Implementation of the National Suicide Prevention Trial

Objective 12.1:

Improve and integrate suicide prevention responses on a systems-wide basis in Brisbane North

Action 12.1.1:

Continue implementation, delivery, monitoring and evaluation of initiatives and services funded through the National Suicide Prevention Trial

Summary of activity

The National Suicide Prevention Trial aims to contribute to evidence of how a systems-based approach to suicide prevention is best undertaken at a regional level, enabling greater and more targeted response to local needs and at-risk populations. The Brisbane North trial site identified the priority populations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, the LGBTIQ+ community and young to middle aged men for targeted intervention, in addition to the funding of a whole of population approach where this is the most efficient and effective way of reaching the priority population groups.

Co-design of trial initiatives has been a key highlight of Trial activity and has occurred through the establishment of two community implementation teams comprised of stakeholders from two of the priority population groups – the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and the LGBTIQ+ community.

Key achievements

Delivery of Emergency and Follow-Up Care

Kurbingui Youth Development Association has delivered holistic, culturally safe, wrap-around care to more than 50 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families impacted by suicide.

Centre for Human Potential, in conjunction with Queensland AIDS Council and Open Doors Youth Service has delivered a combination of clinical and non-clinical support to people from LGBTIQ+ communities impacted by suicide.  The care has been tailored to meet the needs of the individual and has been integrated alongside a range of other services to support the person’s recovery. 

Most clients transition from receiving both clinical and non-clinical support at the outset, to actively engaging in group work in an ongoing capacity.  This has a profound impact in reducing isolation and thoughts of suicide particularly for young people who have also been impacted by stigma and discrimination.

Development and Delivery of Communication Campaigns

Social media communications campaigns are a focus of suicide prevention strategies globally. With the potential for social media campaigns to reach a wide audience, it is incumbent upon developers to ensure messaging is produced in a safe and appropriate manner and this has been the priority for each of the three campaigns produced as part of the Trial.

  • Yarns Heal, developed by Indigilez and gar’ban’djee’lum aims to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the LGBTIQ+ Sistergirl and Brotherboy community to better support one another and strengthen peer support systems so help can be sought in a culturally safe way that nurtures cultural healing, love and hope
  • Talking Heals, developed by Queensland AIDS Council, encourages conversation in the LGBTIQ+ Sistergirl and Brotherboy community
  • Reasons to Stay, developed by New Word Order in conjunction with the Brisbane North Suicide Prevention Network, aims to reach the entire community and encourages a person at risk to reach out and seek help, or to reach out and help someone in need.

Delivery of advanced suicide prevention training

Targeting practitioners who work regularly in a therapeutic or counselling context with people who are experiencing suicidality, this training aimed to increase the knowledge and skills of professionals to improve the quality of treatment services they provide for people at risk of suicide.  Eighty-nine health professionals attended the three training sessions and positive and significant changes in knowledge and perceived capability regarding suicide risk assessment were seen.

Delivery of Frontline Worker and Connector Training

Frontline workers can play an important role in supporting a person at risk of suicide to safety and make them more likely to access the care they need. As such, under the National Suicide Prevention Trial, 140 frontline workers and connectors in the LGTBIQ+ community have been trained in ASIST training. In addition, a further 14 young people and 12 LGBTIQ+ identified people trained in ASIST Training for Trainers, ensuring they are appropriately skilled to conduct ASIST training and share the message of suicide prevention more widely in the community.

Promoting Resilience in Schools

Schools are aware that their young people can be particularly vulnerable to mental health problems or suicide and are keen to support their students. However, navigating their way through the options available to support schools can be challenging.  To address the increased need in the Brisbane North Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and the LGBTIQ+ Sistergirl and Brotherboy community, culturally appropriate suicide prevention programs have been rolled out in schools with the additional aim of building capacity for LGBTIQ+, Sistergirl and Brotherboy awareness.

Key learnings

Authentic co-design has been a key factor in the success of the National Suicide Prevention Trial in Brisbane North. Allowing sufficient time for the development of cultural safety and processes was crucial to ensure ownership and commitment to the Trial initiatives by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and LGBTIQ+ communities.  Ensuring a whole-of-population approach that has enabled the reaching of the target populations through alternative strategies has been surprisingly effective, particularly in maximising reach achieved via the social media campaign. The popularity and success of the variety of training opportunities offered also highlights the need for continued education, across all sectors of the community, to raise awareness of and provide strategies to encourage and enable prevention of suicide.

What’s next?

With the anticipated cessation of funding for the National Suicide Prevention Trial in June 2020, representatives of the Trial have commenced working in collaboration with the Suicide Prevention Strategic Partnership Group to ensure the learnings from the Trial are incorporated into broader suicide prevention initiatives across the region. In addition, dedicated activity focusing on young-middle aged men will occur through the Mateship Matters program in the Caboolture region. This program will target men through the provision of training and wider support via sporting clubs.

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