At the 23 November 2009 MHSC meeting, members agreed to the establishment of a working group comprised of jurisdictional members of the MHSC or their representatives to progress Action Items 12 and 13 of the Fourth Plan related to suicide prevention. This group convened for the first time on 5 February 2010 in Canberra. The group is jointly Chaired by the MHSC Chair, and the Assistant Secretary, Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Programs Branch, Department of Health and Ageing. This Working Group has met on four occasions – 5 February 2010, 7 May 2010, 4 August 2010 and 22 December 2010.
At its December 2010 meeting, the NSPWG agreed to revise its terms of reference in order to better share best practice information and improve consistency and coordination taking into account health reform and mental health and suicide prevention initiatives.
Fourth national mental health plan implementation activity
Action 12: Provide education about mental health and suicide prevention to front line workers in emergency, welfare and associated sectors and Activity to date of the NSPWG has focused on the progression of Actions 12 & 13 of the Fourth Plan. In November 2010, MHSC members endorsed the establishment of the Living is For Everyone (LIFE) Framework as the national framework for suicide prevention to promote consistency of suicide prevention activity across jurisdictions. This decision will progress through to AHMAC for endorsement in early 2011.
Action 13: Coordinate state, territory and Commonwealth suicide prevention activities through a nationally agreed suicide prevention framework
The Australian Government has also announced the $274 million Mental Health: Taking action to tackle suicide package which includes:
- $115 m to boost frontline services and provide more services to those at greatest risk of suicide, including psychology and psychiatry services and non-clinical support to assist people with severe mental illness and carers with day-to-day needs
- $74.5 m in direct suicide prevention and crisis intervention, including counselling services, training for frontline community workers in suicide awareness, securing suicide 'hotspots', and supporting communities, including school communities, affected by suicide
- $23.2 m to provide more services and support to men who are at greatest risk of suicide, including through beyondblue to assist up to 30,000 additional men each year and
- $61.3 m to promote good mental health and resilience in young people to prevent suicide later in life.