Evaluation of suicide prevention activities

13.5 Positioning the NSPP in Australia's suicide prevention efforts

Page last updated: January 2014

The NSPP represents one component within a complex range of suicide prevention activities in Australia. While it is outside the scope of this evaluation to map these in detail, a desktop review of two initiatives was undertaken, namely the ATAPS Suicide Prevention service initiative and the MindMatters initiative. ATAPS provides consumers with access to evidence-based psychological services delivered by allied health professionals, and is administered by Medicare Locals. MindMatters was a national mental health promotion initiative for secondary schools that addressed some of the risk and protective factors for suicide. A review of previous evaluation reports for these two initiatives found that:

  • The ATAPS Suicide Prevention service initiative is an appropriate and effective suicide prevention intervention. The efficiency of the program has not been established due to a lack of data.
  • MindMatters had high levels of uptake and acceptance across Australian schools and appears to be an appropriate intervention. The evaluation reports produced to date (from 2006 to 2012) do not address the effectiveness or efficiency of the program.
Through interviews, stakeholders expressed a range of views regarding the positioning of the NSPP in Australia's suicide prevention efforts. The following findings emerged:
  • People working in the suicide prevention sector held mixed and sometimes confused views of what the NSPP is. Many did not see the NSPP as a distinct component of the Australian Government's activity around suicide prevention, and several confused the NSPP with the NSPS or the LIFE Framework.
  • Communication and direction from the Australian Government were seen as key factors that limited the extent to which the NSPP was integrated with other suicide prevention activities in Australia.
  • Some stakeholders argued that currently, suicide prevention is too strongly linked to a mental health agenda, at the expense of a broader social determinants approach.
  • Stakeholders felt that most of the NSPP-funded projects would not be able to continue in the absence of specific NSPP funding, and that the impact of this would be felt by service users at the local level.
  • Stakeholders stressed the importance of a strong and continuing Australian Government commitment to suicide prevention.
  • The concept of setting a national suicide reduction target was raised by several stakeholders. Details of what this target should be or how it should be set were not specified.