Based on the preceding analysis of outcome measurement in the NSPP, key areas of program improvement are summarised below.
At project level:
- A taxonomy of practical, evidence-based outcome measures that could be used by NSPP-funded projects needs to be created. Once established, this taxonomy needs to be updated as new tools and measures become available and the evidence base evolves.
- A repository of NSPP-appropriate outcome measurement tools and guidance in the use of these tools would be useful. Projects were generally unaware of the range of outcome measurement tools currently available and indicated that such a repository of tools would be welcome.
- An advisory group needs to be established to provide direction on the best measures to be used by individual projects.
- Capacity building is needed at project level in terms of instrument selection, administration, analysis and reporting of outcome measures. Opportunities should be provided for information sharing among projects regarding best practice strategies to implement outcome measures. This could take the form of a best practice register .
- While validated tools are important, a mix of qualitative and quantitative outcome measures is essential to understanding lived experiences and the context-specific elements that serve as mediating factors in achieving outcomes.
- Project engagement and consultation is essential throughout this change process to ensure project buy-in.
- Oversight is needed to determine the extent to which measures have been appropriately implemented.
- Projects that apply for NSPP-funding should be assessed in terms of their capacity to conduct and report on outcome measures.
- Collaborations and partnerships between projects and the research sector need to be further developed to bridge the evidence-practice gap.
- Accountability measures need to be introduced for non-compliant projects.
- Outcome evaluation at state/territory and national level is a matter for public health specialists.
At a national level:
- Outcome measurement needs to include suicide attempts, not just completed suicides
- Data linkages are essential to facilitate outcome measurement
- Ongoing improvements are needed in suicide death data.