Texts help to target suicide risk
A TEXT message could be used as a follow-up treatment for those struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
The SMS SOS project will be trialled at Blacktown, Westmead and Nepean hospitals over two years.
The trial comes on the back of new Australian Bureau of Statistics figures that revealed 3027 Australians took their lives in 2015 – a 5.4 per cent increase on 2014.
Chairman of beyondblue Jeff Kennett said the staggering number was a “national disgrace”. “The 2015 total is 2½ times the national road toll and six times the number of Australian lives lost in the Vietnam War,” he said.
Western Sydney Local Health District mental health director Beth Kotze said there were about 230 presentations each year at Mt Druitt Hospital for suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts.
“This is one of the lowest rates of self-harm presentations to emergency departments in the state,” she said.
Ms Kotze said the SMS SOS project aimed to provide more immediate communication, especially with young people who present at hospital with suicidal thoughts or self-harm tendencies. “The project builds on earlier work ... which showed promising results when people were contacted by postcard after attending the ED,” she said.
The theme of the October Mental Health Month is Learn and Grow.