Evaluation of suicide prevention activities

1.1 Introduction and background

Page last updated: January 2014

Suicide is a significant public health problem, both in Australia and internationally. Suicide-related behaviour, both fatal and non-fatal, has substantial emotional effects on family, friends, peers, and general community, and from an economic point of view, places a considerable burden on health care resources. Pathways to suicide are often complex and multi-faceted, and prevention strategies therefore encompass a wide range of approaches.

In Australia, the National Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS) provides the platform for national policy on suicide prevention. One component of the NSPS is the Living Is For Everyone (LIFE) Framework which provides the overarching evidence-based strategic policy framework for suicide prevention in Australia. Originally developed in 2000 and updated in 2007, the LIFE Framework outlines the vision, purpose, principles, action areas and proposed outcomes for suicide prevention in Australia. In September 2011 the LIFE Framework was adopted in all jurisdictions as Australia’s overarching suicide prevention framework.

The NSPS is operationalised through the National Suicide Prevention Program (NSPP). This Australian Government program provides funding to a range of projects, including local community-based projects as well as national projects that take a broad population health approach to suicide prevention, including research. Drawing upon the priorities set out in the LIFE Framework, the NSPP funds universal, selective and indicated suicide prevention activities.

The Taking Action to Tackle Suicide (TATS) package was part of the Australian Government’s response to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into Suicide in Australia and was introduced as a 2010 election commitment. The TATS package provides further support for suicide prevention through universal and population-wide approaches and through community-led responses.

The central aim of the NSPP/TATS program is to reduce suicide attempts, the loss of life through suicide and the impact of suicidal behaviour in Australia.

As indicated above, this Evaluation examined activities funded under the NSPP and selected elements of the TATS package, over the period from 2006-07 to 2012-13.