All people who have been admitted to hospital following an attempted suicide and those who have reached out for help will have access to follow up care and support under a new comprehensive strategy that marks the beginning of our journey towards zero suicides in NSW.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies announced nearly $90 million for new suicide prevention initiatives during the launch of the state’s first comprehensive suicide prevention strategy.
"The tragic loss of life from suicide leaves families and communities devastated and we shouldn’t accept the current rates," Ms Berejiklian said. "Two to three people lose their lives to suicide in NSW each day, and this has to stop.
"Today’s announcement provides vital funding and better coordination between the various support providers and agencies to ensure no-one slips through the cracks. "This investment in mental health is possible because of our strong economic management."
The number of lives lost to suicide in NSW - 880 in 2017 - is more than double the State’s road toll and the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 44 years.
Mrs Davies said communities at high risk of suicide will benefit from new or expanded initiatives from next year including:
- Aftercare services – ensuring all people who have been admitted to hospital following a suicide attempt have access to follow up care and support
- Emergency Department alternatives – provide a more suitable alternative for people in crisis, such as designated ‘cafes’ with trained mental health workers at hand
- Zero Suicides in Care – strengthening practices within the mental health system to eliminate suicide attempts by people in care
- Expand community mental health outreach teams – to increase capacity to respond to calls to the NSW Mental Health hotline
- New support services for people bereaved by suicide – to prevent ‘clusters’ of further suicides, especially among young people.
- Resilience building within local communities – engage communities to participate in suicide prevention, with particular focus on Aboriginal communities
- Enhance the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program – to provide additional counsellors for people in regional and rural areas
- Improved collection and distribution of suicide data in NSW
"We expect these initiatives to have the biggest impact on suicide in NSW the State has ever seen and will ensure that we reduce the number of lives lost to suicide in NSW," Mrs Davies said.
"Evidence shows integrated, community-led activities are more effective in suicide prevention than standalone, isolated activities that are not well linked.
"This is about providing our communities with the most effective tools so they have the strength, resilience and capacity to prevent and respond to suicide."
The strategy known as the Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention in NSW 2018-2023 was developed by the Mental Health Commission of NSW and the NSW Ministry of Health, in collaboration with people with lived experience of a suicide attempt or suicide bereavement, government agencies, mental health organisations and experts in suicide prevention.
The Framework encourages a grass roots response to local suicides through the development of local suicide prevention collaboratives. The Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative was highlighted as an example of a local collaborative on page 18 and 19.
If you or someone you know needs crisis support please call Lifeline 13 11 14, MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78, or Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800. For mental health services in your local area phone the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.
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