Pre-Conference Workshops, Monday 22 July 2019

Pre-Conference workshops are all held at the Pullman Melbourne Albert Park, and include morning or afternoon tea, and lunch (if attending both a morning and afternoon workshop). These workshops will run concurrently.

Registration for workshops is essential because places are limited.

These workshops offer a unique opportunity to learn from international and local experts in suicide prevention and they sell out fast!

The 4 Mental Health Connecting with People Approach: From Risk Prediction to Risk Mitigation and Safety Planning

Dr Alys Cole-King
Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist/Clinical Director 4 Mental Health Ltd, United Kingdom

Date: Monday 22 July 2019
Time: 10.30am – 1.30pm
Cost: $175 (inclusive of GST)

Suicide cannot be accurately predicted at the individual level. A paradigm shift is required: from ineffective attempts to predict risk as a means of allocating care (or not to the adoption of a holistic, personalised risk mitigation and safety planning approach. Every episode of self-harm and every suicidal thought needs to be taken seriously and people supported to co-produce a Safety Plan.

Most practitioners possess the right platform of skills, but there may still be a confidence and training gap. The Connecting with People approach promotes two very important processes: assessing and responding safely. This workshop will introduce delegates to the risk mitigation approach, the importance of a common language between people in distress and service providers, the importance of compassion and the value of personalised risk mitigation and safety planning.

Learning Objectives:

  • Deepen understanding of the value of empathy and compassion and their role in suicide prevention;
  • Understand the value of a common language and consistency at times of triage and referral between practitioners or different services;
  • Understand the need for diligent identification and mitigation of risk factors; and
  • Know how to co-produce an immediate Safety Plan.

Conceptual and Methodological Issues in the Study of Minority Stress and Health of LGBT Populations

Dr Ilan H. Meyer
Williams Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy, The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law
Adjunct Professor, Community Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
Professor Emeritus of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health

Date: Monday 22 July 2019
Time: 10.30am – 1.30pm
Cost: $175 (inclusive of GST)

In this workshop, Dr. Meyer will describe the context for the study of health and health disparities in sexual and gender minorities.  The topics covered will include: (a) Theoretical concepts (prejudice and stigma, stress theory) related to the origins of minority stress as a theory as a cause of adverse health outcomes in the context of other theories (biological, socioeconomic); (b) Methodological implications of this perspective, especially the need to distinguish aims for the study of within LGBT populations versus between LGBT and heterosexual/cisgender populations.  The framework for understanding health disparities requires understanding of the principles of minority stress as a cause of differences in health outcomes between populations but sometimes researchers are more interested in understanding patterns of stress and resilience within a population; (c) Understanding stress processes, coping processes, social support and community affiliation, and resilience as predictor, mediator, and moderator factors in the study sexual and gender minorities health; (d) Methodological issues in sampling LGBT populations and measurement of minority stress components; (e) The role of history and the social environment (e.g., lifespan perspective) in understanding health and how social changes currently taking place in many societies should impact the study of minority stress; (f) Understanding intervention and prevention research from the perspective of minority stress—a research area that has lagged behind in the study of minority stress.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe minority stress and it’s unique impact on LGBT health and suicide;
  • Identify subpopulations of sexual and gender minorities;
  • Discuss stressors and resources (resilience) as factors influencing sexual and gender minorities suicide; and
  • Identify loci for interventions sites in the relationship between prejudice and stigma, minority stressors, and health outcomes.

Activating Hope: Strategies for Enhancing Lived Experience of Suicide at Organisations and Systems

Dr Eduardo Vega
CEO & Founder
Los Angeles, California, USA

Date: Monday 22 July 2019
Time: 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Cost: $175 (inclusive of GST)

Activating Hope begins when organisations and people with lived experience join together to meaningfully dialogue and evaluate, to re-think and rebuild, and to create new resources that can save lives. Many organisations with a focus on prevention of suicide already include people with lived experience that can be a resource for improving services, changing the culture and providing leadership in their communities. Yet many questions that arise in taking lived experience to lived expertise within organisations, such as:

  • How do we actively recruit people with lived experience and avoid problems related to HIPPAA, personal confidentiality etc.
  • How can we include the voice of lived experience more actively in leadership and program design?
  • What human resource policies might be adjusted or created to support a workplace wellness culture that is also high performing?
  • How do we manage/consider culture change and program design as it relates to professional licensure, peer specialist positions etc?
  • How can counselors and others share the healing power of lived experience while maintaining excellent listening /therapeutic standards?

The goal of the Activating Hope Organisational Change framework is to foster awareness, build internal motivation and provide practical directions for taking the distinctive value of lived experience to the next level. In addition to lecture introduction of the Activating Hope approach, participants in this experiential workshop will employ a sample Organisational Readiness Self-Assessment instrument to evaluate the current state and possible growth avenues for their organisation or system.

This workshop is best suited to executive or program leadership, positional leaders in government ministry, program managers or support service supervisors.

Conference, 23-25 July 2019

Information coming soon.

Reflection Ceremony

The Reflection Ceremony is a supportive opportunity to consider all aspects of our lives – past and present – surrounded by others who also have a lived experience of suicide. The Reflection Ceremony is included with full registrations, however you will need to indicate your attendance when you register for the Conference.


Each of the international speakers will be complemented by local experts commenting on Australian context.

Eduardo Vega Speaker

Eduardo Vega
CEO & Founder
Los Angeles, California, USA

Eduardo Vega is an international thought leader in mental health, suicide prevention, human rights, and lived experience/peer-led services and research. For over twenty-five years, he has worked in transformative mental health programs and practices as well as technical assistance, research, training and policy in suicide prevention, stigma and discrimination reduction, consumer rights and empowerment, self-help and peer support for mental health consumers.

Vega is the founder and CEO of Humannovations, a social impact organization that provides innovative solutions and training to the health, human services and arts sectors. A person with lived experience of suicide and consumer advocate he helped found the national Destination Dignity! Project, the California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations, the Yale International Lived Experience Leadership Institute and the world’s first through which he founded the first national suicide attempt survivor task force (through the US National Action Alliance on Suicide Prevention). He is also a founding member of the Lived Experience Interest group of the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP).

Vega has presented and trained in Japan, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe, Fiji and Latin America. Eduardo was previously the CEO of Mental Health Association of San Francisco where he founded the Director of the Center for Dignity, Recovery and Empowerment. A former Fulbright Specialist and California State Commissioner for Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability, Vega serves on the Steering Committee of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Global Anti-Stigma Alliance and the Executive Committee of the US National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

For his leadership and work in culturally focused programs, stigma reduction, suicide prevention and systems change he has been recognized by the Office of the White House of President Obama, the State of California, the nation of Fiji, the United States Senate, the United States Surgeon General. He holds an M.A. in Psychology from New School for Social Research.

Complemented by

David Webb Speaker

Dr David Webb

After his own “four years of madness” in the late 1990s, David Webb looked into the literature on suicide and was alarmed to find that the first-person voice of attempt survivors was almost completely absent. Even more absent from the literature was any mention of spirituality, which was the key to David’s recovery and survival. This enquiry became a PhD at Victoria University, completed in 2005, followed by his book “Thinking About Suicide” in 2010.

For more than a decade, David argued, advocated and campaigned for the inclusion of attempt survivors in the public discourse on suicide – in academia, in public discussions on suicide and, importantly, in disability human rights forums. This included time on the board of the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP) and working for the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO). David has represented both these organisations at numerous United Nations disability forums.

David had to retire from active work in 2012 when he was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disorder called scleroderma. This different kind of disability has raised for David the question of euthanasia, another topic that is rarely mentioned in the discussion of suicide.

Alys Cole-King

Dr Alys Cole-King  MB,BCh, DGM, MSc, RCPsych
Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist/Clinical Director 4 Mental Health Ltd, United Kingdom

Dr Alys Cole-King is the first person from the UK to be awarded the Ringel Service Award from the International Association for Suicide Prevention.  She was named one of the most influential women in medicine by the Medical Women’s Journal and has been profiled in the Guardian, Lancet and The Psychiatrist in recognition of work with policy makers, medical royal colleges, people with lived experience, academics and NGOs.

Alys led the development of the Connecting with People Programme and SAFETool (assessment framework to promote consistency and link research to clinical practice).  The training is delivered across sectors: healthcare, education, NGO, community and secure services including across the UK, South Australia, Tasmania, Jersey and Ireland. Alys led the development of StayingSafe.net, an innovative free digital solution to share compassion, hope and equip people to make a Safety Plan.

Alys undertook a yearlong research project using psychological autopsy techniques to investigate patients who attempted suicide or engaged in self-harm whilst under the care of mental health services. A primary author of numerous papers, book chapters, webinars, podcasts and self-help resources on suicide and self-harm prevention, Alys has also contributed to several national and international e-learning modules including for the British Medical Journal.  Alys is a reviewer for several journals and leads international campaigns via social media and works with the media (film, radio and newspapers) to ensure a safe and compassionate public health message of suicide prevention.

Complemented by

Phil Batterham

Associate Professor Phil Batterham
Deputy Head, Centre for Mental Health Research, Research School of Population Health, The Australian National University

Phil Batterham is an Associate Professor and Deputy Head of the Centre for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. He is also a Visiting Fellow at UNSW and the Black Dog Institute. Phil is a research leader in developing more efficient and precise tools to assess suicidality and mental disorders, developing and implementing online programs to prevent suicide and mental health problems, and reducing barriers to help seeking. His work centres around the application of implementation science, advanced statistical methods and emerging technologies to improve the prevention and treatment of suicidal behaviour, depression and anxiety disorders.

Phil was awarded an Early Career Fellowship (2011-13), a Career Development Fellowship-1 (2014-18) and a Career Development Fellowship-2 (2019-22) from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Phil is a Chief Investigator for two NHMRC Centres of Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention, seven NHMRC project grants and three other NHMRC grants. He has published more than 140 peer-reviewed papers and received several prestigious national and international awards.

Ilan Meyer

Dr Ilan H. Meyer, Ph.D.
Williams Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy, The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law
Adjunct Professor, Community Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
Professor Emeritus of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health

Dr. Meyer studies public health issues related to minority health. His areas of research include stress and illness in minority populations, in particular, the relationship of minority status, minority identity, prejudice and discrimination and mental health outcomes in sexual minorities and the intersection of minority stressors related to sexual orientation, race/ethnicity and gender.  In several highly cited papers, Dr. Meyer has developed a model of minority stress that describes the relationship of social stressors and mental disorders and helps to explain LGBT health disparities.  The model has guided his and other investigators’ population research on LGBT health disparities by identifying the mechanisms by which social stressors impact health and describing the harm to LGBT people from prejudice and stigma.  Dr. Meyer is currently Principal Investigator of two important studies, the Generations Study, a U.S. national probability study of stress, identity, health, and health care utilization across three cohorts of sexual minorities (NICHD grant R01HD078526) and TransPop, the first national probability sample of transgender individuals in the U.S. (NICHD grant R01HD090468).

Complemented by

Maree Toombs

Associate Professor Maree Toombs
Director Indigenous Health
Rural Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine
University of Queensland

Associate Professor Maree Toomb’s is the Director of Indigenous Health Teaching/Research Faculty of Medicine, Rural Clinical School and a Children’s Hospital Foundation Early Career Fellow.

Associate Professor Toomb’s is recognised nationally and internationally for her work in Indigenous health perspectives in medicine and her research efforts devoted to improving mental health and wellbeing for Indigenous Australians, in particular managing chronic physical illness and mental health.

Associate Professor Toomb’s has received a number of prestigious awards in recognition of her research excellence, including an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship, a Children’s Hospital Foundation Scholarship (current), Outstanding Alumni of the year and Outstanding Indigenous engagement Alumni of the year (2015 University of Southern Queensland) and a Churchill Fellowship (2014). Associate Professor Toomb’s is the co-author of ‘Indigenous Australians and Health’ published by Oxford Press.

Social Program

Conference Dinner & LiFE Awards

Date: Tuesday 23 July 2019
Time: 7.00pm – 11.00pm
Venue: Grand Ballroom, Pullman Melbourne Albert Park
Cost: Included in Full Registration
Additional Tickets: $135 per person

This evening is the perfect opportunity to get acquainted with other Conference delegates, while being entertained, wined and dined – a night not to be missed!

Networking Function

Date: Wednesday 24 July 2019
Time: 5.00pm – 7.00pm
Venue: Exhibition Space, Pullman Melbourne Albert Park
Cost: Included in Full Registration
Additional Tickets: $70 per person

This function will provide the perfect opportunity for delegates to catch up with colleagues, renew past connections and make new contacts in a relaxed atmosphere.

Ten Pin Bowling

Date: Wednesday 24 July 2019
Time: 7.30pm – 9.30pm
Venue: Strike Bowling QV, 245 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Cost: $35 per person (includes transportation and shoe hire)

Delegates will have the opportunity to participate in Ten Pin Bowling following the Networking Function. A coach will transport delegates from the Conference venue to the bowling alley, and will return to the hotel at the conclusion of the evening. The fee includes transportation, shoe hire and one game of bowling.

Please note that places are limited.

LiFE Awards

Recognising outstanding contributions to suicide prevention in Australia

Sponsored by Lifeline Australia

Presented at the National Suicide Prevention Conference, the annual LiFE Awards recognise excellence in suicide prevention. This prestigious national event attracts nominations from all areas with an interest in suicide prevention from all over Australia, including business, industry, media, community, government, youth, research and medicine. Every year we are overwhelmed with the number of quality nominations received that showcase the exciting, innovative and diverse range of work being undertaken within the field.

Nominees typically range from mainstream programs to local ‘grassroots’ organisations and dedicated individuals. The awards celebrate the commitment and energy of the nominees and their vital contribution to the reduction of suicide within our communities.

Submit your nomination by 22 March 2019 here and read the Information Sheet here.

Submit LiFE Awards Nomination

Each year, in addition to the prestigious LiFE Awards across a number of categories, the Board of Suicide Prevention Australia considers two very special awards—the Leadership Award and the LiFEtime Achievement Award. The Leadership LiFE Award and LiFEtime Achievement Award recipients are proposed to the Suicide Prevention Australia Board by SPA Members and Associates.

Congratulations to all of the 2018 LiFE Award recipients:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander: Babana Aboriginal
  • Emerging / Early Career Researcher: Alison Kennedy
  • Workplace: Huon Aquaculture
  • Media: Dannielle Miller
  • Communities Matter (Individual): Joe Williams
  • Communities Matter (Organisation): Far North Queensland Suicide Prevention Taskforce
  • Leadership Award: Jorgen Gullestrup