AUSTRALIA: A New Prevention Program Uses Nine Strategies to Reduce Suicide Rates

August 19, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The Huffington Post Australia

A new evidence-based systems approach to suicide prevention will be rolled out in communities across the Australian state of New South Wales starting in October. Developed by researchers at the Black Dog Institute and the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention to address high national suicide rates, LifeSpan is intended to significantly reduce suicide deaths and attempts. The approach consists of nine strategies that are meant to be implemented simultaneously and tailored to the local context, including: 1) aftercare and crisis care for suicide attempt survivors, 2) psychosocial and pharmacotherapy treatment, 3) training and support for general practitioners, 4) frontline training for ambulance and emergency department workers, 5) gatekeeper training for educators, social workers, and religious leaders, 6) school-based educational programs, 7) community awareness campaigns, 8) media reporting recommendations, and 9) means restriction. Director of the Black Dog Institute Helen Christensen spoke to the multi-pronged, tailored nature of LifeSpan. “One single strategy in and of itself will not be able to contribute enough to trying to make a dent in suicide rates,” she said. “Nevertheless, the strategies remain uniform, it’s just how they are applied in that particular area that have to be adjusted to the nature of the community.”

Spark Extra! Learn more about a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention.