SPA CEO on the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan

16 October 2017

Read the media release and download a copy of the Plan and accompanying Implementation Plan.

As the peak body, we have encouraged our Members and networks to actively participate in the Fifth National Mental Health Plan consultation process to assist Government in developing the best possible Plan for implementation specific to our shared expertise in suicide prevention. We are committed to making our collective expertise available over the long term and working in partnership with the Government, Mental Health Australia and others to turn the devastating trend of suicide in this country.

We have seen unprecedented political support for suicide prevention this year, most notably consultation on the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan. We welcome suicide prevention being recognised as a key pillar in the plan and remain steadfast in our commitment to community sector and lived experience voices across the country being heard when it comes to implementation. It is particularly pleasing to see recognition of the need to bring other portfolio areas, not just health, into the discussion and implementation of the Plan. 

It is disappointing, however, that suicide prevention does not largely feature to any degree in other relevant priorities, such as Priority Area 6 Reducing stigma and discrimination, Priority Area 7 Making safety and quality central to mental health service delivery, and Priority Area 8 Ensuring the enablers of effective system performance and system improvement are in place.

Suicide Prevention Australia will be providing the Government with a 2025 Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention, developed by the community sector through State based consultations, to support implementation of the Fifth Plan and the development of a National Suicide Prevention Implementation Strategy to ensure the depth and diversity needed to address the complex social problem of suicide is included.

It is essential that suicide prevention remains core to reform of the health, mental health and other related services and portfolios. We must also keep the person at the centre of every change being discussed as part of this reform. We must listen to lived experience of mental health and suicidal behaviours, and make meaningful use of this experience in implementation plans.

It is the responsibility of us all to inspire financial and emotional investment in this Fifth Plan. For the many and diverse stakeholders, key to delivering a long-term vision of life promotion, is having an inspirational, innovative plan to drive implementation.

Sue Murray, CEO