The Final Advice of the National Suicide Prevention Adviser, announced today, paves the way for a clear roadmap for reform.
In particular, the recommendation to establishment a National Suicide Prevention Office has the potential to create a significant enhancement of suicide prevention and in turn, save lives.
Suicide Prevention Australia, the national peak body for suicide prevention, is urging Governments across Australia to use the findings of the report to drive down suicide rates.
Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Nieves Murray said, “The Final Report of the National Suicide Prevention Adviser has the potential to be a game changer for suicide prevention in Australia.
“Immediate uptake of the key recommendations is critical to enable real reform that will save lives.
“The report recommends setting up a National Suicide Prevention Office, providing a central point of coordination, accountability and oversight for suicide prevention.
“Importantly, the National Suicide Prevention Adviser has recommended this structure is supported by thorough accountability for Ministers, with every Minister responsible for suicide prevention and the Prime Minister taking a leading role.
“The mechanics of setting up the right structure for suicide prevention are vitally important, but not as important as recognising that every suicide is the loss of a human life. Suicide prevention has to be about the people who have died by suicide, people who struggle with suicidality each and every day, and those who care for them.
“It’s heartbreaking to know that over 3,000 people died by suicide last year and we can never underestimate the impact that every life lost to suicide has on family, friends, workplaces and the broader community.
“We should also acknowledge that more than 65,000 people attempt suicide each year, and keep in mind that many Australians live with the ongoing struggle of suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
“We were pleased to see the National Suicide Prevention Adviser recognise the importance of lived experience of suicide in the design of the report.
“The report’s focus on incorporating the knowledge of people with lived experience; workforce and community capability building; and collecting data and evidence to drive outcomes is aligned with our reform agenda.
“We will continue to advocate for smart and achievable suicide prevention solutions in consultation with our members so that we can shift the suicide rate down,” said Ms Murray.
In addition, last week the Select Committee on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Interim Report was released, with the final report due in November 2021.
“While we welcome this committee’s mandate to inquire into the capacity of the mental health workforce to respond to events, such as the 2019 bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic, we will advocate that this should not delay action on recommendations announced today,” said Ms Murray.
The Final Advice of the National Suicide Prevention Adviser consists of three reports building on the Initial Findings submitted in November 2019 and the Interim Advice submitted in August 2020.
- This first report captures the voices of over 3,000 people with lived experience of suicide, particularly those who have survived suicide attempts or lived with suicidal distress.
Connected and Compassionate
- This second report details eight recommendations and actions for driving change across Australia.
Shifting the Focus
- The third report gives a model for operationalising a comprehensive whole-of-government approach to suicide prevention, including a decision-making tool to be used by government portfolios to identify targeted distress reduction initiatives.
The full report can be found here: https://www.health.gov.au/committees-and-groups/prime-ministers-national-suicide-prevention-adviser-and-taskforce