Working together to prevent suicide and self-harm
Last month Murray Primary Healthcare Network (PHN) in conjunction with headspace national office convened a round table discussion 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 co-ordinate effective responses and provide additional co-ordination resources to strengthen prevention and education support.
Additionally as a direct consequence 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 co-ordination protocols between different agencies across regional areas.
There is evidence that shows working with local communities to develop and deliver community-driven suicide prevention plans that address local priorities and build on existing services and supports can help to reduce the rates of suicide, reduce the number of suicide attempts, improve individual resilience and wellbeing and improve systems to prevent suicide in an ongoing way.
In Australia, almost eight people die by suicide every day. Annually more than 2800 people take their own lives, 65,000 attempt suicide and thousands more consider it.
Murray PHN CEO, Matt Jones, said mental health, including suicide prevention, is a key priority for Murray PHN across the region and it aligns with our goals of ensuring people get the right care, in the right place, at the right time.
“We know that suicide is more than just a mental health issue – it’s a community one. It affects so many people, including families, friends, colleagues and the communities of those who have taken their own lives or attempted suicide,” Mr Jones said.
“We recognise the significant efforts being made by families, professionals, schools and other services in the Wangaratta community in their best effort to understand suicide, identify those at most risk and support people to seek and access help.”
“Together we can further understand the complexities of suicide and coordinate actions that build on empirical and emerging evidence to reduce unacceptable rates of suicide.”
“Raising awareness of mental health services and support services is important to help build a resilient community.”
“Next week will feature both World Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK? Day in Australia which provides a timely reminder about work that needs to be done in this area to support individuals and communities,” he said.
Raising awareness of mental health services and support services is important to help build a resilient community. - MATT JONES, MURRAY PRIMARY HEALTHCARE NETWORK CEO
MAKING A STAND: Inspector Kerrie Hicks, Wangaratta Local Area Commander, and Jaime Chubb, Director Community Wellbeing at the Rural City of Wangaratta, are part of the Rural City of Wangaratta Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Community Campaign.