Murray PHN has partnered with the Victorian Government to develop and deliver place-based suicide prevention strategies in Mildura and Benalla – two of 12 sites where the state government is trailing this initiative. It forms part of the Victorian suicide prevention framework 2016-2025 that aims to halve the state’s suicide rate by 2025.
Project officers are working in Mildura and Benalla to coordinate strategies that address local priorities, engaging and consulting with community, looking at data and using an evidence-base as a foundation for decision-making.
Benalla activity highlights
- Established Community Campaign Taskforce and working to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Taskforce
- 32 community members and 60 parents and carers trained in Mental Health First Aid
- 29 people from local football team and the University of the Third Age attended a suicide bereavement awareness workshop
- 109 local tradespeople attended a talk from HALT (Hope Assistance Local Tradies)
- 78 volunteers attended safeTALK training, to better identify when someone may be struggling, by listening to what they say and what they do
- School-based program Live4Life was successfully piloted in Benalla during 2017 and will continue operating with funding from this project for a further 12 months
- Year 8 and 11 students across Benalla have been trained in Teen Mental Health First Aid
- ‘Pathways to Care’ workshop was delivered to local health care providers to improve the confidence of frontline workers to deal with suicidal crisis.
Mildura activity highlights
- Established a project steering committee
- Steering committee members and 50 community leaders, completed Leadership in Complex Systems training to build their understanding of systems and how to create system change
- 75 people attended a suicide bereavement awareness workshop
- 12 people with lived experienced of suicidality explored their lived experience to identify ways in which they can help others
- 102 people who are likely to come into contact with at-risk individuals, attended one of four targeted gatekeeper training sessions to learn influencing skills
- Participating in activities such as ‘R U OK’ day, World Suicide Prevention Day and The Great Vanilla Slice Triumph
- This project is funding a La Trobe and Monash University research project to identify ways for improving emergency and follow-up care for suicidal crisis within the Mildura local government area
- GPs and Practice Nurses attended training in suicide prevention
Inside Mildura's place-based suicide prevention trial at Murray PHN
This video shows some of the great work being done in Mildura as part of the suicide prevention trial to improve local responses to suicide and lay the groundwork for future suicide prevention efforts state-wide.
In August 2018 Murray PHN convened a round table discussion, in conjunction with headspace national office, to enable a more effective response to the issue of youth suicide and self-harm in Wangaratta. The roundtable included participants from health, education, police, ambulance and local government along with other key support agencies in the region. The discussion identified mechanisms to better collate and link data, initiate and coordinate effective responses and provide additional coordination resources to strengthen prevention and education support. As a result of these discussions, Murray PHN and the regional office of the Department of Health and Human Services are working together to replicate notification thresholds and coordination protocols between different agencies across regional areas.
In December 2018, the Federal Government announced $2.7 million funding towards mental health services in Wangaratta. The funding allocation includes $1.5 million for the creation of a new headspace satellite program, and $1.2 million for The Grit and Resilience project, which was developed in Wangaratta with Melbourne University.
Murray PHN has also funded the Central Victorian Primary Care Partnership to develop a local, evidence-based, integrated suicide prevention action plan in Mount Alexander with the aim of reducing suicides, suicide attempts and to improve community capacity to look after themselves and others.
Some of the outcomes of the project include:
- Training a local team of four safeTALK suicide prevention trainers to be able to deliver training in a flexible, affordable way
- Suicide prevention training delivered to 75 per cent of GPs in Mount Alexander
- Two members of Mount Alexander Every Life Matters (ELM) community suicide prevention network trained in safeTALK, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training and Mental Health First Aid. They are now able to offer organisational training suicide prevention packages tailored to different needs and capacities of different staff
- Engagement and relationships built with services providers, frontline and gatekeeper agencies and the community
- The reconvening of the Mount Alexander Suicide Response Group.
- Connect Benalla | community resource card
- Who do I call? | support list
- Sunraysia Mallee, Preventing suicide in our community | community resource card
- Question. Persuade. Refer. (QPR) | online suicide prevention training
- Mindframe | Resources for media and communications professionals, suicide prevention and mental health workers, on how to portray and communicate about suicide, mental ill-health, alcohol and other drugs, including in the media.
- Strength of the collective and the power of place | Overview of the Victorian place-based approach to suicide prevention
- Don't let suicide kill you: nine stories of survival and recovery | available by emailing email@example.com
- Public Health England | Identifying and responding to suicide clusters: A practice resource
There is growing evidence that those exposed to suicide are at an increased risk of subsequent suicide themselves, and that the concept of postvention is ultimately the act of prevention. Postvention can be defined as "the coordination of events during the aftermath of a suicide, with a dual focus on bereavement support and suicide prevention amongst the bereaved and within the wider impacted community."
Under this definition it should be noted that those supported through postvention are not just bereaved family or friends, with support extending to all those whose life is changed because of the loss. This can include, but is not limited to, witnesses, first responders, health care providers, sporting clubs, community groups, employers and work colleagues.
Those bereaved by suicide are themselves at higher risk of a range of ongoing detrimental impacts including, but not limited to, depression, anxiety, alcohol or substance abuse, disruption of family relations and routines, functional impairments in daily activities, and difficulties with relationships. They are also at risk of suicidal ideation and associated at-risk behaviours.
Click the image below to view findings from the Exposure and Impact of Suicide in Australia survey (source: Suicide Prevention Australia)
Practically, postvention support for individuals or impacted groups can be divided into four types:
- Information including leaflets, books, booklets, factsheets, posters and online information (this service level is sufficient for most who experience a normal level of distress following a bereavement)
- Assistance including support services, support groups, self-help groups, helplines, community support, educational support (moderate grief reactions)
- Counselling (severe grief reactions)
- Psychotherapy (mental health and complicated grief reactions).
- Postvention Australia Guidelines | For organisations and individuals providing services to people bereaved by suicide
- Resources for CALD communities in discussing suicide | For professionals discussing suicide with culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Includes information on postvention focused discussions
- Thirrili Trauma, Grief and Postvention | Defines and addresses Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trauma, grief and postvention
- Be You Suicide Postvention Tool Kit | Offers practical guidance on responding to a suicide and managing the impact on a school community
- Standby Support After Suicide | Includes resources to support children and teens after suicide and workplace toolkit
- Lifeline: Standards and guidelines for suicide bereavement support groups
- Conversations Matter when telling a child about a suicide
- What is postvention video
- Managers guide to suicide postvention video
Mitigating the community impact of suicide
Postvention helps to mitigate impacts for individuals and groups affected by suicide, but it also has benefits at a population level. Postvention at a population health level includes activity such as development of support and resources for suicide bereaved (e.g. support groups, online resources, suicide survivor days), awareness raising activities, activities that reduce stigma and encourage help seeking, implementation of professional standards and media guidelines for reporting of suicide. For more information, visit the following links:
- Mindframe national guidelines | For media professionals, and stage and screen
- Conversations Matter | Supports safe and effective community discussions about suicide
- #chatsafe: A young person's guide for communicating safely online about suicide
- Headspace | Remembering a young person: Memorials and important events
- Ambulance (000) If you need urgent help, please call triple zero.
- HeadtoHelp hubs offer clinical advice, referral and wraparound care for Victorians struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Call 1800 595 212.
- Talk it Out provides free professional phone counselling services 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people 15 years and older living or working in the Murray PHN region. Call 1300 022 946.
- Lifeline provides 24-hour crisis counselling, support groups and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14.
- Beyond Blue provides 24/7 support via phone as well as support online, via email or online forums. Call 1300 224 636.
- Suicide Call Back Service provides 24/7 support if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal. Call 1300 659 467.
- headtohealth is an online gateway funded by the Australian Government that can help you find free and low-cost, trusted phone and online mental health resources.
Murray PHN acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government