More support for suicide prevention programmes for Darwin

Joint Media Release with Minister for Health The Hon Greg Hunt MP

The Coalition Government is extending a ground-breaking suicide prevention trial by a further year with a national $13 million investment to ensure local communities have more time to trial services and report on what works.

The National Suicide Prevention Trial is based in 12 locations across Australia, including Darwin and will now run until 30 June 2020.

Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion, said the selected locations have a higher than average suicide rate and this major trial aims to provide tailored support services relevant to each individual community.

“Each year around 3000 Australians take their lives and the suicide rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is around twice that of non-Indigenous people” Senator Scullion said.

“These statistics are unacceptable and we will continue to do all we can to reverse them.”

Health Minister Greg Hunt said preventing suicide is a complex problem and a one-size-fits-all strategy for dealing with the challenge may not be the best approach. This is exactly what this prevention trial is all about.

“We recognise that the causes of suicide and the resources needed to prevent it will vary from town to town, and from region to region.” Minister Hunt said.

“The resources needed to tackle suicide in a regional farming community in drought may be very different to the resources needed to tackle suicide in inner city Melbourne.”

“The communities involved in these trials told us they wanted more time to trial services aimed at preventing suicide.”

Each trial site, including in Darwin will receive an extra $1 million, with mental health experts from the Black Dog Institute and the University of Melbourne also receiving additional funding to support the implementation and evaluation of the trial.

Senator Scullion said in the short term, the Top End will continue to benefit from better resources and services.

“Over the longer term, the findings of trial sites will be used in developing future responses to suicide prevention across Australia” Senator Scullion said.

The National Suicide Prevention Trial was launched 2016 with 12 sites, with funding of $36 million.

The Australia-wide program is administered by Primary Health Networks based in Darwin, the Kimberley, Western NSW, Mid-West Western Australia, Brisbane North, North Coast NSW, North Western Melbourne, Perth South, Northern Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast and Central Queensland, Tasmania and Country South Australia

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said only last week, the Turnbull Government increased mental health funding by $338.1 million in the 2018-19 Budget, boosting support for suicide prevention, research and programs for older Australians.

“One life lost to suicide is an enormous tragedy and we are committed to tackling this issue by investing in research, programs and services that will provide help and hope for those in need.” Minister Hunt said.

**For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Other services include the Suicide Call Back Service :1300 659 467, Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636, Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800, MensLine  Australia: 1300 789 978**