National suicide prevention strategy

The National Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS) provides the platform for Australia's national policy on suicide prevention with an emphasis on promotion, prevention and early intervention.

Page last updated: 17 April 2014

Background
Objectives
Components of the strategy

  1. Living Is For Everyone (LIFE) Framework
  2. National Suicide Prevention Strategy Action Framework
  3. National Suicide Prevention Program (NSPP)
  4. Mechanisms to promote alignment with and enhance state and territory suicide prevention activities

Background

In 1995, Australia was one of the first countries to establish a specific national suicide prevention strategy when the then Department of Human Services and Health initiated "Here for Life" which focussed on young people at higher risk of suicide. This brief expanded with the launch of the NSPS in 1999, as a growing body of evidence reflected concern for the risk of suicidal behaviours developing across the whole-of-life span.

Objectives

The main objectives of the NSPS are to:
  • Build individual resilience and the capacity for self‐help
  • Improve community strength, resilience and capacity in suicide prevention
  • Providing targeted suicide prevention activities
  • Implement standards and quality in suicide prevention
  • Take a coordinated approach to suicide prevention
  • Improve the evidence base and understanding of suicide prevention

Components of the strategy

The National Suicide Prevention Strategy has four key inter-related components:

1. Living Is For Everyone (LIFE) Framework

The LIFE framework sets an overarching evidence based strategic policy framework for suicide prevention in Australia.

This Commonwealth/ state/ territory framework provides a strategic plan for national action to prevent suicide and promote mental health and resilience across the Australian population. In addition, it provides a practical suite of resources and research finding on how to address the complex issues of suicide and suicide prevention.Top of page

2. National Suicide Prevention Strategy Action Framework

The action framework provides a workplan to provide national leadership in suicide prevention and policy.

The Australian Suicide Prevention Advisory Council (ASPAC) has, in collaboration with DoHA, developed the action framework which has two primary purposes:

  • To help ASPAC plan and manage the provision of confidential advice to the Australian Government through the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing on strategic direction and priorities in relation to suicide prevention and self-harm and
  • To help the Department of Health plan and manage the implementation of the National Suicide Prevention Program.
Information on the Australian Suicide Prevention Advisory Council membership and meeting outcomes

3. National Suicide Prevention Program (NSPP)

The NSPP is the Australian Government funding program dedicated to suicide prevention activities.

The funding covers two streams of activities:

  • Community based projects impacting on issues at a local level and
  • National investment largely taking a population health approach and supporting infrastructure and research.
Each stream incorporates activities across the continuum of suicide prevention supporting:
  • Universal interventions which aim to engage the whole of a population to reduce access to means, reduce inappropriate media coverage of suicide and to foster stronger and more supportive communities and schools. For example the LifeForce Suicide Prevention Training Program provides training to local leaders in urban and regional communities nationally, LIFE Communications provides a central hub for suicide prevention resources, and Mindframe and StigmaWatch carry out media monitoring for responsible reporting.
  • Selective interventions which aim to work with groups and communities who are identified as being at higher risk of suicide. For example, the StandBy Suicide Bereavement Response Service provides a 24 hour face to face response service for those bereaved by suicide, training for front line emergency response services in the community and coordination of suicide response services.
  • Indicated interventions which target individuals who are showing signs of symptoms that are strongly associated with suicide or are in circumstances that place them at highest risk of suicide. For example, telephone and peer support networks for those recently discharged following a suicide attempt; and Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) Suicide Prevention project which links those at identified risk of suicide or self-harm with psychological support services within 24 hours.Top of page
More information on the LIFE framework and projects funded under the National Suicide Prevention Program can be found on the living is for everyone website

4. Mechanisms to promote alignment with and enhance state and territory suicide prevention activities

These mechanisms particularly progress the relevant actions of related national frameworks, such as the Fourth National Mental Health Plan 2009-14.

Page last reviewed: 14 March 2013