The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care
The Hon. David Coleman MP
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for
Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
The Morrison Government is investing $2.53 million in two research projects to improve support for Australians experiencing emotional distress or a suicidal crisis.
Suicide prevention is a key priority for the Morrison Government. In 2019, 3,318 Australians lost their lives to suicide. Each death is a national tragedy and has a devastating effect on friends, families and communities.
The Suicide Prevention Research Fund supports research into suicide prevention and is managed by Suicide Prevention Australia, the national peak body for the suicide prevention sector.
The two research projects were selected through the Suicide Prevention Research Fund’s competitive Targeted Research Grants program.
The Australian National University will receive $1.35 million for their project, Co-creating safe space, which will examine the effectiveness of ‘safe space’ models in the ACT and NSW as alternatives to presenting to a hospital Emergency Department.
The University of Western Australia will receive $1.28 million for their project, Expand WA, which will seek to improve aftercare services among young people aged 10 to 17 who present to hospital with self-harm or suicidal crisis.
It will also determine the effectiveness of a brief collaborative psychological intervention called a Therapeutic Assessment, including a version tailored for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the research projects recognise the vulnerability of people at the time of suicidal or emotional distress, and will contribute to more effective responses.
“Our Government is committed to reducing the rate of suicides in Australia to zero and to supporting initiatives and services that help prevent suicide,” Minister Hunt said.
“This is why we’re investing $289.1 million in the 2021-22 Budget into suicide prevention, recognising the devastating impact suicide continues to have on Australian families and communities.”
As part of the Morrison Government’s record $2.3 billion investment in the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, the Government committed $158.6 million for the provision of universal aftercare, to be delivered in partnership with states and territories.
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said the Government’s investment in the Research Fund has supported Australian research into suicide prevention and rapid translation of the findings into more effective services for individuals, families and communities
“We know that a suicide attempt is the most significant risk factor for further suicidal behaviour and attempts. That’s why it’s important to understand the best ways we can support people in these situations,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.
“We are deeply committed to supporting initiatives and services that help us better understand and prevent suicide, which is currently the leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 49.”
The Morrison Government has provided $16.5 million funding over five years to Suicide Prevention Australia to administer the Suicide Prevention Research Fund and to deliver a Quality Improvement Program.
In 2018-19 the Government committed $37.6 million to support the provision of aftercare services through the rollout of the Beyond Blue Way Back Support Service. This was supplemented with a $7 million investment in response to the initial advice from the Prime Minister’s National Suicide Prevention Adviser.
The Government has also recognised the work in developing models for Safe Spaces that provide alternatives to hospital emergency departments, and has committed to implementing national standards for Safe Space services.
Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through headspace (https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), Lifeline (13 11 14), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health (www.headtohealth.gov.au).