At a major address to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), Beyond Blue Chair the Hon. Julia Gillard AC urged substantial, ambitious and fundamental reform to prevent suicide.
Suicide Prevention Australia supports this call and the need for long-term, whole-of-government reform in the upcoming National Agreement on mental health and suicide prevention slated for November.
Suicide Prevention Australia CEO, Nieves Murray said, “This National Agreement is a major opportunity to put in place the foundations needed to prevent suicide across Australia. 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.
“We’ve seen landmark reviews from the Prime Minister’s National Suicide Prevention Advisor and the Productivity Commission as well as important investments from the Commonwealth, States and Territories. The National Agreement can build on this progress and put in place the structure and system needed to turn the trend towards zero suicides,” said Ms Murray.
During her address, Ms Gillard called for the upcoming agreement to embody three key principles:
- Whole-of-government: a national, whole-of-government approach and system where roles and responsibilities of all governments are clear and where data and funding flows are agreed and linked to clear objectives.
- Transparency: prioritising transparency, linking data back to shared national outcomes and stand-alone, statutory authority for the National Mental Health Commission.
- Embedding lived experience: a compassionate system that works for and is co-designed by the people who use it, reform must centre the experiences of people living with mental illness or suicidal distress and embed consumer and carer voices in governance structures.
Ms Gillard also urged a strategic approach that prioritises prevention, early intervention and recovery, drives workforce innovation and diversity, and charts a plan for long-term spending that is jointly planned across Governments and is rigorously tracked and monitored.
“We strongly support a National Agreement that adopts a whole-of-government approach, transparently drives better outcomes and has lived and living experience at its centre,” said Ms Murray.
“We’ve welcomed Commonwealth funding announced in the 2021 Budget. Much of this funding is subject to a new Agreement and it’s critical these major investments in prevention and postvention are delivered to those who need it in our community as soon as possible. However, it’s also important a new Agreement brings strategic, structural, and long-term reform.”
Suicide Prevention Australia also backed calls for the business community to urge mental health and suicide prevention reform in the workplace.
“We all have a role in suicide prevention, business can support its employees to identify and respond to suicide risk but can also play a role as leaders in our community and championing this national priority”, said Ms Murray.
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.
Amelia Banks | firstname.lastname@example.org | 0410 591 134
Help to report about suicide safely is available online: Go to www.mindframe-media.info
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