Perth South community determines critical suicide prevention priorities

Representing 34 organisations and community groups, 53 passionate people came together in Mandurah united by a common goal; reducing the rate of suicide in their community.

A Mid-Implementation Review for the Australian Government’s Peel, Rockingham and Kwinana Suicide Prevention Trial was called to celebrate the achievements of the Trial so far, reflect on learnings and to develop recommendations as a community going forward.

“Since the Trial began in 2017 we have seen involvement from 57 different agencies, organisations and community groups,” WA Primary Health Alliance Project Coordinator for the Suicide Prevention Trial, Chloé Merna said.

“This Trial has a strong focus on community level planning. The community know what their greatest needs are and their dedication has allowed us to develop tailored activities suited to the area.”

This includes activities such as:

  • Community and GP capacity building through training such as ASIST, safeTALK, Youth Mental Health First Aid and LGBTI+ training for mental health professionals.
  • The development of a Community Postvention Response plan enabling local services and agencies to respond to critical incidents within 24 to 48 hours, providing immediate wrap-around support to families, friends and the community.
  • Consultation with Orygen, the National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health to develop and launch a Coping with Self-Harm Resource for parents and carers.
  • Running the campaign aimed at helping young people to understand depression, identify symptoms and seek support.
  • Events for young people run through community organisations and local Alliances Against Depression such as a visit from professional athlete Joe Williams to the Shire of Murray and The Outrigger / Waka Ama program run by Te Urupu Indigenous Community Development Inc.

The National Suicide Prevention Trials aim to recognise the complexity of suicide and to identify the unique needs of different priority populations which do not come without challenges.

“The Trial has allowed us to test new and innovative ways of doing things to find the best approach for this specific community rather than a one-size-fits-all model. We do this by testing and learning from the challenges that we face,” Ms Merna said.

“For example, the Peel, Rockingham and Kwinana Trial is the only Trial site specifically focusing on young people. This has posed its own unique set of challenges such as how to appropriately access and train young people around the sensitive topic of suicide, in a safe and supported way.”

The Mid-Implementation Review was an opportunity to discuss these learnings as a community and to develop a set of key priorities and recommendations not only for the remaining 10 months of the Trial, but also for the area once the Trial has ended.

These recommendations will form part of an ongoing evaluation by The University of Melbourne for the 12 Trial sites across Australia. Upon conclusion of the Trial this evaluation hopes to inform best-practice around suicide prevention.

To learn more about the National Suicide Prevention Trial, and activities in the Peel, Rockingham and Kwinana region, visit our website.