Universities will be better equipped to intervene early to help prevent the devastating impact of suicide in their communities thanks to a framework released today by Universities Australia and Suicide Prevention Australia.
Suicide Prevention: A Competency Framework for Universities provides a structure that allows for early intervention for staff who may be engaging in suicidal behavior, staff or students with lived experience of suicidal behavior, and students who may be experiencing difficulties or factors that cause significant distress.
Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson said the framework takes into account the roles university staff and students play in responding to the complex risk factors found in universities.
“We know that the devastating impact of suicide on college communities is immediate, traumatic and far-reaching,” Ms. Jackson said.
“And as many return to campus after a period of much uncertainty and disruption, universities understand their responsibility for the health, safety and well-being of the 1.5 million students they educate, as well than their 100,000 employees.”
“We encourage universities to integrate this framework into their existing policies and practices as a crucial step to ensure that everyone who needs help can access a consistent, high quality and safe standard of care.
This framework builds on the longstanding work of universities to support positive mental health in their communities and complements existing partnerships between universities and organizations such as Orygen, headspace and Everymind.
Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Nieves Murray said: “We all have a role to play in suicide prevention. Partnerships like this have the ability to build robust solutions that can make a real difference in the lives of many people.
“Importantly, this approach takes into consideration the roles of non-clinical academic staff and students in responding to the diverse and complex risk factors found in universities.
“Recognizing the warning signs and responding appropriately is an essential part of suicide prevention. We hope that with this framework, we can encourage more universities to facilitate these conversations, reduce stigma, and ultimately reduce deaths by suicide. We can never underestimate the impact that each life lost by suicide has on family, friends, workplaces and the community at large.