Suicide Prevention Australia announces leadership team tasked with driving sector reform

20 July 2017

National leadership body Suicide Prevention Australia has today announced a senior leadership team tasked with reforming the very sector they serve.

National Coalition for Suicide Prevention Chair Matthew Tukaki said “This is not reform for reform’s sake – it is reform to make it easier for members of our own communities to readily identify and access the help and support they need. We should do everything we can to make it easier, simpler and more transparent for the people and not for ourselves.”

“The challenge for any sector is the self-recognition that it is time for reform. In many cases reform occurs as a government-led initiative stemming from a change in policy or a systemic failure to meet specified needs. When this happens, the sector is required to respond to measures that come from above, often with little or minimal consultation. As a group, we recognise that to achieve policy outcomes, structural reform for the sector is needed.”

Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Sue Murray welcomes this next step, saying “To meet future challenges we need to be innovative, adaptable, self-sustaining and financially viable. To reduce suicide rates in our communities, homes and workplaces the planning and delivery of evidence-based services and research needs to improve. We must have those hard and honest conversations as senior leaders within the sector about the things we need to do or focus on that will, in turn, have a meaningful impact on lowering the suicide rate.”

Reforms under examination include workforce development and capacity building, potential consolidation of the sector, funding and the procurement of services, partnering and a more collaborative approach when it comes to public messaging and campaigns. The leadership group will meet within the next month and report to the National Coalition for Suicide Prevention on a short, medium and long term agenda.

Alongside members of the SPA Board, Lived Experience Network and SPA Ambassador Professor Tom Calma AO, among those invited to make up the leadership group include senior decision makers from organisations such as yourtown, United Synergies, ConNetica Consulting, ReachOut Australia, Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health and Lifeline Australia.

About the National Coalition for Suicide Prevention focus on sector reform

  • At the June 2017 meeting of the National Coalition for Suicide Prevention members agreed that to continue our path towards the reduction of suicide rates in Australia, we need to put forward and discuss the need for reform within the sector itself. The discussion arose because of the response to the upcoming Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan by way of a series of fora held across the nation in the lead up to the Coalition meeting held in Sydney.
  • Initially the focus of our joint response was on the policy side and what needed to be contained within the “Plan”. However, during the meeting it was also mooted that to achieve policy outcomes, the need for structural reform of the sector was identified.
  • A senior leadership group of the Coalition was formed to look at the reforms necessary covering amongst other things workforce development and capacity building, potential consolidation of the sector, funding and the procurement of services, partnering and a more collaborative approach when it comes to public messaging and campaigns.
  • Suicide Prevention Australia will facilitate wider consultation and communication resulting from discussions and decisions within this group.

The strategic framework for suicide prevention: Complementary activity on the policy settings for an improved approach to suicide prevention are also in train, building on the consultation undertaken around the country from February to May; this work will deliver a strategic framework to Government who have committed to producing a national suicide prevention strategy in the upcoming Fifth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, due later this year.