Today marks an important milestone in suicide prevention following the release of two key reports. In particular, the recommendation to establishment a National Suicide Prevention Office has the potential to create a major shift in suicide prevention and in turn, save lives.
Suicide Prevention Australia, the national peak body for suicide prevention, is urging Governments across Australia to adopt the findings of two key reports released today: the National Suicide Prevention Adviser’s Interim Advice Report, and the Final Report of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into the Mental Health System.
Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Nieves Murray said, “The National Suicide Prevention Adviser’s report, in particular, is a game changer for suicide prevention in Australia.
“The report recommends setting up a National Suicide Prevention Office, providing a central point of coordination, accountability and oversight for suicide prevention.
“To put it simply, a National Office provides a powerful, single structure responsible to keep Government accountable for driving the suicide rate down.
“Importantly, the National Suicide Prevention Adviser has recommended this structure is supported by real accountability from 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 were pleased to see the National Suicide Prevention Adviser recognise the importance of lived experience of suicide in the design of the report.
“We’d like a clear commitment from Government to involve people with lived experience of suicide in the design, delivery and evaluation of all Government funded suicide prevention programs.
“In line with Suicide Prevention Australia’s National Policy Platform, the National Suicide Prevention Adviser has also recommended a standalone suicide prevention workforce strategy.
“This important initiative must be developed with clear recognition that suicide isn’t merely an outcome of mental ill health, but is often a combination of stressors and key drivers for distress.
“The workforce strategy must involve the entire suicide prevention workforce. This includes people on the frontline of Government agencies, community based organisations and social services as well as those in clinical and formal suicide prevention roles.
“The National Suicide Prevention Adviser and the Productivity Commission are both clear that we need to see a new Intergovernmental Agreement pooling together funding and policy attention for suicide prevention. We’d like to see this Agreement steered through National Cabinet as soon as possible, with clear accountability and funding requirements.
“The recent experience of the National Cabinet’s coordinated effort on COVID-19 has shown that our federated structure shouldn’t be a barrier to Governments working together.
“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.
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.