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Associate Professor Ashleigh Lin

Associate Professor Ashleigh Lin

Associate Professor Ashleigh Lin of the University of Western Australia was awarded $98,335 for the Innovation Research Grant project titled:

Can homeless young people be part of the solution in suicide prevention? Assessing the value of homeless young people using safeTALK.

The number of homeless young people continues to increase in Western Australi and across the country. Homeless young people are at risk of suicidal behaviour due to increased risk of poor mental health, substance misuse and over-representation of other marginalised groups. Moreover, this cohort is often disengaged from the educational environment and lack opportunity for mental health psychoeducation  and support.

This research will deliver safeTALK and work with existing Telethon Kids Institute partners who provide crisis transitional accommodation services for homeless young people. SafeTALK is a universal intervention that prepares anyone over the age of 15 regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper – to  young people accessing these services. If safeTALK is found to achieve the aims of the study SafeTALK will then be able to be recommended for suicide prevention with  homeless youth.

This research aims to:

  • Equip homeless young people with the skills to identify suicidal behaviour;
  • Destigmatise suicide;
  • Increase suicidal literacy;
  • Facilitate conversations with individuals who are suicidal connecting them to life-saving interventions and resources

In a statement, Associate Professor Lin explains:

“Young people who experience homelessness are at heightened risk for suicide compared to their peers with stable accommodation. One way in which the risk for suicide could be reduced is to provide homeless young people with the skills and knowledge to seek support when they are feeling suicidal and to assist others who are suicidal. This funding from Suicide Prevention Australia will allow our team to study whether providing a suicide prevention training program called safeTALK to young people who are experiencing homelessness can help increase their confidence in talking about suicide, seeking help and ultimately reduce suicide attempts in this vulnerable population. We will conduct this study in partnership with Mission Australia, Perth Inner City Youth Service and Lifeline WA. If the training is successful, this program could be rolled out across accommodation services in Australia.”

For more information on the funding opportunities available through the Suicide Prevention Research Fund please visit this page.