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Suicide prevention policy reform in the spotlight

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Suicide prevention policy reform in the spotlight

 

Peak suicide prevention body, Suicide Prevention Australia, pushes for substantial policy reform during the launch of their National Policy Platform, which includes a call for a Federal Minister for Suicide Prevention.

Suicide Prevention Australia, CEO, Nieves Murray said, “Structural change is essential to elevate suicide prevention to a cross-portfolio focus. Suicide Prevention Australia’s National Policy Platform advocates for immediate changes to government policy architecture. Better cross-portfolio coordination is essential to address the social, economic, health, occupational, cultural and environmental factors involved in suicide prevention.

“Suicide prevention is complex and it needs to be addressed as a whole-of-government issue because it’s more than a health issue,” said Ms Murray.

Although there has been an increased focus and concerted effort in government policy and funding for suicide prevention in recent years, this has largely been limited to the health portfolio.

“Our recommendations look beyond initiatives such as the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan and the elevation of suicide prevention to the Council of Australian Governments,” said Ms Murray.

The Suicide Prevention Australia National Policy Platform outlines solutions to effectively and sustainably support suicide prevention in Australia. These policy solutions are built on a comprehensive three-pillar approach of leadership, reliable data and workforce strategy.

Suicide Prevention Australia is calling for the following policy reform:

  • The introduction of a Commonwealth Suicide Prevention Act
  • A National Suicide Prevention Plan that is broader than the health portfolio
  • The appointment of a Federal Minister for suicide prevention
  • The establishment of a National Suicide Prevention Office within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to lead;
    • The development of a National Suicide Prevention Plan including cross-portfolio approaches to suicide prevention.
    • An initiative to improve the integrity (accuracy and timeliness), collation (local and national information) and distribution of suicide data.
    • A workforce strategy including a focus on the education, training and support needs of the entire suicide prevention workforce.

The annual number of deaths by suicide has been increasing over the past two decades. Every year it is estimated that over 65,000 Australians make a suicide attempt – this translates to more than 180 every day.

We recognise that these statistics represent community members, family members, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, and loved ones.

“What this shows is that suicide is a growing public health concern for all Australians and immediate action is essential,” said Ms Murray.

“Suicide prevention is complex. Global evidence shows that a fragmented and mental illness-specific approach doesn’t work,” said Ms Murray.

Click here to view the Suicide Prevention Australia National Policy Platform.

To get help 24/7, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, phone 000 for emergency services.

Media enquiries: Clare Kinsella 0427 689 689 media@suicidepreventionaust.org

Help to report about suicide safely is available online: Go to www.mindframe-media.info

About Suicide Prevention Australia
Suicide Prevention Australia is the national peak body for those working in suicide prevention, engaging with Member organisations, governments, businesses, researchers, practitioners and those with lived experience, seeking to reduce the impact of suicide on the community.

We’ve been providing national support for Australia’s suicide prevention sector for more than 25 years. As the national peak body our role is to support, facilitate collaboration and advocate for the suicide prevention sector. We support our Members to build a stronger suicide prevention sector.

We’re committed to driving continual improvement in suicide prevention policy, programs and services to achieve better outcomes for all Australians. We advocate for a whole-of-government approach to reducing suicide. We are focused on an integrated approach to suicide prevention encompassing mental health, social, economic and community factors.

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[1] http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/mental-pubs-m-mhaust2-toc~mental-pubs-m-mhaust2-8~mental-pubs-m-mhaust2-8-1