Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK? Day, the Australian Government is officially launching vital suicide prevention aftercare services in six states and territories, as well as providing a further $19 million to extend leading national suicide prevention services.
Suicide prevention is a key priority for the Australian Government. In 2018, 3,046 Australians lost their lives to suicide. Each death is a national tragedy and has a devastating effect on friends, families and communities.
This year, World Suicide Prevention Day recognises our shared responsibility for suicide prevention and urges us to engage with others and join together to spread awareness.
I encourage all Australians to take a minute to think about mental health and how they and the people around them are coping with life’s demands.
It is ok to talk about suicidality, and to assist others reach out for support. Our Government is investing in a range of innovative programmes to make sure that help is available.
One of these programmes is the Way Back Support Service. This initiative, delivered by Beyond Blue, offers vital follow up contact and assistance to people for several months after a suicide attempt or suicidal crisis.
People who have self-harmed or attempted suicide are among the most at risk of dying by suicide. Non-clinical care during this vulnerable time is effective in reducing suicidal thoughts and behaviour.
To support The Way Back, the Australian Government has committed $44.6 million over four years, matched by states and territories, to deliver the service in selected regions across Australia.
The Government has now signed bilateral agreements with the ACT, Northern Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, and Victoria, making the service available in six states and territories. We are continuing to engage with the other jurisdictions.
To further ensure that services and support are available to all Australians, an extra $19 million will be provided for 18 projects, to continue their work as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This funding, through the National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program, will sustain important support, awareness and stigma reduction activities, research, and leadership until June 2022. This announcement brings the total investment in the programme to over $100 million.
Under the program, organisations such as the OzHelp Foundation and MATES in Construction, are funded to provide training and support to higher risk populations, building wellbeing and resilience in workplaces across Australia.
With so much change and so many challenges this year, the work of organisations like OzHelp and MATES is Construction is critical to supporting mental health and preventing suicide.
Also among the organisations receiving funding though the program is R U OK? Ltd.
R U OK? Day is a day when Australians are asked to connect and have conversations about their wellbeing. In recognition of this year’s theme of “there is more to say after R U OK?”, Australians are also all encouraged to follow up on the initial question, to reach out to someone who looks like they may need help.
Like many of our other activities, R U OK? Day will look different this year because of COVID-19 restrictions. Whether through technology or in person, we can still connect and show we care, in our friendship or family groups, workplaces, schools and community.
As well as urging Australians to reach out to others, I encourage anyone going through tough times to reach out for help, whether in person, through telehealth or a phone or online services.
To ensure that help is available when it is needed, the Australian Government has committed more than $500 million for expanded mental health services since January this year. This builds on record funding for mental health, expected to reach an estimated $5.7 billion this year alone.
Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline
(13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.
If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone who is considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available at 1300 659 467 or on their website.
National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program – Funding Breakdown
2016-17 to 2021-22
|Community Broadcasting Association of Australia Ltd||Community Broadcasting Association of Australia is funded to deliver mental health and suicide prevention messaging over radio stations nationally and develop materials for groups that may be high risk.||$384,525||$2,114,887|
|Everymind||Everymind is funded for three key media and communications projects – the Mindframe National Media initiative, support to PHNs, and the Life in Mind initiative.||$2,218,521||$11,625,756|
|MATES in Construction Australia Ltd||Funding supports the national delivery of the MATES in Construction suicide prevention program targeted at male dominated building and construction industries.||$1,680,489||$9,242,689|
|Mental Health First Aid Australia||Mental Health First Aid Australia is funded to support and improve the capacity of its network of instructors, work with communities to implement training in priority areas and update and evaluate course resources.||$982,802||$5,405,412|
|National LGBTI Health Alliance||Funding for the MindOUT! Project supports the National LGBTI Health Alliance to work with LGBTI organisations and mainstream mental health organisations to improve mental health and suicide prevention outcomes for LGBTI people.||$484,292||$2,663,605|
|Orygen – The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health||Orygen is funded to develop guidelines regarding safe youth peer-peer communication about suicide, to develop a suite of evidence-based messages and educational resources and to disseminate messaging and resources via a national social media campaign targeting young people.||$400,000||$2,200,000|
|OzHelp Foundation Ltd||Funding for the OzHelp project delivers a suite of evidence-based mental health and suicide awareness, prevention and intervention programs to support ‘hard to reach’ men in male dominated workplaces.||$1,318,168||$7,002,112|
|R U OK? Ltd||Funding to R U OK? supports campaign activity designed to build the confidence and capacity of Australians to connect and have conversations about mental health.||$374,976||$2,062,367|
|Reach Out Australia Pty Ltd||Reach Out Australia is funded to deliver a youth suicide prevention national media campaign and promote digital support for Australians aged 14-25 years.||$249,886||$1,374,373|
|Roses in the Ocean||Roses in the Ocean is funded to provide a range of capacity building workshops and training opportunities for people with a lived experience of suicide. This support will help enable people with lived experience to better engage and contribute to program and policy development undertaken by PHNs and other similar organisations.||$709,000||$2,485,500|
|Suicide Prevention Australia Ltd||Suicide Prevention Australia provides a national leadership role for the suicide prevention sector in Australia with a strong focus on building partnerships, including with people with a lived experience of suicide, to change behaviours and attitudes to suicide prevention.||$600,000||$3,300,000|
|The University of Melbourne||The University of Melbourne, with its consortium partners, is funded to ensure knowledge and research on evidence based suicide prevention activity is shared and translated into best practice.||$600,000||$3,300,000|
|The University of Western Australia||The University of Western Australia is funded to establish and run a Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention.||$700,000||$3,850,000|
|United Synergies Ltd||Funding to United Synergies supports the StandBy Response after Suicide service to deliver nationally coordinated on the ground support to individuals and communities bereaved by suicide as well as training front-line emergency response services.||$5,105,594||$26,804,368|
|Wesley Community Services Ltd||Wesley Community Services is funded for two key projects. Funding supports suicide prevention networks in communities throughout Australia and the delivery of LifeForce suicide prevention training nationally.||$3,161,476||$17,264,783|