Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Proposed Suicide Prevention Network for NSW

The number of suicides in NSW might potentially be reduced by as much as 20%, if all strategies known to be effective were implemented simultaneously, said NSW Mental Health Commissioner, John Feneley, today.

"There is abundant evidence about what works to prevent suicide, but it is often patchily implemented," Mr Feneley said. "By combining these proven strategies within an overarching systems approach, we believe we may have a chance to amplify their effect and make a dramatic difference to the number of lives lost."

Mr Feneley was commenting on the launch of the Proposed Suicide Prevention Framework for NSW, developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council's Centre of Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention with the Black Dog Institute.

The researchers, led by Professor Helen Christensen, identified 9 strategies that could be applied in parallel at a local or regional level to reduce the number of completed suicides. They are:

  1. Reducing access to lethal means
  2. Responsible reporting of suicide by the media
  3. Promotion of national suicide awareness programs
  4. School-based peer support and mental health literacy
  5. Gatekeeper training for those like to be in contact with high risk individuals, including teachers, clergy, and community social workers
  6. Regular suicide prevention training for emergency services
  7. Training GPs to assess risk and start conversations
  8. Adequate access to tailored evidence-based therapies such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) to high risk groups
  9. Targeted support for people who have made a previous attempt or are in current crisis through phone and online counselling, training for emergency department staff and out-patient support.

The Proposed Framework,responds to a key Action (3.4.2) within Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024, adopted as the Government's mental health reform policy in December 2014.

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