings and action planning day, telephone support, an annual visit, support at the Networks major events and linkage to grant funding.
    • The SPNs seek to start lifesaving conversations, break down stigma associated with mental illness and suicide, bring connectedness to the community, provide information on the help that is available and facilitate suicide prevention education sessions. The networks develop Suicide Prevention Action Plans to address suicide in the local community by taking a multipronged approach that suits the uniqueness of the community.

Indigenous community responses – Build on family community and cultural strengths

Policy document Reference Description
MH&SEWB Fr (2017-23) Outcome 2.1, p. 32
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and cultures are strong and support MH&SEWB
  • Empower communities to identify and address challenges.
  • Community governance through community controlled services to deliver health programs and services.
  • Encourage practical outcomes, such as employment of community members, school attendance and educational attainment.
Cultural RF (2016-26) Domain 2, p.13/ Domain 5, p.16
  • Positive health messages and programs that respond to the diversity, strengths and knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social, cultural, linguistic, gender, religious and spiritual backgrounds
  • Joint health and non-health policies, programs and services at community, state and national levels to address the broader social determinants impacting on health
NATSISPS (2013) Outcomes 1.1, 1.5 p.28
  • Communities have the capacity to initiate, plan, lead and sustain strategies to promote community awareness and to develop and implement community SP plans.
    • Identify communities and regions (by expression of interest) to workshop models for community action
    • Develop information and resource guides for coordinating community action to prevent suicide
    • Review and disseminate information on best practice models for community suicide prevention
    • Develop specific strategies regarding access to methods and means of suicide in the community
  • Communities are assisted to plan and implement a comprehensive response to suicide and self-harm that includes both short–term and long-term early intervention and prevention activity.
ATSISPEP STW (2016) p.3 (Table)
  • Involvement of Elders
  • Cultural framework
  • Cultural elements – building identity, SEWB, healing
  • Culture being taught in schools
  • Connecting to culture/country/Elders
GDD (2017) Theme 4, p.5
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be trained, employed, empowered and valued to lead across all parts of the Australian mental health system that are dedicated to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing and mental health and to reducing suicide, and in all parts of that system used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
NATSISPS (2013) Outcome 1.5, p.28
  • (i) Identify appropriate early intervention programs that have been adapted for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families
Outcome2 2.1/ 2.2, p.31
  • There are culturally appropriate community activities to engage youth, build cultural strengths, leadership, life skills and social competencies
    • Develop criteria for support of cultural programs
    • Review evidence for effectiveness of culture-based initiatives and evaluate cultural strengths programs
  • Life promotion and resilience-building strategies are developed; access to wellbeing services among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males is improved,
  • Develop strategies to promote the strengths of elders, fathers and other men as positive role models able to contribute to the wellbeing of community, families and youth
Outcome 2.3, p.31
  • Long-term, sustainable prevention strategies that build resilience and promote social and emotional wellbeing are specifically developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children
  • Develop culturally appropriate strategies for family engagement in wellbeing programs in multiple settings
  • Make parenting programs adapted for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples more available in universal and targeted modes to strengthen parenting skills and to improve behavioural, developmental and mental health outcomes among children
  • Develop family focused interventions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and children in partnership with childcare centres and schools
  • Disseminate information on models of effective early intervention and prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, parents and children
M&SEWB Fr (2017-23) Outcome 2.1.3, p.32
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and cultures are strong and support MH&SEWB.
  • Strengthen community cohesion, and restore and heal connections to culture and country including through reclamation and revitalization
Outcome 2.2
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families are strong and supported
  • Increase family-centric and culturally-safe services for families and communities.
  • Support the role of men and Elders in family life and the raising of children in a culturally-informed way.
  • Support single parent families and extended family and kin support networks
  • Support family re-unification for members of the Stolen Generations, prisoners, children removed from their families into out-of-home care, and young people in juvenile detention.
Outcome 2.4.6, p.35
  • Adapt end-to-end school-based MH&SEWB programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children that include a focus on: Strengthening pride in identity and culture.
Outcome 3.1, p.36
  • Support programs for members of the Stolen Generations and their families.

8. Postvention

Postvention—improve response to and caring for those affected by suicide/attempt/other crisis

Policy document Reference Description
NATSISPS (2013) Outcome 1.6, p.29
  • Mental health services and community organisations are able to provide appropriate postvention responses to support individuals and families affected by suicide.
    • Develop protocols for communication between specialist mental health services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families regarding intervention needs and support following bereavement
    • Build capacity of community members and community- based personnel to lead postvention responses to bereavement
    • Develop innovative strategies for bereavement support including practical assistance with housing, finances, work and children’s needs, psychological support and counselling
    • Develop culturally appropriate best practice therapeutic options for responding to traumatic bereavement and complicated grief among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
    • Support development of partnerships between communities and NGOs to support emergency response in diverse settings
    • Emergency response should be consistent with best practice (based on systematic review of research on suicide bereavement first responses and emergencies such as Victorian bushfires and Queensland floods)
ATSISPEP STW (2016) p.3 (Table)
  • Crisis response teams after a suicide Postvention
  • See also Recommendations of the ATSISPEP Critical Response Project Report
Youth Suicide Prevention Plan for Tasmania (2016–2020) Key Action 5:
  • Respond in a timely and effective way to the suicide of a young person to minimise the impact on other young people in Tasmania.
  • In partnership with the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, establish a collaborative cross-agency and community approach that is well-positioned to identify and respond to potential or emerging suicide clusters, including suicide memorials, if and when required.
  • Work with national agencies to support the implementation of guidelines for managing online content following suicide deaths – including the management of memorial pages for young people and other online activity generated from Tasmania and impacting on Tasmanian communities.
  • Ensure evidence-based, support services and programs for young people affected by suicide, appropriate for the developmental stage, are available to build resilience and support grief and loss.
Qld SP Action Plan (2015-17) Priority 1, p.14
  • Support and help those bereaved and impacted by suicide, including families, communities, service providers and first responders to assist them in managing the impact of suicide and suicide attempts.
SA SP Plan (2017-21) Priority 1, Action 3, p.12 / Priority 2, Action 5, p.19
  • Evidence based postvention practice
    • We will work with the providers of postvention services in South Australia such as Standby Response and Living Beyond Suicide to provide support for people, their families, loved ones and communities following a suicide attempt or death.
    • We will link people bereaved by suicide with support in their local community to facilitate recovery and healing.
  • We will continue to support prevention, postvention and community innovation through the South Australian Suicide Prevention Community Grants Scheme.
  • We will collaborate with postvention providers, Standby Support after a suicide and Living Beyond Suicide to provide support to those impacted by the grief of suicide.
Priority 2, Action 3, p.19
  • The Department of Primary Industry and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) will develop an Emergency Relief and Recovery Framework.
  • PIRSA will work with other government departments, in particular the Department of Human Services (DHS), to provide a holistic recovery response to natural disasters and to build upon the individual and community resilience.
Priority 2, Action 6, p.19
  • We will develop a partnership, supported by a Memorandum of Understanding, between SAPOL, OCP and the State’s postvention providers Standby Response and Living Beyond Suicide to better monitor community distress associated with suicide.
  • We will provide education to SPNs to assist them in connecting communities and individuals with services and resources when experiencing distress.

Existing postvention services

Policy document Reference Description
National Indigenous Critical Response Service (ongoing)
  • Supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and families affected by suicide-related trauma or other traumatic incidents with practical social support, and facilitation of connections with a range of local social, health and community services and where appropriate monitor the through care of individuals and families over time.
  • Critical Response Support Advocates are not counsellors and do not provide counselling or other clinical support. Rather, they advocate on behalf of families to ensure they are able to access the supports they need in their time of grief. A strong advocate can assist in:
    • ensuring good engagement occurs between families and service providers, and
    • encouraging services to work alongside each other to provide holistic through-care. https://thirrili.com.au/
StandBy (ongoing)
  • We support anyone who has been impacted by suicide at any stage in their life, including:
    • Individuals, families and friends
    • Witnesses
    • Schools, workplaces and community groups
    • Frontline responders and service providers We provide free face-to-face and telephone support at a time and place that is best for you
  • What we do:
    • The service is accessible 24/7, providing direct and coordinated support from local services and groups in your area
    • We offer expertise, understanding and resources for your particular situation
    • Follow up contact is continued for up to 1 year to ensure you are not alone and receive any ongoing support you may need
  • http://standbysupport.com.au/

Bereavement/ post attempt support groups and resources

Policy document Reference Description
Townsville SP Plan (2017-21) Action 2.1
  • Establish a Bereavement Support Group with Terms of Reference written by the Lived Experience Reference Group through the TSPN (including sitting fees for Lived Experience people)
  • Production of a resource pack for first responders to provide to bereaved families.
Tas SP plan (2016-20) Priority 2.6
  • Work with the primary care system to ensure all carers, partners and families have access to appropriate support following a suicide and/ or a suicide attempt (linked to activity)
  • Explore opportunities to pilot and evaluate carer, partner and family support program/s for those supporting a family member (or friend) who has attempted suicide. Ensure evidence-based support services and programs for children affected by suicide, appropriate for the developmental stage, are available to build resilience and support grief and loss.
WA SP 2020 (2015) p.37
  • The Mental Health Commission will continue to liaise with the Commonwealth to strengthen bereavement support for people individuals, families and communities.
  • Specific programs for postvention support for children bereaved by suicide will be established by the Mental Health Commission.

9. Awareness

Awareness—establish public information campaigns to support the understanding that suicides are preventable.

Policy document Reference Description
WA SP 2020 (2015) Action area 1, p.3
  • Greater public awareness and united action this action area will be achieved through: 1.1 Implementing a comprehensive communications strategy, including multimedia resources and media partnerships. 1.2 Delivering a comprehensive public education campaign and resources tailored to specific age groups and populations. 1.3 Promoting the use of mental health, counselling, alcohol and other drugs services, and reducing stigma and discrimination against people using these services. 1.4 Facilitating events to create community dialogue and inspire action. 1.5 Profiling the stories of bereaved families to create understanding and empathy, and reduce stigma around seeking help. 1.6 Providing opportunities for people with lived experience to share their stories to reduce stigma around accessing services.
  • At page 32: Early priorities 1.1.1 The Mental Health Commission will develop a comprehensive communications strategy, with the One Life website (www.onelifewa.com.au) acting as a hub for suicide prevention information, research and services. Partnerships with Mindframe will promote responsible reporting of suicide in the media. 1.2.1 The Mental Health Commission will continue strategic partnerships to promote universal suicide prevention awareness. 1.3.1 The State Government will build on the and strong community engagement achieved 1.4.1 through the previous State Suicide Prevention Strategy by continuing to provide small grants for local community activities, including public forums and events. 1.5.1 To tackle stigma and misunderstanding, and the experiences of individuals and families 1.6.1 affected by suicide will be profiled on the One Life website, in multimedia resources and through media partnerships.
Suicide Prevention Workforce Development and Training Plan for Tasmania (2016-2020) p.21-22
  • Families and carers, community groups and general workforces interacting with the community and all other workforces. Requirement: General knowledge and skills about suicide prevention, early intervention and postvention.

10. Stigma reduction

Stigma reduction—promote the use of Mental Health services

Policy document Reference Description
ATSISPEP STW (2016) p.3 (Table)
  • Awareness raising programs about suicide risk/use of DVDs with no assumption of literacy*
Qld SP Action Plan (2015-17) Priority Area 1, p.14
  • Reduce stigma associated with suicide and other related issues such as mental illness and financial problems, to remove barriers to people seeking the support they need, when they need it.
MH&SEWB Fr (2017-23) Outcome 2.4, p.23
  • Adapt end-to-end school-based MH&SEWB programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children that include a focus on: Help seeking behaviour and de-stigmatisation of mental health problems.
Qld SP Action Plan (2015-17) Priority 1, Action 3, p26
  • Increase community awareness of suicide prevention activities through enhanced coordination and promotion of community events for World Suicide Prevention Day.
NSW SP Plan (2018-23) Priority 1, p.22
  • Promoting recognition of mental health issues in older people and addressing stigma
Vic SP Plan (2016-25) Objective 1, p13
  • The Victorian Government will influence and challenge discriminatory behaviour by advocating for positive change and prompting discussions across Australia. It will inform and connect people to enable them to achieve their best possible mental health and access support when they need it. It will innovate and initiate effective ways to improve access to support and improve outcomes for people, families and communities.

11. Oversight and coordination

Oversight and coordination—utilise institutes or agencies to promote and coordinate research, training and service delivery in response to suicidal behaviours – See Part 1 of this Concordance

Other elements of systems-based approaches for consideration in Indigenous community and other settings

Traditional healers/ specialised areas of practice

Policy document Reference Description
MH&SEWB Fr (2017-23) Outcome 1.1, p.29
  • Recognise traditional healers, Elders and other cultural healers as an essential part of the overall SEWB and MH areas workforce.
Outcome 3.1, p.36
  • Access to traditional and contemporary healing practices
    • Develop culturally appropriate treatment pathways within a SEWB framework.
    • Support access to traditional and contemporary healing practices and healers.
    • Support traditional and contemporary healing practices like that of the Ngangkari, cultural healers and Elders alongside other mental health and related services.
Outcome 4.1, p.39
  • Integrate MH and other related areas services delivered by ACCHS and other health providers, including cultural healers.
Outcome 5.1
  • Ensure access [of people with severe mental illness] to culturally and clinically appropriate treatments, including with Elders, traditional healers, cultural healers and interpreters.
  • Develop culturally adapted assessment and treatment information options for those with severe mental illness and their families and carers.
Fifth Plan (2017-23) Action 12.2 p34
  • increasing knowledge of SEWB concepts, improving the cultural competence… of mainstream providers and improve access to cultural healers
GDD (2017) Theme 1, p.4
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander concepts of SEWB, MH and healing should be recognised across all parts of the Australian mental health system, and in some circumstances support specialised areas of practice.
  • Across their lifespan, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with wellbeing or mental health problems must have access to cultural healers and healing methods.
Drug Strategy (2014-19) Outcome 3.2, p.6
  • Community leaders and Elders take responsibility and a leading role, in partnership with government, to design, deliver and evaluate alcohol, tobacco and other drugs programs.
NATSIHP/IP (2013-23) Strategy 6D, p.40
  • Local Elders and senior community members champion culturally appropriate health and wellbeing choices
  • Local elders and senior community members are recognised and valued as experts who can help improve local health and wellbeing outcomes.
  • Workforce strategy gives consideration to how the health sector can work collaboratively with traditional healers and utilise the Community Development Programme workforce.
Cultural RF (2016-26) Domain 3, p.14
  • Cultural knowledge, expertise and skills of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals are reflected in health service models and practice
  • Organisation identifies and remunerates cultural professionals (cultural brokers, traditional healers, etc.) to assist in understanding health beliefs and practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Nat Standards – MH Workforce (2013) Standard 3 – Meeting diverse needs, p.14
  • The mental health practitioner: (11) Liaises and works collaboratively with culturally and linguistically appropriate care partners such as religious ministers, spiritual leaders, traditional healers, local community-based organisations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and MH workers, health consumer advocates, interpreters, bilingual counsellors and other resources where appropriate

Healing CSA

Policy document Reference Description
Royal Commission CSA (2018) Rec 9.2, p.30
  • The Australian Government and state and territory governments should fund Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing approaches as an ongoing, integral part of advocacy and support and therapeutic treatment service system responses for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. These approaches should be evaluated in accordance with culturally appropriate methodologies, to contribute to evidence of best practice.

AOD use reduction

Policy document Reference Description
ATSISPEP STW (2016) p.3 (Table)
  • Alcohol/drug use reduction
NATSISPS (2013) Outcome 3.5, p.33
  • There are integrated and collaborative approaches across sectors responding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander who are at high risk, such as people experiencing mental illness, substance misuse, incarceration, domestic violence, etc.
MH&SEWB Fr (2017–23) Outcome 2.1.6, p.32
  • Support communities that wish to restrict alcohol supply and use among their members.
Outcome 2.1.8, p.33
  • Encourage alcohol reduction strategies, including mainstream policy analysis of potential pricing levers and taxation options.
Outcome 2.4.2, p.35
  • Adapt end-to-end school based MH&SEWB programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children that include a focus on: Culturally and age appropriate alcohol and drug use prevention and/or reduction.
Drug Strategy (2014–19) Priority Area 2, p.5
  • Increase access to a full range of culturally responsive and appropriate programs, including prevention and interventions aimed at the local needs of individuals, families and communities to address harmful AOD use.
Outcome 2.1, p.6
  • Culturally appropriate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs and services are supported that address prevention programs, the impact of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs on individuals and families, and within their communities.

School programs and responding to suicidal behaviour and complex mental health conditions in children and young people

Policy document Reference Description
‘2030 Mental Health Vision’ (Cth)
  • National Children’s Mental Health Strategy in development
LifeSpan (2007) School Programs
  • Early life experiences can make young people vulnerable. As they get older, other issues may arise which can have a significant impact on them, for example: bullying or alcohol misuse. One event may act as the ‘final straw’, such as exam stress or a relationship break-up. This cumulative risk means training must begin from an early age to allow for cumulative resilience.
  • Schools are already doing an enormous amount to address the social and emotional wellbeing of young people however, they need to be better supported and resourced by the community to meet this challenge.
WA SP 2020 (2015) p.37
  • The Mental Health Commission will develop a youth engagement strategy to ensure suicide prevention activities are relevant to young people across Western Australia.
Youth Suicide Prevention Plan for Tasmania (2016-2020) Key Action 3, p.23
  • Build the capacity of schools and other educational settings to support young people who may be at risk of suicide or impacted by suicide.
  • Review membership of the Tasmanian Mental Health in Schools Reference Group and support its capacity to have an active role in advising and overseeing actions to support suicide prevention in Tasmanian schools (with linkages to the TSPCN
  • Develop (or review) a framework for Tasmania that lists a range of endorsed programs and approaches for primary schools and secondary schools that line up with the research evidence, the nationally endorsed curriculum, and the Commonwealth-funded mental health and schools program. This framework will outline the role of education, school health nurses, health and other service providers and the connections between these services.
  • Establish a process for the endorsement of suicide prevention or postvention programs and content in schools consistent with education curriculum requirements and evidence (existing and emerging).
  • Support local implementation of nationally funded school mental health programs across Tasmanian schools including the new Australian Government approach to school-based mental health initiatives currently under development as part of the ‘Joined Up Support for Child Mental Health’ initiative announced in response to the national Mental Health Commission Review (links with action 3.2).
  • Engage and support the vocational education and training and tertiary sectors to identify ways to support students through effective policies, programs and support services. This should follow the schools approach and integrate mental health, suicide prevention and suicide postvention.
  • Explore opportunities to integrate online programs and therapies into student learning support systems in secondary schools, vocational education and training and tertiary sectors.
NATSISPS (2013) Outcome 1.5, p.28
  • (ii) Build partnerships with schools, community councils and other agencies to deliver early intervention and prevention programs for parents, children and at-risk youth
Outcome 2.1, p.31
  • There are culturally appropriate community activities to engage youth, build cultural strengths, leadership, life skills and social competencies
  • (iii) Develop school and community-based life skills programs for adolescents
  • (iv) Promote leadership through youth forums and activities to recognise achievements of young people
  • (v) Develop models of training and skills development for peers as natural helpers
Outcome 2.3, p.31
  • (v) Identify school-based strategies to counter bullying, racial discrimination and lateral violence
Outcome 2.4, p.23 Require evidence-based approaches on MH and wellbeing be adopted in early childhood worker and teacher training and continuing professional development.
Adapt end-to-end school-based MH&SEWB programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children that include a focus on: Culturally and age appropriate suicide prevention.
MH&SEWB Fr (2017-23) Outcome 2.3/ 2.4
  • See in general Outcomes 2.3/ 2.4
  • Support children and young people’s strong connection to culture and sense of belonging in communities, families and friendship networks as a way to support their resilience and to help protect against suicide.
Outcome 4.1, p.27
  • Integrate clinical and non-clinical services who work with children and young people including child and adolescent mental health services and headspace to better support their needs and reduce suicide.
Korin Korin Balit-Djak (2017-27) Strategic direction 1.2.2, p.30
  • Promote cultural identity and community connections for Aboriginal young people
  • Over the next three years, the department will:
    • Work with Aboriginal communities, organisations and the Koorie Youth Council to increase community connections with, and support of, Aboriginal youth, particularly Aboriginal LGBTI youth, Aboriginal youth with disabilities and Aboriginal youth in out-of-home care.
    • Resource the Aboriginal youth mentoring program across Victoria to further develop skills, relationships and networks that keep Aboriginal young people connected to their culture, families and friends.
    • Resource opportunities for Aboriginal young people to promote their cultural identity, connection to community and youth networking.
    • Support the inclusion of Aboriginal young people’s experiences in youth policy development.
    • Sponsor youth leadership scholarship opportunities through the Koorie Youth Council.
    • Resource and promote the importance of conducting cultural camps, especially for children in out-of-home care.
    • Resource Elders to mentor young Aboriginal people, particularly Aboriginal LGBTI people, Aboriginal Victorians with a disability and Aboriginal children and young people in out-of-home care.
  • In 10 years, success will look like:
    • Aboriginal young people lead self-determining lives and have key roles in determining the policies and programs that affect their lives.
Qld SP Action Plan (2015-17) Priority 3, p.21
  • Scope current service models, barriers for accessing services and options for improvement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people at risk of suicide within the Townsville region. This will particularly focus on the need for after-hours support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people who are at imminent risk of harm, in consultation with local service providers and community representatives (Queensland Mental Health Commission).
NATSIHP/IP (2013-23) Part 4 4A. Young people have a voice in the development and implementation of programmes and policies that are affecting them.
4B. Young people are supported to be resilient and make informed and healthy choices about living, including being proud of identity and culture.
4D. Young people have good education and good employment prospects.
ATSISPEP STW (2016) p.3 (Table)
  • School-based peer support and mental health literacy programs
  • Programs to engage/divert, including sport
NSW SP Plan (2018-23) Priority 1, p.22
  • Reducing bullying and building resilience and support for young people
Priority 2, p.26
  • The School-Link program, a joint initiative between NSW Health and the NSW Department of Education, supports schools to identify young people with mental health problems and provide earlier access to appropriate mental health care and improved recovery planning and reintroduction to school following an episode of mental ill health.
  • A range of programs coordinated by the NSW Department of Education are enhancing the ability of schools to respond to the risk of suicide and the effects of suicides in school communities. In collaboration with headspace, suicide postvention planning workshops are taking place with school executives, emergency management staff and school services teams across the state. These workshops aim to equip schools with a plan to minimise the impact of suicides and suicide attempts, and to mitigate the risk of suicidal behaviour spreading.
  • The NSW Department of Education Networked Specialist Centres also support schools to respond to the complex needs of students and their families and carers by coordinating access to specialist psychological supports.
  • NSW Health and the NSW Department of Education have also jointly commissioned Project Air for Schools, an evidenced-based model of training and care pathways to improve responses to young people with a personality disorder, many of whom have difficulty managing distress and may self-harm.
Qld SP Action Plan (2015-17) Priority 2, Actions 14 and 16, p.28
  • Provide mental health training for school staff to identify individuals at risk and respond appropriately.
  • Require Senior Guidance Officers and Guidance Officers, as first responders in State Schools, to attend suicide prevention and intervention training.
Townsville SP Plan (2017-20) Action 6.1/6.2, p.29
  • In partnership with a significant community partner (TBA), roll-out of The Resilience Project for all students Prep to Year 12
Action 6.3, p.29
  • Recognising what schools are doing already and what will be achieved over the next 3 years, Gold Standard Achievement Awards provided to schools for a combination of: – Prevention – Wellbeing and Resilience Training for whole student body – Intervention – Gatekeeper Training for parents, staff, auxiliary staff – Postvention – school support
SA SP Plan (2017-21) Action 7, p.13
  • The Department for Education will review suicide prevention and postvention policies and procedures within the South Australian education system.
  • The Department for Education will continue its partnership with Shine SA to provide gender diversity training and support to secondary school staff over three years (2017-2020).
WA SP 2020 (2015) p.37
  • The State Government will strengthen the Response to Suicide and Self-Harm in Schools Program (‘School response’). This encompasses coordinated and free counselling, education and treatment for young people at risk to help them overcome issues associated with depression, suicide, self-harm and grief from suicide by family or friends. It is delivered by specialist staff through the Department of Education School Psychology Service, Department of Health Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, and non-government service Youth Focus.
  • The School response will be expanded, as resources become available, to the Mid-West, Wheatbelt and the Great Southern where there has been significant need.
  • Increased mental health and suicide prevention education programs in Curriculum and Re-engagement schools will also be delivered. This will ensure vulnerable young people who may have previously missed out on health education are better equipped around improving their mental wellbeing, supporting their peers and accessing appropriate services when needed
Vic SP Framework (2016-2025) Objective 1, p13
  • Education State is supporting schools to focus on the health and wellbeing of students in order to improve both health and education outcomes, and to close gaps in outcomes for disadvantaged schools.
  • Evidence highlighted by the Royal Commission into Family Violence shows that teaching children and young people about respectful relationships and gender equality, and taking a whole school approach to this education, can prevent domestic and family violence in the long term. The reforms include delivering new teaching and learning materials focused on respectful relationships and violence prevention in the school curriculum from prep to year 12, and a range of resources that support respectful and safe school communities.
  • A recent investment of $21.8 million will strengthen and expand the delivery of respectful relationships across Victorian schools and early years services. This funding will help schools not only teach respectful relationships education as part of the school curriculum, but extend the focus to school cultures, practices and partnerships, helping to reinforce and model respectful relationships and gender equity in everything schools do. In addition, up to 4000 early childhood educators will receive professional learning focused on how to build and develop respectful relationships aligned with the Victorian Early Learning and Development Framework.
  • The Victorian Government will continue to support the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria to provide flexible resources and training opportunities in every Victorian government secondary school to support same-sex attracted and gender diverse students. The resources provided through the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria help to reduce homophobic and transphobic behaviour and intersex prejudice in Victorian schools. The resources increase support for, and actively include, same-sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, school staff and families.

Postvention and messaging about suicide in schools

Policy document Reference Description
SA SP Plan (2017-21) Priority 2, Action 5, p.19
  • The Department for Education through their Social Work Incident Support Service (SWISS) will provide state-wide pre/ postvention support to schools in regards to suicidal ideation, suicide death and attempted suicide of a student.
Townsville SP Plan (2017-20) Action 6.4
  • Safe messaging made available for schools and students to use in communications about suicide deaths
  • As part of school community recovery, there needs to be a sensitive response within the school catchment to fill the silence in the event of a trauma and/or deaths by suicide. It is the responsibility of the TSPN to equip schools to safely articulate a response to these events, in particular: personal and corporate social media
Vic SP Plan (2016-25) Objective 2, p,.17
  • The Department of Education and Training in partnership with headspace will continue to provide on-the-ground support to schools in instances of attempted suicide or suicide. School Support is an evidence-based world-first program that supports Australian secondary schools affected by suicide. It works closely with education systems, principals, school wellbeing staff and teachers to appropriately prevent and respond to the suicide of a young person.
WA SP 2020 (2015) P.37
  • The Mental Health Commission will increase resources to early intervention programs and family counselling to support vulnerable children who are at risk of or experiencing cumulative trauma.
  • The Mental Health Commission will work with the Department of Child Protection and Family Support, Department of Education, Department of Health and other relevant agencies to deliver prevention and early intervention initiatives for vulnerable children at risk of abuse, neglect and cumulative trauma in line with recommendations by the Western Australian Ombudsman.

Families and children at risk

Policy document Reference Description
NATSISPS (2013) Outcome 3.5, p.36
  • There are integrated and collaborative approaches across sectors responding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are at high risk, such as people experiencing mental illness, substance misuse, incarceration, domestic violence, etc
Outcome 3.6, p.36
  • There is capacity to identify children with early or emerging risk of conduct, behavioural and developmental problems and options for referral of children and families at moderate and high risk, including families with complex multiple needs, to culturally adapted therapeutic programs.
  • Provide training for child health and early education staff to assist them in effectively identifying and responding to behavioural and early mental health problems at childcare, preschool and school
  • Engage at-risk parents to provide parenting and family support via access to health, early education and childcare services as well as child protection services
  • Trial and implement culturally adapted therapeutic family interventions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and children
  • Develop strategies to identify and reduce risk associated with child protection interventions, including child removal, foster care and kinship care and practices of child placement
  • Improve identification of foetal alcohol syndrome disorder and other developmental impairments in children
  • Develop information and resources to assist health and social and emotional wellbeing practitioners to respond to family suicidal behaviour and family mental illness
Youth SP Plan for Tasmania (2016–2020) Key Action 1, p.19
  • Start early by focusing on the resilience, mental health and wellbeing of children, parents and families:
  • Support Child Safe Organisations (through the Commissioner for Children) to prevent and detect all forms of abuse against children – including physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
  • Focus on children in out-of-home care and their carers to ensure they have access to programs that build skills and resilience.
  • Explore opportunities for children in out-of-home care to have priority access to mental health and health services.
  • Develop clear referral pathways and service maps for children and families where a child has an emerging behavioural, conduct or developmental problem to facilitate early intervention by specialist services.
  • Support the implementation of the Australian Government’s reform initiative, ‘Joined up Support for Child Mental Health’.
  • Implement and evaluate programs to support children of parents with a mental illness and siblings of children with mental health and behavioural problems.
  • Implement and evaluate resilience programs that support children, families and new parents in adverse circumstances; for example childhood illness, sudden death – including suicide and family breakdown.
Key Action 2:
  • Empower young people, families and wider community networks to talk about suicide and respond to young people at risk of suicide.
  • Develop messages to support the prevention of youth suicide as part of the new Tasmanian Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Communications Charter, with the involvement of Tasmanian youth. (See Action 9.2 of the Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Strategy (2016-2020)).
  • Disseminate evidence-based information on talking to young people about suicide through educational settings, community services, family networks and other community settings. This activity should use existing networks such as the Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Community Network (TSPCN) and YNOT.
  • Develop (or disseminate) resources for young people to understand how to talk about suicide with each other – with a focus on supporting safe discussion following a suicide death, including guidelines for online discussion and memorials. This needs to engage young people and link with youth networks and postvention services.
  • Develop and test suicide prevention messages that could form part of an online campaign implemented by young people to support each other when they see concerning posts online. These messages need to engage young people and link with youth networks and support services.
  • Implement approaches to engage and support young people who are disconnected or at risk of becoming disconnected from family, school or work through partnerships with ‘Youth at Risk’ and homelessness services, and investigate the development of an online youth mentoring program connecting community leaders and young people.
Korin Korin Balit-Djak (2017-27) Priority focus 4.2, p.47 Aboriginal children and families are thriving and empowered

  • Strategic direction 4.2.1: Increase access to culturally responsive early years services
  • Strategic direction 4.2.2: Increase access to Aboriginal community-led family violence prevention and support services
  • Strategic direction 4.2.3: Improve outcomes for vulnerable Aboriginal children by advancing Aboriginal self-determination in decision-making
  • Strategic direction 4.2.4: Better outcomes for Aboriginal children in out-of-home care

OOHC/carers

Policy document Reference Description
Qld SP Action Plan (2015–17) Priority 2, Action 17, p.28, Priority 3, Actions 30–31, p.30
  • Provide training, support and resources to assist staff, as well as foster and kinship carers, to understand and respond to the mental health needs of children and young people.
  • Improve outcomes for children in contact with the child protection system. This will involve a review of therapeutic services available to young people in care and implementing the Child and Family Reform Program that aims to reduce child abuse by supporting families earlier, to keep children safe and provide for their wellbeing.
  • Implement the new Strengthening Families Protecting Children Framework for Practice which will provide child protection practitioners with a common set of values, knowledge and practice tools. This will assist workers to engage with children and young people to build therapeutic relationships focused on increasing children and young people’s safety, belonging and wellbeing (including emotional and mental health wellbeing).
SA SP Plan (2017-21) Priority 2, Action 5, p.19
  • DCP will continue to work in partnership with non-government agencies to deliver appropriate suicide intervention training for people working with vulnerable children in residential care facilities.
Action 6, p.13
  • The Department for Child Protection (DCP) will work with children in out-of-home-care to provide them with the necessary support to ensure their physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing and to develop strategies to reduce self-harm and suicide.
  • DCP will work in partnership with SA Health and the Department for Education to support children in out-of-home-care who may be at risk of suicide due to past experiences of trauma and abuse. This will include ongoing risk assessments, monitoring of mental health and wellbeing, safety planning and care team meetings.
Q SP Plan (2015-17) Priority 4, Actions 39, 40, p33.
  • Review the deaths and serious injuries of children who were known to Child Safety within one year prior to the incident or who were in out-of-home care at the time of the event, including suicides.
  • Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, Child Death Review Panels will conduct a review when a child or young person in care has died by suicide. The purpose of the review is to facilitate ongoing learning and foster improvement in the provision of services and accountability within Child Safety Services. Outcomes of the review will help inform whether appropriate case management and service delivery responses were provided to assist the young person

Mental health services for young people

Policy document Reference Description
Youth SP Plan for Tasmania (2016–2020) Key Action 4, p.25
  • Develop the capacity of the service system to support young people experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
  • Develop and promote an updated register of GPs and private psychologists with specific skills and interest in youth mental health and suicide prevention.
  • Ensure young people who have attempted suicide have a personalised comprehensive plan for ongoing management and support that includes the role of health services, family, friends, school or workplaces, and other agencies and community supports.
  • Develop a specific youth suicide prevention Pathway (as part of the Tasmanian Health Pathways Primary Health Tasmania initiative) for Tasmania that considers the diversity of young people and connects primary care services to specialist child and youth mental health services, other community supports and effective online treatment and support options.
  • Identify e-health and e-therapy options to be included in service delivery approaches for young people in Tasmania and pilot their integration into the service system – including a focus on e-therapies for depression, anxiety, self-harm and substance use, and technologies that can support protective factors such as sleep, exercise and nutrition.
  • Investigate the implementation of shared data, data systems and communication protocols across health and other government settings to ensure better documentation, and the ongoing management and support of young people at risk of suicide.
  • Consider the feasibility of redeveloping the child and adolescent mental health service system (in line with Rethink Plan) to include dedicated service streams for 0-11 years and 12-25 years.
  • Support services to implement best-practice guidelines and provide advice, in conjunction with key partners, on training for all services working with young people to ensure competence in creating and maintaining a youth-friendly approach.

Helplines

Policy document Reference Description
NATSISPS (2013) Outcome 2.4
  • Review and remodel Kids Helpline and Lifeline counselling services to provide appropriate services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in each state and territory
SA SP Plan (2017–21) Strategy 1, p.12
  • We will work with Lifeline and other telephone counselling and support services to undertake training in the Connecting with People approach to suicide mitigation.

Apps/e-mental health

Policy document Reference Description
Black Dog Institute i-bobbly
Tas SP Plan (2016–20) Priority 1.2, p.21
  • Use technology to respond earlier and in an improved and more coordinated way to people presenting with suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
  • Identify effective online treatments and programs, including treatments for depression, anxiety and drug and alcohol problems, and integrate them into the treatment options provided through primary care, the public mental health services and private providers.
  • Develop and pilot tele-health options including consideration of consultation liaison teams, to enhance consultation and treatment options in rural areas for people experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
  • Develop (or enhance an existing) Online Portal for Suicide Prevention in Tasmania that can support better connections between communities and services, and support better access to evidence-based e-therapies and self-help tools. This should consider the diverse Tasmanian population and utilise existing state and national evidence-based programs and resources.