Supporting people who have attempted suicide
15 September 2020
National peak body, Suicide Prevention Australia welcomes the Australian Government’s announcement on World Suicide Prevention Day to invest in vital suicide prevention aftercare services and extend leading national suicide prevention services.
Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Nieves Murray said, “Today’s expansion of the Way Back Support program will mean many more Australians can access the support they need after they’ve gone through a suicidal crisis. It’s great news.
“We know that proactive support after a suicide attempt – or ‘aftercare’ – is a strategy that has a very strong evidence base for driving down suicide rates overall.
“A person surviving a suicide attempt is at heightened risk of a future attempt, especially in the first six months after the attempt was made.
“At Suicide Prevention Australia we hope every Australian who has survived a suicide attempt or has presented to an emergency department in suicidal crisis have this support.
“We hope that today’s announcement will be followed by a commitment to broaden aftercare support to every vulnerable Australian,” said Ms Murray.
Over 10 million Australian adults know someone who has personally died by suicide. That’s half the population. Providing people with proactive support and follow up can reduce additional suicide attempts by up to 20%.
Ms Murray said, “Our emergency departments and other acute care settings are overstretched, with demand for services often exceeding the resources available.
“As we’ve said in our pre-Budget submissions and to the National Suicide Prevention Adviser, the Australian Government should commit to universal aftercare in the 2020-21 Budget and drive it through National Cabinet as soon as possible.
“We also hope the Australian Government tackles the ‘upstream’ situational factors that are linked with distress and suicidality – so that we can protect Australians from reaching the point of crisis.
“As highlighted in our recent white paper, Reducing distress in the community following the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to see Governments across Australia strengthen support to tackle the issues of unemployment, financial distress, issues with drug and alcohol, and social isolation.
“We can never underestimate the impact that every life lost to suicide has on family, friends, workplaces and the broader community. We need to continue shining a light on suicide prevention to help save lives,” said Ms Murray.
To get help 24/7, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, phone 000 for emergency services.
In the Northern Territory, The Way Back support program is delivered through TeamHEALTH. To find out more, please contact us at 1300 780 081