Nearly $90 Million for ‘Journey Toward Zero Suicides’ Strategy

Friday, 19 October 2018

The NSW Government has announced almost $90 million for new suicide prevention initiatives, strengthening communities’ capacity to prevent and respond to suicide.

Member for Davidson Jonathan O’Dea said members of the community will be able to access greater support under the Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention in NSW 2018-2023.   

“Suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 44 years and sadly 880 people lost their lives to suicide last year in NSW. We are committed to tackling this complex issue,” Mr O’Dea said.

The Framework will guide communities to improve service coordination across national, state and local levels, and between NSW Health and areas like education and transport.  

“The tragic loss of life from suicide leaves families and communities devastated. This vital funding and better coordination between the various support providers and agencies will help to ensure no one slips through the cracks,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said. 

Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies said evidence shows integrated, community-led activities are more effective in suicide prevention than standalone activities.

“We expect these initiatives to reduce the number of lives lost to suicide in NSW,” Mrs Davies said.

Communities at high risk of suicide will benefit from eight new or expanded initiatives from next year including:

  • Aftercare services – ensuring all people who have been admitted to hospital following a suicide attempt have access to follow up care and support
  • Emergency Department alternatives – to provide a more suitable alternative for people in crisis, such as designated ‘cafes’ with trained mental health workers at hand
  • Zero Suicides in Care – strengthening practices within the mental health system to eliminate suicide attempts by people in care
  • Expand community mental health outreach teams – to increase capacity to respond to calls to the NSW Mental Health hotline
  • New support services for people bereaved by suicide – to prevent ‘clusters’ of further suicides, especially among young people.
  • Resilience building within local communities – engage communities to participate in suicide prevention, with particular focus on Aboriginal communities
  • Enhance the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program – to provide additional counsellors for people in regional and rural areas
  • Improved collection and distribution of suicide data in NSW

The Framework has been developed by the Mental Health Commission of NSW and the NSW Ministry of Health in collaboration with people with lived experience of a suicide attempt or suicide bereavement, government agencies, mental health organisations and experts in suicide prevention.  

If you or someone you know needs crisis support please call Lifeline 13 11 14, MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78, or Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800. For local mental health services, phone the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.