Draft national suicide prevention strategy in the works

2 minute read

The National Suicide Prevention Office wants to hear what stakeholders want to see in the national strategy.

The National Suicide Prevention Office is developing a national suicide prevention strategy which will outline what can be done to reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts in Australia. 

Informed by people with lived and living experience, evidence, and best-practice suicide prevention initiatives, the strategy aims to extend the current efforts, which largely focus on preventing people who are in crisis from taking their own lives, to include efforts that prevent people from reaching the point of suicidal distress in the first place. 

Dr Michael Gardner, head of the NSPO, said: 

“Suicide is not just an expression of mental illness, but of the challenges that people deal with every day. These are as diverse as financial stress, homelessness, child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, social exclusion, loneliness and addiction.  

“The strategy outlines what can be done to address the factors that lead to suicidal distress. It seeks to bolster national wellbeing and ensure that people are not trapped in circumstances that lead to helplessness and hopelessness but have equal opportunity to thrive. 

“But it also aims to ensure that people who are struggling get help as early as possible, have access to effective and compassionate care, and receive support that does not end when moments of crisis pass.”     

Dr Gardner said that preventing suicide was everybody’s responsibility and required significant collective national effort. 

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“At its heart, this strategy will ask Australians for a generosity of spirit. It will ask that governments, agencies, services, communities, and individuals recognise their role in suicide prevention and work together to achieve change.  

“There is a clear way forward and, while implementing the actions set out in the Strategy will take time and commitment, there is no doubt it will save lives.” 

Feedback on the draft strategy can be submitted by registering here

Every year, more than 3000 Australians die by suicide and an estimated 65,000 people attempt to take their own life. This is approximately nine deaths and 180 attempts each day. 

The economic cost of suicide and self-harm to the economy is estimated to be $30.5 billion each year. 

Do you have a story tip for us, or a topic you would like to see us cover? Contact the editor at editor@healthservicesdaily.com.au.

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