February 2017
CEO's Corner
“The greatest gift to give an individual is hope.” This is one of the many pearls of wisdom that resonated with me at the recent memorial service for inspirational change maker Anne Deveson, held by her family and SANE Australia. 

Hope must drive everything that we do. So many individuals, families and whole communities have been devastated by the pain and suffering suicide brings when it touches our lives. What I saw at Anne’s memorial and what I see each day heading up Suicide Prevention Australia is that combination of suffering and hope. As our Lived Experience Network members and all those working in suicide prevention show each day, we are brought together by our unique experiences and united by our hope for a better future for all.

One of the things that gives me hope is the bipartisan political will for suicide prevention that we have in this country now. The level of public commitment and interest in suicide as a serious public health issue is unprecedented.

We are supporting Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to implement a new model of regional prevention. We are seeing innovative trials being run by our Member Black Dog Institute (LifeSpan) and other States/Territories and communities across Australia (with an additional funding announcement earlier this month). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention was given a $10 million boost to support the crisis support program which is a start to those long-promised implementation funds following publication of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) Report.

We have a new Health Minister in Greg Hunt and Ken Wyatt has been named as Indigenous Health Minister. A National Rural Health Commissioner will also be recruited.
This is all encouraging news but in this time of positive momentum we must not become complacent.

SPA is playing its part by supporting the community sector to contribute to the strategy framework for suicide prevention – outcomes, milestones and strategic drivers for investment that we hope will inform Government in the development of a national strategy as set out in the draft of the Fifth National Mental Health Plan. 

We drew upon the collective knowledge of members of the National Coalition for Suicide Prevention this month and, alongside SPA’s Head of Policy and Member Engagement Steve Holland and Lived Experience Network Manager Tracy McCown, we are undertaking a series of State based consultations with SPA members, Primary Health Networks, community organisations and friends. We are offering an online consultation opportunity for those who cannot make the face to face meetings (see news item below).

Next week SPA will co-host a meeting of international colleagues to discuss the ‘Zero Suicides in Healthcare’ movement and what implementation could look like in Australia. We know that work towards zero is happening in some regions and we must ensure lessons learned locally and internationally are shared. We expect many of these new learnings to be showcased at the National Suicide Prevention Conference coming up in Brisbane in July.

I, together with the SPA team, continue to work as hard as possible with our Members to be the change we want to see in suicide prevention in this country. Thank you in advance for your contribution to the national framework and please get in touch anytime with your thoughts.

Best wishes,


Amplifying your voice: Policy and advocacy priorities

  • Many thanks to all who contributed to the draft Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Suicide Prevention Discussion Paper, prepared in collaboration with the NSW Transcultural Mental Health Centre. This is now with the SPA Policy Committee for review.
  • We will be coordinating a response to The Queensland Mental Health Commission review of the 2014-2019 Queensland Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Strategic PlanThe review is seeking comment on two Discussion Papers, A renewed plan for Queensland and Engaging people with a lived experience: Renewed priorities; the government is conducting a series of consultation forums around the state as part of the review.
  • SPA has been invited to present at an Industry Expert Forum on suicide next week in Sydney (Tuesday 28 February), hosted by AON Insurance. We will be discussing the Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention 2025; the forum also includes presentations from SPA Member SuperFriend.
Get in touch with Steve Holland, our Head of Policy and Member Engagement with any comments or questions on these or other policy priorities.


Latest National Suicide Prevention Conference news

Presentation ideas under review
We were delighted to receive a 40% increase on last year’s applications for presenting an abstract at this year’s conference. These came from across research, practice and community. The review committee is now reviewing these and we will be in touch with all those who submitted abstracts over the next month. In the meantime, find out more about our confirmed international speakers on our website.
Subscribe to our Conference eNews so you don’t miss out on updates! 
Showcase your work through sponsorship
Sponsorship is a great way to support the National Suicide Prevention Conference and showcase your contribution to the sector. We still have a few opportunities available ranging from sponsoring the Welcome Reception to supporting a lived experience photography exhibition. Download the sponsorship propectus.

Community crowdfunding
We are also seeking support from the community for lived experience scholarships to attend the conference. Find out more and donate today.


Bringing governments, businesses, NFPs and individuals together to work as a team

Collaborating on the 2025 Strategic Framework 
In February 2017, the National Coalition for Suicide Prevention, in a workshop convened by Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA), initiated discussion on a 2025 Framework for Suicide Prevention. This builds on the Government commitment in the Fifth National Mental Health Plan Consultation Draft 2016, “developing a whole-of-government national suicide prevention plan’’.
The discussion outlined a proposed strategic framework that will achieve a reduction in the national suicide rate. SPA is now developing this further through a series of state wide community-sector consultations over the next three months. Consultation will involve Coalition, SPA Organisational and Associate Members, leading associations in mental health and suicide prevention, the Lived Experience Network, the Federal, State and Territory Departments of Health, the Primary Health Networks and leading researchers in the field.
The first consultation is in Perth this week. Look out for more details of other states, as we lock in dates and venues. The consultation will also involve an online survey for anyone who cannot attend the state face to face sessions.  

Putting research into action

Systems approach to suicide prevention
SPA was delighted to see so much in the news this past month about the systems approach to suicide prevention. As well as the Black Dog Institute LifeSpan project progressing well (read their Annual Report), we are seeing this model inspire additional trial sites across Australia. Read our news item here.
Zero Suicides in Healthcare
We’re excited to host the Zero Suicide in Healthcare international meeting this week, starting Sunday evening with a Welcome Reception generously hosted by Governor of NSW, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), at Government House.
Join the discussion online using #Zerosuicide and download the program hereMore on the background here        

Harnessing the voices of lived experience

Lived Experience Network (LEN) members recruited as expert advisors
Personal stories and lived experience lessons

News, views and what's new in the sector


Member Spotlight

A very warm welcome to new SPA Organisational Member, COmmunity Response to Eliminating Suicide (CORES).
CORES is a community based program which educates members of a local community on how to intervene when they encounter a person they believe may be suicidal.
We were introduced to CORES by their Chairperson, Sharon Jones, who is an active member of our Lived Experience Network having trained as a speaker, spoken at the National Suicide Prevention Conference and recruited for a number of meetings and committees.
Visit the CORES website to find out more about their work.
Interested in becoming an SPA Member? Find out more and join today via our website.


Conferences, Symposiums and Events



Plebs, Pros and Personalities for Suicide Prevention Australia (PPP4SPA)

Community Event: Friday 26 May to Saturday 27 May 2017
The PPP4SPA 24-hour treadmill challenge is back again in 2017!
If you’d like to get involved in PPP4SPA, please contact fundraising@suicidepreventionaust.org. Stay tuned for more details!
Here’s a video from 2016 showing you what it’s all about.



Opportunities to participate in research

Several of our Member organisations offer regular opportunities to get involved in research. Visit their websites (listed below) to view the latest research projects and calls for participants:

  • AISRAP (Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention)
  • Black Dog Institute 
  • Orygen, The National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health
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Contact Us:
P: GPO Box 219, Sydney NSW 2001
P: 02 9262 1130 
ABN: 64 461 352 676
ACN: 164 450 882
SPA membership opens the door for you to make a difference
SPA is a not-for-profit organisation and so members play a vital role in fulfilling our mission and ensuring representation of the diverse experiences and views of Australians. By partnering with SPA, you are showing Australia that suicide is everyone’s business and visibly helping to challenge the stigma and misconceptions around suicide.
We value all members and the contribution they make to reducing the impact of suicide. We also want to encourage the wider community to join in our efforts to halve suicide in 10 years.
Learn more about the SPA Membership Program.
Community Fundraising is an excellent way to make a difference in your community. Visit the Suicide Prevention Australia Everyday Hero page and see what others are doing - or to set up your own page!