SPA responds to A Contributing Life: the 2012 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

28 November 2012

The release of the National Mental Health Commission’s (NMHC) Report Card yesterday is a valuable step forward for the suicide prevention community. Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) acknowledge and welcome the report, in particular we are pleased to see that suicide prevention has been set as a matter of national priority.

Many key issues raised by the Report Card are high on SPA’s radar as priority areas for the sector. In particular the importance of quality data in making informed evidence-based decisions about where Australia should invest money to save lives. We strongly agree with this finding and are currently leading the National Committee for Standardised Reporting of Suicide (NCSRS) which is working to improve the quality and availability of data on suicides across jurisdictions.

SPA also supports the NMHC in its highlighting the lived experience of those impacted by mental illness throughout the Report Card.  The voices of individuals with lived experience is integral to our efforts to reduce suicide in Australia, and SPA endeavours to incorporate these voices in our activities. One such method of achieving this is our recently established Lived Experience Advisory Committee (more information on LEAC can be found here.

Additionally, the Report Cards focus Indigenous mental health and suicide is also welcomed. SPA supports this and we in particular look forward to seeing the upcoming release of the National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy.

Suicide Prevention Australia supports the NMHC’s focus on implementation (as opposed to more talk and policy) and keeping us honest by including and surveying those with lived experience of mental illness.

We see suicide prevention and mental health in general as requiring a whole community response and as such, we work with government, non-profits organisations, researchers, community members, and many other members of this community, in all of our activities. We will continue to do this, and use the key recommendations and issues raised by the Report Card as a driving force as we work towards our common goal to reduce suicide rates in Australia.