Australia-wide rapid response system to suicide clusters to be developed

Doug Hendrie

6/12/2018 3:13:19 PM

After a shock rise in deaths by suicide last year, the Federal Government has committed to building a rapid response system to suicide clusters in communities.

Suicides can come in clusters. What can be done?
Suicides can come in clusters. What can be done?

Following this week’s National Suicide Prevention Summit in Canberra, the Government will move to establish a national system for collecting and distributing data to respond to emerging problems.
The move comes after deaths by suicide rose 9.1% last year, claiming the lives of 3128 people.
The Government will also strengthen evidence-based supports in local communities, using Primary Health Networks, and elevate suicide prevention to a whole-of-government issue.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt called this week’s summit in response to the latest suicide data, which he described as ‘deeply concerning’.
‘I have committed to working across portfolios and state and federal governments to ensure that suicide prevention is on everyone’s radar. I will ask COAG [Council of Australian Governments] to make an integrated, whole-of-government approach to suicide prevention a national priority,’ he said.
‘I have also made a commitment to develop a national suicide and self-harm monitoring system to help us deliver more agile and appropriate supports for communities in need.’
Suicide clusters have been shown to occur more commonly among young people than adults, and among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The issue drew national attention in 2015, after it was revealed that 12 young people in south-eastern Melbourne had died by suicide within a year using the same method.
Suicide is the leading cause of death among Australians aged 15–24.
In an effort to reduce suicide clusters, the Government is running the National Suicide Prevention Trial in 12 communities with a higher suicide rate than average, using methods such as school-based education and better care after an attempt is made.
The Government’s trial builds on the Black Dog Institute’s LifeSpan trial in NSW and the ACT, which uses nine evidence-based strategies for reducing suicide and is predicted to prevent one in five deaths from suicide where deployed.

federal government mental health suicide suicide prevention

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