Suicide Prevention Australia welcomes the announcement of a bilateral funding agreement between the Commonwealth and Northern Territory Government which unlocks $43 million of essential funding for suicide prevention.
This will deliver much-needed funds to support people following a suicide attempt, those bereaved by suicide and others in distress across the community.
The bilateral agreement forms part of the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement (National Agreement), which has been signed by the Commonwealth, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australian, Tasmanian and Northern Territory governments.
However, with Victoria, Western Australia and ACT not yet signing the agreement, a comprehensive National Agreement is yet to be reached.
Suicide Prevention Australia has called for a National Agreement that delivers a whole-of-government approach, clarifies roles and responsibilities, sets clear and transparent outcomes, and ensures lived experience is at the centre.
Suicide Prevention Australia CEO, Nieves Murray said, “This agreement will funnel critical funding into mental health and suicide prevention support and services at a time when distress in the community is at an all-time high with record demand for services.
“The bilateral agreement between Northern Territory and the Commonwealth is an important step forward. The Northern Territory has the highest suicide rate in Australia and these additional services couldn’t be more important.
“We urge the Commonwealth and the remaining state and territory governments to resolve negotiations without delay.
“There is distress in our community as we emerge from the pandemic and face ongoing natural disasters like the recent floods and bushfires.
“The research shows that two to three years after a disaster are when suicide risks are highest, it’s critical that the National Agreement is in place to support our community at this time.
“We’re seeing progress, but more needs to happen and it needs to happen faster.
“The National Agreement is a major opportunity to put foundations in place to reduce distress across Australia,” said Ms Murray.
headspace CEO, Jason Trethowan said, “The past two years have been particularly tough for young people with events such as the pandemic, and efforts to contain its spread, bushfires, floods and drought continuing to have an impact on their mental health. As a result, we’re seeing more and more young people coming to headspace for support. This agreement will back up front line workers in communities who’ve been working under increasing pressure while continuing to be there for young people presenting to headspace.”
StandBy General Manager, Karen Phillips said, “StandBy welcomes this funding across NT so we can continue to provide postvention services across the state. Postvention is about supporting families, friends, colleagues and others whose risk of suicide is increased by the impact of another individual’s suicide.”
Ms Murray said, “A lot is riding on these important negotiations between the remaining states, territories and the Commonwealth.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver on national, structural and much-needed reform at a time our community needs it most.
“Let’s get it done and get it right, our communities need these services as soon as possible.
“It’s important to remember help is always available no matter who you are or what situation you are in. You do not have to go this alone. If you are feeling distress, please reach out and access the various support services that are available,” said Ms Murray.
The Northern Territory funding includes:
- $15.4 million for two new Head to Health adult mental health satellite clinics and ongoing funding for the Territory’s first Head to Health centre that opened in January this year
- $9.1 million for a new Head to Health Kids Hub to improve access to multidisciplinary team care to children
- $5.7 million to enhance two headspace centres to increase access to multidisciplinary youth mental health services. This means more staff and more resources, to reduce wait times and support more young people
- $9.3 million to establish universal aftercare services, meaning all Territorians who are discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt will receive immediate follow up care. Two trial sites will also be established in the Territory for aftercare services for people who have experienced a suicidal crisis without being admitted to hospital.
- $1.3 million to ensure all people in the Territory who are bereaved or impacted by suicide can access postvention support services.
- $3 million to support for perinatal mental health screening.
To get help 24/7, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, phone 000 for emergency services.
Help to report about suicide safely is available online: Go to https://mindframe.org.au/
Clare Kinsella 0427 689 689 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Amelia Banks 0410 591 134 or email@example.com
About Suicide Prevention Australia
Suicide Prevention Australia is the national peak body and we’ve been providing support for Australia’s suicide prevention sector for more than 25 years. We support and advocate for our members to drive continual improvement in suicide prevention policy, programs and services. Our reach is broad, including member organisations, governments, businesses, researchers, practitioners and those with lived experience. We are focused on an integrated approach to suicide prevention encompassing mental health, social, economic and community factors. We believe that through collaborative effort and shared purpose, we can achieve our vision of a world without suicide.