Mental health and suicide prevention sector update, December 2021

Posted 14th December 2021 in Sector update

The Life in Mind team has collated the latest news and updates from the suicide prevention sector, and details them below in no particular order.

NSW Ministry of Health website launches new section dedicated to Towards Zero Suicides

The NSW Ministry of Health's website now includes a new section dedicated to Towards Zero Suicides. To learn more about the 15 suicide prevention initiatives being delivered across the State, as well as latest news, developments and support available.

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia launches Beyond Urgent strategy

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia’s new Beyond Urgent: National LGBTIQ+ Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Strategy 2021-26 was launched last month as a call-to-action.

Zed Tintor, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, states “This Strategy recognises that meaningful improvements require action by all governments across Australia, partnerships between all parts of the health sector, and effort across multiple other sectors including education, employment, social services, housing and justice."

Roses in the Ocean releases key documents to advance work on the National Safe Spaces Network

This week, Roses in the Ocean is pleased to release two key documents to support the ongoing evolution of the National Safe Spaces Network:

The proposed National Safe Spaces Network is a 5-tiered model, with Tiers 4 & 5 based on the long-established Safe Haven Cafes and Maytree House in the UK respectively, offering people experiencing suicidal thoughts or suicidal crisis genuine alternatives, options and choice for care. The Network aims to provide options that appeal to many in the community who do not wish to engage in what is currently available.

First proposed to the Commonwealth Government in 2019 by a consortium of organisations led by Roses in the Ocean, the first phase of the project was undertaken in 2020 with Phase 2 funded in the most recent Budget.

Roses in the Ocean has codesigned 20+ safe spaces in Australia since 2019, and has learnt a lot from people with a lived experience of suicide. In turn, these people have been empowered to speak up more specifically about what they want. The change they wish to see has evolved even further from the initial proposal to wanting purely non-clinical options.

LiFE Award Nominations Now Open

In 2022 Suicide Prevention Australia will be celebrating the 19th Annual LiFE Awards recognising excellence in suicide prevention, with the organisation now calling for nominations in the following award categories: Communities in Action; Outstanding Contribution; Priority Populations; and Workplace.

This prestigious national event attracts diverse nominations with an interest in suicide prevention and support of those affected by suicide across Australia.

Boys Do Cry campaign challenges masculine norms to support men’s mental health

A nationwide men’s mental health and suicide prevention campaign launched last month challenges traditional societal views and aims to educate men that it’s ok to reach out for support when they’re doing it tough. Titled 'Boys Do Cry', the campaign includes videos, posters, outdoor advertising, radio ads and a campaign website encouraging men to reach out for support rather than keep negative feelings to themselves, with the tag line ‘When the going gets tough, get talking’.

The campaign was developed by advertising agency The Hallway, in partnership with Gotcha4Life, Heiress Films, UnLtd, and research partners The University of Melbourne’s Centre for Mental Health as part of their Buoy Project, and Everymind.

Professor Jane Pirkis, who leads The University of Melbourne Centre of Mental Health, explained: "Qualities like being stoic and solving problems for yourself are fantastic in lots of circumstances, but I think some of those qualities do sometimes mean that if men aren't travelling so well, then they're less likely to reach out for help. Our work is challenging some of these traditional masculine norms and looking at whether this may help to bring down the male suicide rate.”

South Australia passes Australian-first Suicide Prevention Law

A Suicide Prevention Bill, the first of its kind in an Australian jurisdiction, has recently passed in the South Australian Parliament, building on the Marshall Liberal Government’s strong record on suicide prevention.

The nation-leading legislation establishes a Suicide Prevention Council as a statutory body and builds on the work of the Premier’s Council on Suicide Prevention.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said he was proud to be part of a Government that has introduced and passed legislation that will help take our suicide prevention efforts to the next level.

The Indigenous Suicide Prevention Forum 2022

The Australian Indigenous Psychologist's Association (AIPA) and event partner Aventedge will host the 2022 Indigenous Suicide Prevention Forum from 1 to 3 March 2022.

Hosted in Meeanjin/Brisbane, the agenda is set to be culturally safe, relevant, and engaging with visitors able to look forward to hearing from Indigenous suicide prevention counsellors, community workers, researchers, and cultural healers about ways to build practical programs and skills to help First Nations Australians experiencing mental distress.

Launch of National Lived Experience Peer Workforce Development Guidelines

Launched by the National Mental Health Commission (the Commission) on 1 December 2021, the National Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Development Guidelines were developed to inform decision makers of the benefits of the Lived Experience workforce, and to support change across the mental health sector by improving understanding. The Guidelines also aim to support employers to assess their local readiness and prioritise activities that support successful implementation.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said lived experience is central to our reform plan and is a vital part of the mental health workforce, explaining: “These guidelines will have an enduring, positive impact on how we work with people who experience mental ill-health.”

SANE Australia launches new art program to support people with mental health issues

The Dax Centre, SANE Australia’s arts centre in Victoria, has recently launched the Studio Dax program to enable those living with mental health issues, psychological trauma or neurodiversity the opportunity to participate in art workshops, work towards an exhibition or sell their art at the Centre.

Founded in 2012,The Dax Centre’s mission is to advance the understanding of mental health issues and reduce stigma through ART.  The program will offer creative expression and social connection for 35 beginner or accomplished artists, and builds on a wealth of Australian and international research which shows that art and creativity can increase social inclusion and mental wellbeing and decrease anxiety and depression.

Minister for Creative Industries, Mr Danny Pearson MP, said: “Studio Dax will allow people living with mental health issues to build their artistic skills and practice, learn from accomplished mentors, develop new connections, and showcase and sell their work.”

Superfriend releases 2021 Indicators of a Thriving Workplace Report and EOI for new Thriving Workplace Index Tool

Each year, Superfriend collects data to measure and track the current state of workplace mental health across Australia, and has recently released their 2021 National Report. This year’s report includes exploration of the impact of COVID-19 on workplace mental health, productivity and change management. View the report here.

Organisations can also register their interest to be the first to use SuperFriend’s new workplace mental health tool. Any workplace can use this online tool to assess the mental health of their workplace, and provides a great way to assess organisation progress alongside the National Communications Charter.

Country SA PHN releases National Suicide Prevention Trial evaluation findings

In 2017 Country South Australia Primary Health Network (PHN) was announced as one of 12 National Suicide Prevention Trial sites by the Commonwealth Government. The trial aimed to gather evidence from the PHNs in relation to suicide prevention activities in regional Australia, and to understand what strategies are most effective in preventing suicide for at-risk populations.

The Country SA PHN (CSAPHN) trial combined nine strategies into one community-led approach incorporating health, education, frontline services, business and the community.

New resources to support mental health professionals working with young people from multicultural backgrounds

Orygen has recently developed a suite of online resources to support mental health workers to deliver culturally sensitive care to young people from multicultural backgrounds.
Orygen peer researcher Phuong Nguyen was involved in the development of the resources and culturally sensitive care is linked with positive treatment outcomes.

“When a young person of colour feels like a mental health session aligns with their cultural needs, there is a greater possibility that they will receive better outcomes and greater trust after receiving the service.”

The resources include:

  • ‘Culture 101’ clinical practice points introducing a definition for culture with some practical considerations;
  • ‘Lets Talk’ podcast exploring the relationship between culture, mental wellbeing and service provision through engaging interviews with young people and staff in the sector;
  • Videos, fact sheets and a webinar for multicultural families about supporting a young person accessing mental health care;
  • A toolkit to assist in engaging young people from multicultural backgrounds in service design, delivery and evaluation, including some case examples and practical considerations
Subscribe to eNews

Keep up to date and sign up to the Life in Mind eNews, sharing some of the latest news and research in mental health and suicide prevention.