In 2017-18 Suicide Prevention Australia celebrated our 25th year. We’re proud to have supported and collaborated with Members, and advocated for a world without suicide for a quarter of a century. 2017-18 was a time for re-energisation and renewal.
During the year we readied our organisation for a new phase in suicide prevention. A period of increased Government investment, through the $12 million National Suicide Prevention Research Fund, and strategic focus, through the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.
We farewelled outgoing Chair, Director Murray Bleach and CEO, Sue Murray, finding new ways for them to continue to make a valued contribution to suicide prevention in Australia. I was honoured to be appointed to the role of Chair in November 2017 and to welcome Nieves Murray as our new CEO in May 2018.
As we reflect on and review our year, I’m proud that we worked towards our purpose, delivering national leadership for the meaningful reduction of suicides in Australia; in accordance with our values, Integrity, Inclusivity, Respect, Collaboration and Innovation.
Delivering national leadership in suicide prevention is a team effort. I’d like to acknowledge everyone who contributed to our work in 2017-18; my fellow Directors, our SPA leadership team and employees, our Members (Organisational, Associate, Suicide Prevention Action Network and Lived Experience Network), our Patron, Ambassadors and Community Champions, and everyone who volunteered, fundraised, donated, or supported us in other ways. Thank you.
We look forward to continuing to work together in 2018-19 towards our shared vision of a world without suicide.
Chair of Suicide Prevention Australia
Our Year at a Glance
Our Annual Operating Plan 2017-18 aligns our work to deliver national leadership for the meaningful reduction of suicides in Australia under four Strategic Pillars:
- Thought Leadership
- Knowledge Transfer
- Stakeholder Engagement
- Strengthen Capacity.
This framework underpinned our work during the year to support and collaborate with Members, and advocate on behalf of all Australians to achieve our Strategic Outcome; Suicide prevention that is high quality, focused and collaborative. In 2017-18 we delivered results commensurate with our stated Measures of Success.
We successfully advocated for increased sector funding, influenced national suicide prevention policies, and represented Members on key issues.
We hosted the annual National Suicide Prevention Conference, launched The Suicide Prevention Hub and prepared to administer grants through the National Suicide Prevention Research Fund.
We also increased Primary Health Network engagement in suicide prevention, renewed and grew Memberships, and reduced our reliance on Government funding.
Much of this work was completed under the oversight of former CEO Sue Murray and Acting CEO / Deputy CEO Kim Borrowdale. I’d like to extend my personal thanks to both Sue and Kim for their professionalism and passion in carrying out the vision of the Board during the first 10 months of the reporting year.
Since joining SPA in May 2018 we have continued to build on the good work of the past, while positioning the organisation for greater effectiveness and improved Member-focus. In June 2018 the Board approved an organisational restructure to better align the organisation to deliver on its three Objects:
- Prevent suicide by supporting Members to build a stronger suicide prevention sector.
- Develop collaborative partnerships to raise community awareness and undertake public education on the issues relating to suicide and suicide prevention.
- Advocate for a better policy and funding environment for suicide prevention.
Looking forward we have a big mountain to climb. More Australians died by suicide in 2017 than in 2016, and we are naturally questioning why? As we see increased investment in suicide prevention initiatives, we will strive to support the sector to drive a meaningful reduction in suicide by facilitating effective collaboration, coordination and service design.
In the coming year we will aim to be a guiding light for quality in suicide prevention, through The Suicide Prevention Hub and National Conference, and to be a strong advocate for holistic policies leading into the 2019 Federal Election. In addition, we will seek to better engage with State Governments and support Local Governments to access the requisite service and human infrastructure to support resilience at an individual and a community level.
We consider that people with lived experience are critical to informing policy development, program and system design and will continue to engage with people who have lived experience to inform our work.
In reporting our performance in 2017-18 I’d like to acknowledge all those who lost their lives or were impacted by suicide during that time. It’s for you that we come to work each day, resolute in our purpose and inspired by our vision for a world without suicide.
CEO Suicide Prevention Australia
Advocate for a systemic approach to reducing suicide
Develop a national strategic framework for the suicide prevention sector
Advocate with all governments for the right policy settings and investment in suicide prevention
Build the commitment of influencers in support of suicide prevention
13% of Members not satisfied with representation and advocacy
SPA’s new Director, Policy, Advocacy and Government Relations will drive improvements to Member representation and advocacy in 2018-19
Champion excellence in suicide prevention
Enhance skills and knowledge through education and information sharing
Promote wisdom and expertise of people with lived experience
Develop a quality improvement program
Manage Suicide Prevention Research Fund (SPRF)
SPRF grants not distributed due to timing
Distribution of two SPRF grant programs is on track for completion in 2018-19
Foster collaborative strategic partnerships
Provide opportunities to collaborate for change and impact
Facilitate collaboration between researchers, service providers and lived experience
Enhance engagement with Members and PHNs
30% of Members want more engagement with SPA
SPA’s new Director, Membership and Community Engagement will drive improvements to Member engagement in 2018-19
Build a sustainable and capable organisation
Grow breadth and depth of membership
Develop diverse sources of funding
Utilise technology and infrastructure to respond to Member needs
Build capability of Board and staff