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The consumer and carer perspective

Priority Area 2: Effective suicide prevention

The Fifth Plan states the following will be different for consumers and carers:

  • • If you are at risk of suicide, you will have timely access to support and be clear about which services in your area are responsible for providing you care and support.
  • • Services will actively follow-up with you if you are at higher risk of suicide, including after a suicide attempt.
  • • There will be improved postvention support for carers, families and communities affected by suicide.

Most consumers and carers are aware of support services available to those at risk of suicide, but fewer people are aware of active follow-up care for people who had attempted suicide or services that are available for carers, families and communities affected by suicide.

To reduce the possibility of respondents experiencing distress while completing the Consumer and Carer Survey, the survey does not include any direct questions about having access to support when at risk of suicide or when affected by suicide. The Consumer and Carer Survey used questions around awareness of available supports as an indirect measure of progress in this area.

Almost 3 out of 4 (71% in 2020 and 73% in 2019; Figure PA2) consumer and carer respondents were aware of support services available for people at risk of suicide. Fewer people were aware of active follow-up care for people at risk of suicide, or who had attempted suicide (37% in 2020 and 36% in 2019) or services that were available for carers, families and communities affected by suicide (30% in 2020 and 25% in 2019). It is not clear from the survey results whether the relatively low awareness of active follow-up services and supports for people affected by suicide is a result of low service visibility and availability in respondents’ local areas, or whether respondents have not previously needed these services.

Respondents were not asked about their experience of needing or having access to suicide prevention support. However, 16% of carer respondents who opted to provide additional information in this priority area, indicated that they received little or no formal support for their role as a carer before or after the person they cared for attempted suicide. Given the impact that caring for a person at risk of suicide can have on the carer’s wellbeing and the important role carers play in the ongoing care and safety of the person they care for, this is an area that warrants further attention.

Figure PA2: Awareness of suicide-related support services, by type of service, 2019 and 2020

Sideways bar chart showing 2019 and 2020 data for the proportion of consumers and carers who were aware of services available for carers, families and communities affected by suicide (25% in 2019, 30% in 2020); aware of services that provide active follow-up for people at risk of suicide, or who had attempted suicide (36% in 2019, 37% in 2020); aware of support for people who are at risk of suicide (73% in 2019, 71% in 2020)

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Acknowledgement of Country

The Commission acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands throughout Australia.
We pay our respects to their clans, and to the elders, past present and emerging, and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.


The Commission is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services. The Commission welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lived Experience

We acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and suicide, and those who love, have loved and care for them. Each person’s journey is unique and a valued contribution to Australia’s commitment to mental health suicide prevention systems reform.