“It’s about focusing on how we can provide answers that meet the needs of the individual rather than a system that is largely ‘you come to us,'” Lourey said.
The recent state budget included $60 million for ‘universal aftercare’, which allows anyone who presents to a hospital, GP or other government service following a suicide attempt to receive systematically follow up. An additional $143 million has been pledged for the government’s goal of Towards Zero Suicide over the next four years, which aims to reduce the suicide rate by 20% by 2023.
Several initiatives are underway, including 18 “Safe Haven” sites across the state, which provide people in suicidal distress with a place to receive help as an alternative to emergency services.
The Youth Aftercare pilot project in Bankstown, Blacktown, Coffs Harbor and Tamworth – locations which have some of the highest rates of suicide and self-harm emergency presentations in NSW – aims to save the lives of children and young people under the age of 25 who have attempted suicide, self-harm or are having suicidal thoughts by putting them in touch with counsellors, social workers, psychologists or psychiatrists, or a support person through the peers with lived experience.
A post-suicide support service offers peer support for people who have lost a loved one to suicide, as well as advice and practical assistance in dealing with police, coroners and funeral arrangements.
More than 1,700 NSW Government staff have received training in compassionate responses to people in crisis, and 6,500 community members have been trained to identify and respond to people with suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
The NSW Mental Health Commission held 70 consultations with lived experience advocates, representatives from government agencies, non-governmental organizations and suicide prevention experts.
The commission will develop a monitoring and reporting plan to hold the government to account on its progress in suicide prevention.
NSW Mental Health Minister Bronnie Taylor said events in recent years required renewed attention to suicide prevention efforts.
“If we have gained anything from the immense challenges of recent years, this is an opportunity to adapt – and we must continue to do so in the way we approach suicide and work with those at risk,” said Taylor said.
If you, or someone you know, are thinking about suicide or experiencing a personal crisis or distress, please seek help immediately by calling 000 or one of these services:
safety rope 13 11 14
Suicide Reminder Service 1300 659 467
NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511
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