Special Edition SPA eNews: Election wrap up and National Suicide Prevention Conference

23 July 2016

READ the Special Edition SPA eNews: Election wrap up and National Suicide Prevention Conference.

The SPA team is in final preparation mode for the National Suicide Prevention Conference, starting this weekend in Canberra.
We are delighted to be welcoming more than 400 delegates to share local and international suicide prevention lessons and challenges.
Below I have included a link to the program app and social media information so those not able to attend can join the conversation and browse the full program. For every download of the app, the developers will kindly be supporting SPA with a $1 donation.
Now, to the 2016 Federal election. It's been a long election campaign and vote counting period but now it is finally over we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the election campaign and highlight our achievements.
Alongside our members, colleagues and friends we worked tirelessly in public and in the halls of Parliament to ensure that every party, every MP, and every parliamentary candidate understood just why suicide prevention is so important, and what they should do about it.
What we achieved
This federal election all major party election policies and plans included suicide prevention.
The incoming Coalition Government made election promises amounting to $192m for suicide prevention and mental health. Here’s a quick reminder of the key commitments relating to suicide prevention (more details available on our Federal Election webpage):

  • Commitment to a new National Suicide Prevention Strategy including funding for national leadership and support activities, anti-stigma and awareness campaigns and crisis support services
  • Focus on integrating services at the local level including through effective post-discharge follow up
  • Acknowledgement of the need to refocus efforts to prevent suicide in Indigenous communities
  • $12M to establish a fund for targeted suicide prevention research, as suggested in the National Research Action Plan for Suicide Prevention
  • Commitment to funding 12 regional suicide prevention trials in regional, rural and remote areas, as suggested in the National Mental Health Commission's Review
  • Will trial new digital technologies to provide 24/7 support and data, including investment into Synergy project to advance technology capability and support for a Crisis Text service design and trial led by SPA member Lifeline
  • National Mental Health Commission reprising its role as the independent statutory authority.

How SPA helped make that happen

In June 2016, we wrote over 750 letters to all parties and candidates with actions they could take to ensure election promises translate into sustainable change in Government and community. We were staggered by the number of responses we received from candidates in relation to their personal commitment to suicide prevention and, in many cases, personal experiences

We published an Election Manifesto for Suicide Prevention setting out essential first steps required to provide leadership and commitment to help people stay alive. This was downloaded in its hundreds and shared in the community, through the media and social media and sent direct to candidates
On our Federal Election webpage we summarised key statements from major parties as well as those of our members and colleagues
To assist all of you voting in the election, we published a one page snapshot of how the major parties have responded to our key asks – View snapshot.

We have already taken the next step

On the 11th July we wrote to re-elected Prime Minister Turnbull congratulating him on his appointment. In our letter we advocated for machinery of government changes as well as implementation of suicide prevention election commitments. We have also asked that clarity be given as to the timing of a call for expressions of interest for suicide prevention projects to provide national infrastructure and leadership.
Earlier this week the Prime Minister announced his new Cabinet with Minister Sussan Ley retaining the Health portfolio. We look forward to continuing to work with Minister Ley and her team to ensure they deliver on government's election promises and take ongoing action to reduce suicide.
What we learned

It is always valuable to pause and reflect on the lessons to be taken from our activities. A couple of key lessons we see are:

  • There is a groundswell of support for suicide prevention among our politicians and the community. This was reflected in the prominence of suicide prevention in the major parties campaigns as well as the level of media attention captured during this busy period. We need to leverage this groundswell and continue to drive for significant improvements to reduce suicide.
  • We need to develop our public campaign earlier and keep you informed along the way. While our behind the scenes work talking to the major parties about election asks started at least a year ago, we could have done better at keeping all our members informed along the way about our plans. When we improved our communication with you during the official public campaign we achieved better results and received less phone calls asking when SPA was going to start campaigning!
  • We get a better response when we speak as a united voice. We received feedback from politicians that they appreciate hearing a clear, concise call from the sector about what is required to improve suicide prevention. Within the sector, organisations were more likely to reinforce and share messages when they were well briefed and understood how they could play a part.

Thank you
We wanted to take this opportunity to thank our members for taking part in our election advocacy. By working together, we made a positive difference that will contribute to a meaningful reduction in suicide.
See you at the Conference!
Best wishes,
Sue and the SPA Team

Media Contact: kimb@suicidepreventionaust.org

2016 National Suicide Prevention Conference
Download the Program via the program app
The Conference kicks off in Canberra this weekend with a number of workshops with our international experts and a Performance and Panel discussion open to the general public.
From Monday through to Wednesday, we have an amazing line up of speakers including a range of Indigenous and cultural leaders to health professionals and researchers.
We are honoured to welcome those with lived experience of suicide to ensure people remain at the centre of everything we do in suicide prevention. A special welcome to our bursary recipients, particularly those attending from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders communities from across Australia thanks to our Hike 2 Halve Suicides trekking team.
Join the conversation using #NSPC16