The Northern Territory Primary Health Network (NT PHN) helps meet the needs and priorities of Territorians to improve health outcomes in primary health care. Suicide Prevention at the NT PHN is dedicated to commissioning targeted suicide prevention activities and approaches for groups identified as having a heightened risk of suicide. Recently the NT PHN has been involved in innovative approaches to suicide prevention that includes both joint and whole of government approaches that can now more broadly influence planning, design, co-design, community, and stakeholder engagement to ensure best outcomes from promising and culturally appropriate practices to commissioning of services.
An integral part of the NT PHN’s role in suicide prevention is to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who are at heightened risk of suicide and to support the implementation of culturally based suicide prevention activities. Our work is guided by the goals and actions of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy and the culturally secure service models and programs needed to reduce this disparity.
When the Greater Darwin region was chosen as one of two Indigenous-only sites to be part of the National Suicide Prevention Trial, the NT PHN led the Darwin trial in partnership with the local Aboriginal community-controlled organisation. The Darwin site engaged the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to inform and lead the design of a systems-based approach to suicide prevention. This is known as the Strengthening Our Spirits model. Strengthening Our Spirits represents an Aboriginal way of knowing; it is based on the elements of fire, land, air and water. It is a systems-based approach to suicide prevention, meaning it considers the many people, systems and processes which need to work together to help prevent suicide.
Building on the success of the National Suicide Prevention Trial, the NT PHN has recently recruited a Strategic and Planning Lead for Suicide Prevention. The purpose of the Suicide Prevention Lead will take primary responsibility for coordination and integration of early intervention and suicide prevention activities across regional stakeholders and service providers. Specifically, the Suicide Prevention Lead will be commissioning services and population level supports to improve mental health outcomes in the region and communities of interest.
Currently, the NT PHN is working closely in partnership with the Northern Territory Department of Health’s Mental Health and Suicide Prevention team and the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT), to develop a Northern Territory joint regional suicide prevention plan that will see joint commissioning of services for improved coordinated responses to suicide prevention. Although a work in progress, the plan is expected to be endorsed and available by late 2023.
Learn more: www.ntphn.org.au