In November 2015, as part of its response to the National Mental Health Commission Review of mental health programs, the Government announced a renewed approach to suicide prevention through the establishment of a new National Suicide Prevention Strategy. The new Strategy involves:
- a systems-based regional approach to suicide prevention led by Primary Health Networks (PHNs) in partnership with Local Hospital Networks, states and territories, and other local organisations with funding available through a flexible funding pool;
- national leadership and support activity, including whole of population activity and crisis support services;
- refocussed efforts to prevent suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, taking into account the recommendations of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy; and
- joint commitment by the Australian Government and states and territories, including in the context of the Fifth National Mental Health Plan, to prevent suicide and ensure that people who have self-harmed or attempted suicide are given effective follow-up support.
PHNs have been tasked with commissioning regionally appropriate suicide prevention activities and services from 1 July 2016. PHNs will also work with Local Hospital Networks and other local organisations to support better targeting of people as risk of suicide. The regional approach led by PHNs focuses on effective local coordination and management, and allows for community needs and strengths to be recognised.
As part of this role, PHNs will be required to identify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities within their region that may be at high risk of suicide, and liaise with local Indigenous-specific organisations, as well as mainstream service providers at a regional level, to help plan, integrate and target local mental health and suicide prevention funding. It is expected that PHNs will support the implementation of culturally appropriate activity, guided by the goals and actions identified within the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy
Commonwealth investment in national leadership and support activities that focus on population level activity is also continuing. This includes support to anti-stigma and awareness campaigns, crisis support services, and activities that will support regional approaches commissioned by PHNs.
The Living is for Everyone Framework
The Living is for Everyone (LIFE)
Framework sets an overarching evidence based strategic policy framework for suicide prevention in Australia.
This Framework provides support for national action to prevent suicide and promote mental health and resilience across the Australian population. In addition, it provides a practical suite of resources and research finding on how to address the complex issues of suicide and suicide prevention.