Learn about suicide prevention policy and advocacy in Australia

Reducing distress in the community following the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is a watershed event in the history of Australia and the world: challenging our public health systems and experts, and bringing unprecedented shifts in our global economy, society and how we live as families and individuals. Australia has, however, emerged from the pandemic much stronger than most.

We are uniquely placed to rebuild our economy and society more rapidly than many other countries around the world. The Australian Government, in partnership with private and not-for-profit sectors, can now proactively set in place the foundations necessary for a healthy and flourishing Australian society. The National Mental Health and Pandemic Response Plan has sent a strong signal that the Australian Government intends to embark on this effort. However, we are signalling policymakers to consider the underlying factors that bring distress in our community.


Submission on the National Suicide Prevention Adviser’s Initial Findings

In January this year, the National Suicide Prevention Adviser released her initial findings and recommendations to the Prime Minister. The initial findings identified six key priority areas for the next phase of her work. We developed our submission concerning key issues, gaps and solutions within these priority areas in consultation with many of you, our members.


Impact of COVID-19 on the sector: survey report

Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is having far-reaching impacts on millions of Australians, and Suicide Prevention Australia is looking to support the suicide prevention sector and the communities they work with. In mid-April, Suicide Prevention Australia launched a survey to help inform the National Suicide Prevention Adviser about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on program and service delivery within the sector. The goal was to gather intelligence to inform the national response as well as provide an opportunity to identify ways to build sector capacity during this challenging period.


Proposal to the National Suicide Prevention Adviser: Measures for a national mental health package

Suicide Prevention Australia has developed principles to guide the national response to, and recovery effort from COVID-19. These principles are adapted from the General Principles of Suicide Prevention adopted by Suicide Prevention Australia in early 2020.


Turning the Tide: a six point plan for change

Our vision at Suicide Prevention Australia is a world without suicide. We can only achieve this vision by addressing the root causes of distress, and this requires a collective effort from everyone in the Australian community.

On World Suicide Prevention Day 2019 we published our Turning Points white paper, highlighting the gig economy, rising consumer debt and relationships as areas of emerging risk. We then embarked on an intensive program of consultation with consumer groups, industry, people with lived experience and the suicide prevention sector to present six solutions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly shifted the social and economic landscape in Australia. It's now even more important for Government, employers, and the broader community to consider the solutions we're proposing.

Our solutions for change, co-designed with people from across the community, will help turn the tide on distress and build a well, happy Australia for years to come.


Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health

The Productivity Commission Inquiry into the Mental Health system presents an unmissable opportunity for reform.

Taken together, the Commission’s Inquiry, the Commonwealth Government’s ‘Towards Zero’ ambition for suicide rates in Australia, the appointment of a National Suicide Prevention Adviser and the Mental Health Royal Commission in Victoria constitute a watershed moment for suicide prevention. The critical task for us as a nation and community is to take advantage of this opportunity and reshape the system to drive down Australia’s suicide rate.

Suicide Prevention Australia developed this submission in response to the Draft Report released by the Productivity Commission Inquiry. We are confident the measures we have proposed in this submission will help shape the Final Report into a prime tool for Government and the sector to make real progress on a Toward Zero suicide rate.

Together, we can achieve a world without suicide.


Our Policy Positions

Suicide Prevention Australia has developed a set of policy positions, in line with our National Policy Platform.

Thank you to the members who provided input and feedback on the policy positions.

Read our full statements by clicking below.

Read our policy positions

Turning Points: Imagine a world without suicide

This white paper is a pivotal piece of work that Suicide Prevention Australia developed with KPMG. Turning Points: Imagine a world without suicide examines the emerging trends in housing, finance, employment and relationships and their likely effect on Australians in the coming decade.

The better we can proactively predict what economic and social risks are around the corner, the better we can prepare Australians ahead of time and prevent suicide rates increasing.

The white paper highlights that more needs to be done to uncover the extent of suicide prevention service provision outside the traditional health and human service sectors, such as the finance and service industries. A key takeout and immediate priority for the suicide prevention sector is to investigate and understand how to best support vulnerable people before reaching crisis point.

The white paper stresses that the time to take action about suicide prevention is now. It predicts that 1300 more deaths by suicide per year will occur by 2030 if the worsening rates of the last decade (2010s) continue.


National Policy Platform

Suicide Prevention Australia works to create a better policy and funding environment for suicide prevention in Australia. To achieve this, we develop and implement policy positions on key sector issues. We do this in consultation with Members, people with lived experience of suicide, our Board, the guidance of the SPA Policy Committee, and key government and sector stakeholders.

As the national peak body we're committed to driving continual improvement in suicide prevention policy to achieve better outcomes for all Australians.

Launched in April 2019, SPA’s National Policy Platform advocates for immediate changes to government policy architecture.
Better cross-portfolio coordination is essential to address the social, economic, health, occupational, cultural and environmental factors involved in suicide prevention.
We are also calling for improvement in the collection and management of reliable data and a comprehensive suicide prevention workforce strategy.
The National Policy Platform outlines solutions to effectively and sustainably support suicide prevention in Australia.

Suicide Prevention Australia's National Policy Platform can be viewed here.

Our Advocacy

One of SPA's three Objects is to "Advocate for a better policy and funding environment for suicide prevention". We do this in a number of ways:

  • Responding to government consultation papers, and parliamentary and other inquiries.
  • Representing SPA Members on key government and sector committees.
  • Building and nurturing relationships with key government and sector stakeholders to effectively engage them in suicide prevention.
  • Increasing public awareness and understanding of suicide prevention as a priority public health concern.

You can help advocate for a better policy and funding environment for suicide prevention in Australia:

  • Become a SPA Member or Associate
  • Follow SPA on social media to keep informed of our campaigns
  • Talk safely about suicide prevention with your networks

By working together, we can achieve our shared vision of a world without suicide.

Join SPA Now