This week saw the first of our State/Territory Member roundtable meetings hosted by our friends from Macquarie Bank in Adelaide and Perth.
I’ve loved having the chance to sit down and talk with SPA Members face to face. It is my first series of listening meetings since my commencement as Chair. Experiences like this are crucial in informing my Board colleagues and the SPA team when it comes to future work priorities to support you: our Associate, Lived Experience Network and Organisational Members.
We will share a summary of our national Member survey results with you by email on our return from the roundtable meetings but, as we catch up with people from State to Territory, I just wanted to give you a snapshot of what I’ve heard so far.
Our first meeting in Adelaide had a great mix of Members in the room. Did you know the National Suicide Prevention Conference is in Adelaide this year? A quick plug for the fact that early bird registrations are now open!
Now, back to the meeting.
Thank you to everyone who came along to the Adelaide meeting (see picture below of some of the attendees).
In this meeting, we heard a lot of frustration about cross sector barriers when it comes to prevention priorities both in South Australia and nationally. We heard loud and clear from this group, “we don’t need more plans, we need action.” And, beyond that, “we need actions that are built around collaboration. Stop planning in isolation, start planning together and act together.” A strong message to work outside the boundaries of health.
From a lived experience perspective, we also discussed at length the need for more workforce development within the health system. There is a lot of training being introduced around the country but it sounds like this is nowhere near enough. Our health workforce must better understand suicide and suicidal behaviour and ensure this informs work practices.
Over in WA, we spent time in Perth talking again with a great spread of Members ranging from individuals to State based and national organisations. Some of the hot topics in the room included discussion on service delivery, specifically challenges in relation to high risk groups, the unique nature of WA geography and supporting regional and remote communities. We also discussed the contradictions that we still see in funding models. That is, that they are often set up to be competitive instead of collaborative.
Here’s what Fiona Kalaf, Youth Focus CEO, had to say to Sue after the meeting.
Thank you again to everyone I met in Adelaide and Perth. Thank you also to everyone who participated this week as well as to those who couldn’t physically be at the meeting and completed the engagement survey. Your feedback is so important and very much appreciated. Next up, you’ll see me in Brisbane and Darwin next week. Stay tuned for more from the road soon.
Chair, Suicide Prevention Australia
Suicide Prevention Australia remembers those we have lost to suicide and acknowledges the suffering suicide brings when it touches our lives. We are brought together by experience and are unified by hope. Suicide Prevention Australia acknowledges the traditional owners of Country throughout Australia, and their continuing connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to Elders both past and present.