Suicide Prevention Australia notes National Cabinet’s in-principle endorsement of the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement (National Agreement).
Today’s announcement signals that these important negotiations are progressing and are due to be finalised by early 2022.
The National Agreement is a major opportunity to put foundations in place to prevent suicide right across Australia.
Suicide Prevention Australia CEO, Nieves Murray said, “A lot is riding on the negotiations between the Commonwealth and the states and territories.
“We need a National Agreement that adopts a whole-of-government approach, transparently drives better outcomes and has lived experience at its core.
“On behalf of the sector, we have been meeting with all jurisdictions to help inform and progress these negotiations.
“People with lived experience are uniquely placed to inform how we can support people through a crisis.
“Important funding for aftercare and postvention is subject to this agreement and it’s essential those services flow to our community as soon as possible.
“A person surviving a suicide attempt is at heightened risk of a future attempt, especially in the first six months after the attempt was made. Providing people with proactive support and follow up can reduce additional suicide attempts by up to 20%.
“Research has demonstrated that people bereaved or impacted by suicide are at an increased risk of suicide and therefore investment in postvention is essential.
StandBy Support After Suicide is Australia’s national postvention service supporting people who are bereaved or impacted by suicide.
StandBy General Manager, Karen Phillips said, “Postvention is about supporting families, friends, colleagues and others whose risk of suicide is increased by the impact of another individual’s suicide.
“StandBy has been extensively evaluated with consistent results. Within 12 months after the loss, people who have received support from StandBy reported significantly lower levels of suicidality and loneliness than people bereaved by suicide who did not access support.
“Research consistently found that StandBy plays an important role in preventing further suicides amongst people bereaved by suicide,” said Ms Phillips.
Some of the programs announced in the May Federal Budget are dependent on these negotiations.
Ms Murray said, “Suicide risks don’t differentiate between Commonwealth-State jurisdictions, so we need a National Agreement that clearly outlines shared outcomes and clear responsibilities.
“The research shows that the 2-3 years after a disaster are when suicide risks are highest, it’s critical that we have a new Agreement in place to support our community at this time.
“Today’s announcement is a step forward but there’s still much to be done to put in place the system and structures needed.
“The upcoming Agreement is a major opportunity to put in place the foundations needed to prevent suicide across Australia.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver on national, structural and much-needed reform at a time our community needs it most,” said Ms Murray.
The funding that is dependent on successful National Agreement negotiations include:
- $158.6 million for universal aftercare services for every Australian discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt. Aftercare services provide follow-up care in the immediate months after a suicidal crisis or attempt, and support individuals to seek appropriate help when they need it most.
- This also includes $9.8 million to trial broader referral pathways for anyone who has attempted suicide or experienced suicidal distress that may not have gone to a hospital.
- $22.0 million to provide national suicide postvention services which help those bereaved or impacted by suicide, including families, friends, workplaces, schools, community groups, frontline responders and witnesses.
- $31.2 million to pilot a National Distress Intervention program which will reach people in crisis and provide immediate support. This investment also includes:
- $6.6 million to implement national standards for Safe Spaces services
- $2.1 million to expand the Roses in the Ocean CARE connect service.
Ms Murray said, “It’s important to remember that every statistic represents a life lost that has a cascading impact among families, friends, colleagues and community groups. Every life lost to suicide is heartbreaking.
“Help is always available no matter who you are or what situation you are in. You do not have to go this alone. If you are feeling distress, please reach out and access the various support services that are available,” 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.
Help to report about suicide safely is available online: Go to https://mindframe.org.au/
Clare Kinsella 0427 689 689 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Amelia Banks 0410 591 134 or email@example.com