Evaluation of suicide prevention activities

5.7 Strategies and activities

Page last updated: January 2014

Project activities varied widely across the body of NSPP-funded projects. As indicated in Section 5.5 the majority of projects were multi-faceted and it was not uncommon for a single project to operate across a range of target groups and use a number of different interventions. The main activities applied by projects are described below.

5.7.1 Universal approaches

The key activities undertaken by projects engaged in universal approaches include:
  • Public awareness campaigns designed to improve mental health literacy and encourage help-seeking (delivered via a range of channels including print, television, radio and online).
  • Development of media guidelines and resources, and training for media personnel on appropriate reporting of suicide and mental illness.
  • Advocacy and capacity-building approaches to strengthen the suicide prevention sector.
  • Whole-of-school or whole-of-workplace activities such as resilience training or education for parents.
  • Research and evaluation into suicide epidemiology and program effectiveness.

5.7.2 Selective approaches

The key activities undertaken by projects engaged in selective approaches include:
  • Gatekeeper training for people who work (or live) with higher risk groups, to help these gatekeepers identify and respond to individuals at risk of suicide. This included support for health professionals working with people at risk of suicide, provision of educational resources (either print format or online) and face-to-face training.
  • Training and support for personnel responding to suicide or suicide attempts (eg, police or ambulance officers).
  • Postvention support for people and communities that have been bereaved by suicide. This included a range of activities such as support groups, counselling, assistance with funeral arrangements and ongoing follow-up.
  • Community capacity-building or mental health promotion approaches aimed at reducing risk factors for suicide and improving resilience. This included activities to improve social connectedness (eg, community events, support groups, homework clubs), improve resilience (eg, education to improve mental health self-care), and culturally specific activities such as 'back to country' trips.
  • Establishing peer support groups (this activity may be considered selective or indicated, depending on whether high-risk groups are involved, or if individuals identified as being at high risk of suicide are involved).

5.7.3 Indicated approaches

The key activities undertaken by projects engaged in indicated approaches include:
  • Provision of clinical or counselling services (face-to-face, telephone-based or online).
  • Activities to improve the care pathways and support for people at high risk of suicide moving through the health system. This included partnerships between organisations, strengthening discharge and referral protocols.
  • Practical assistance for people following suicide attempts upon discharge from hospital (such as support to manage activities of daily living, assistance to attend appointments, and referral to other services as required).
The formation and maintenance of partnerships or collaborative relationships to strengthen service delivery was an activity undertaken by almost all projects and has not been listed as a separate activity here. Collaboration by projects is examined in Section 5.10.