Effective suicide prevention strategies

Suicide is a public health issue that affects individuals, families, workplaces and communities across Australia.

Strategies that have proven to be effective in reducing suicides include:
  • reducing access to the means of suicide
  • ensuring media coverage of suicide is safe and responsible
  • introducing policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol
  • improving early identification and access to treatment and referral pathways for people at risk of suicide and those with mental and substance use disorders and chronic pain
  • training of non-specialised health and community 'gatekeeper' workers to identify and support people at risk of suicide
  • follow-up care for people who have attempted suicide, as well as provision of community support
  • postvention interventions to support individuals and communities bereaved or impacted by suicide.

These efforts must be comprehensive and integrated, as no single approach alone will reduce suicide at the rates required. Life in Mind provides a platform for knowledge exchange surrounding suicide prevention, as well as sector leadership through collaboration and engagement.

Research suggests that multi-modal interventions are most effective, for example; education programs for community members combined with gatekeeper training and enhanced treatment and referral pathways. This is consistent with current approaches (such as LifeSpan) being trialled in Australia.

Effective programs and services for suicide prevention in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Suicide prevention in other priority populations

  • Specific populations experience higher rates of suicidal behaviour than the general population. Read about priority populations for information about complex suicide prevention needs and strategies for these communities.

Suicide prevention strategies

  • The national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention strategy has an early intervention focus that works to build strong communities through more community-focused and integrated approaches to suicide prevention, and commits the government to genuinely engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to develop local, culturally-appropriate strategies to identify and respond to those most at risk within our communities.
  • World Health Organisation (WHO) - preventing suicide: a global imperative recognises suicide as a public health priority. This report aims to increase the awareness of the public health significance of suicide and suicide attempts, and to make suicide prevention a high priority on the global public health agenda. It also encourages countries to develop or strengthen comprehensive suicide prevention strategies in a multisectoral public health approach.