Suicide Prevention Australia welcomes the announcement of a bilateral funding agreement between the Commonwealth and Victorian Government which unlocks essential funding for suicide prevention.
This will deliver much-needed funds to support people following a suicide attempt, those bereaved by suicide and others in distress across the community.
The bilateral agreement forms part of the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement (National Agreement), which has been signed by the Commonwealth, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory and Victorian governments.
However, important funding agreements with Western Australia and Tasmania are yet to be announced.
Suicide Prevention Australia has called for a National Agreement that delivers a whole-of-government approach, clarifies roles and responsibilities, sets clear and transparent outcomes, and ensures lived experience is at the centre.
Suicide Prevention Australia CEO, Nieves Murray said, “This agreement will funnel around $247.9 million into mental health and suicide prevention support and services at a time when distress in the community is at an all-time high with record demand for services.
“The bilateral agreement between Victoria and the Commonwealth is an important step forward for many, but not all Australians.
“We urge the Commonwealth and the remaining state governments to resolve negotiations in other jurisdictions without delay.
“There is distress in our community as we emerge from the pandemic and face ongoing natural disasters like the recent floods and bushfires.
“The research shows that two to three years after a disaster are when suicide risks are highest, it’s critical that the National Agreement is in place to support our community at this time.
“We’re seeing progress, but more needs to happen and it needs to happen faster.
“The National Agreement is a major opportunity to put foundations in place to reduce distress across Australia,” said Ms Murray.
StandBy General Manager, Karen Phillips said, “StandBy welcomes this funding across Victoria so we can continue to provide postvention services across the state. Postvention is about supporting families, friends, colleagues and others whose risk of suicide is increased by the impact of another individual’s suicide.”
Ms Murray said, “A lot is riding on these important negotiations between the remaining states and the Commonwealth.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver on national, structural and much-needed reform at a time our community needs it most.
“Let’s get it done and get it right, our communities need these services as soon as possible.
“It’s important to remember help is always available no matter who you are or what situation you are in. You do not have to go this alone. If you are feeling distress, please reach out and access the various support services that are available,” said Ms Murray.
The funding for Victoria includes:
- $125.1 million to continue operation of the 14 existing Head to Health adult mental health clinics that were established during the COVID-19 pandemic, and ongoing funding to support Victoria’s first Head to Health centre in Geelong that opened in December 2021. This funding will also support Victoria’s new community-based mental health and wellbeing services for adults and older Australians.
- $41.9 million to help establish universal aftercare services in Victoria to support people following a suicide attempt or suicidal crisis. Two expanded referral pathways trial sites will also be established to provide aftercare services for people who have experienced a suicidal crisis without being admitted to hospital.
- $5.0 million to ensure all people in Victoria who are bereaved or impacted by suicide can access postvention support services
- $22.3 million for three new community-based mental health and wellbeing hubs for infants, children and families to improve access to multidisciplinary team care for children.
- $45.4 million to enhance headspace services and establish two new headspace centres, to increase access to multidisciplinary youth mental health services in Victoria.
- $2.4 million to implement a Distress Brief Intervention Trial Program to prevent and reduce suicidal behaviour at two trial sites.
- $1.8 million to improve perinatal mental health.
- $4.0 million to strengthen regional planning and commissioning of mental health and suicide prevention services.
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.
Help to report about suicide safely is available online: Go to https://mindframe.org.au/
Clare Kinsella 0427 689 689 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Amelia Banks 0410 591 134 or email@example.com
About Suicide Prevention Australia
Suicide Prevention Australia is the national peak body and we’ve been providing support for Australia’s suicide prevention sector for more than 25 years. We support and advocate for our members to drive continual improvement in suicide prevention policy, programs and services. Our reach is broad, including member organisations, governments, businesses, researchers, practitioners and those with lived experience. We are focused on an integrated approach to suicide prevention encompassing mental health, social, economic and community factors. We believe that through collaborative effort and shared purpose, we can achieve our vision of a world without suicide.