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A New National Approach on Suicide Prevention

10 Sep 2021
Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, the Morrison Government is recognising this year’s theme of ‘Creating Hope Through Action’ by establishing the Australian National Suicide Prevention Office to lead a national mission to reduce the prevalence and impact of suicide in Australia.

World Suicide Prevention Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of suicide and to promote action that will reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts. ‘Creating Hope Through Action’ is a reminder that there are actions that we can take that may provide hope to those who are feeling overwhelmed.

The Government is leading this work through record investment in, and concerted structural reform of, the national approach to suicide prevention. In a first for Australia, the new National Suicide Prevention Office will have the capability to work across all governments and sectors to drive a nationally consistent and integrated approach to reducing suicide rates.

Working as part of the National Mental Health Commission, the Office will take a comprehensive approach to cover policy implementation, investment, data collection, research and workforce reform.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the Morrison Government is providing $12.8 million to create the National Suicide Prevention Office, as part of the commitment to prevent suicide and support Australians who have been affected by suicide.

“The creation of the National Suicide Prevention Office recognises that everyone plays a role in suicide prevention and that a collective national effort is required,” Minister Hunt said.

“The Office will be a significant step forward in the efforts to reduce suicide by helping to build capacity to address the social determinants that play a role in suicide, working to reduce fragmentation and duplication of efforts across governments, supporting better data collection and sharing, providing advice on research priorities and knowledge translation, and – critically - improving the ability of our system to deliver evidence-based compassion-focused suicide prevention interventions.”

National Suicide Prevention Adviser to the Prime Minister and National Mental Health Commission CEO, Christine Morgan, said it has long been the hope and ambition of many Australian advocates and those with a lived experience of suicide to have a comprehensive national approach to suicide prevention.

“We are committed to the clarion call made for a more connected and compassionate approach to suicide prevention which takes support to people – where they are when they experience distress.”

Establishing the Office is among recommendations and priority actions of the National Suicide Prevention Adviser’s Final Advice report, all of which were accepted by the Government.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman MP, said the establishment of Australia’s first National Suicide Prevention Office to coincide with the annual World Suicide Prevention Day was a key part of the Government’s ongoing work to transform the mental health and suicide prevention system and ensure that it delivers high quality, person-centred care to all Australians.

“Our Government has made mental health a national priority, investing an unprecedented $2.3 billion in the 2021-22 Budget for the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, bringing the annual investment in mental health and suicide prevention services and support to a record $6.5 billion in 2021-22.”

Some of the Government’s key investments through the 2021-22 Budget include:

  • a further $158.6 million to provide universal access to aftercare services which provide non-clinical follow up and support to Australians following a suicide attempt or suicidal crisis;
  • $22 million to provide national postvention services to ensure those bereaved or impacted by suicide have access to support;
  • $31.2 million to directly help people experiencing psychological distress, including establishing a national distress intervention trial, implementing national standards for Safe Spaces services, and expanding the Roses in the Ocean CARE connect service; and
  • an additional $61.6 million for the National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program which delivers whole of population suicide prevention activities and services.

“This is delivering vital support for those experiencing a suicidal crisis or those bereaved by suicide. It is life-saving care for people when they need it most,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.

“But, each and every one of us can play a role in suicide prevention. We can all create hope for someone by reaching out and showing that we care, and I encourage all Australians to take the opportunity today to do so.”

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health (www.headtohealth.gov.au).

If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone who is considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available at 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.