Date published: 
6 December 2018
Media type: 
Media release
General public

The Liberal National Government will commit to supporting the outcomes of the National Suicide Prevention Summit held in Canberra this week including development of a system which allow rapid responses to clusters of suicide in communities.

On Monday, experts, community leaders, including representatives of the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, came together to discuss new approaches in tackling Australia’s suicide rate.

I called this summit after the release of the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on causes of death in Australia. The figures released by the ABS were deeply concerning.

Figures showed that 3128 people took their own lives in 2017, an increase of 9.1 per cent from 2016.

As a result of the summit, three key recommendations were made:

  • Suicide prevention to be elevated to being a whole-of-government issue and a COAG priority.
  • Establish a national system for timely collection and communication of statistics and information on self-harm and suicide to help communities across the country respond early to emerging problems.
  • The need for Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to be strengthened to deliver evidence-based, demographically appropriate supports in their local communities.

I deeply appreciate the collective wisdom of those who came together this week to consider how we can do more to stop this tragic loss of life.

In response, I have committed to working across portfolios and state and federal governments to ensure that suicide prevention is on everyone’s radar. I will ask COAG to make an integrated, whole-of-government approach to suicide prevention a national priority.

I have also made a commitment to develop a national suicide and self-harm monitoring system to help us deliver more agile and appropriate supports for communities in need.

The National Mental Health Commission and my Department will lead the urgent development of this system, which is a vital component of the efforts to end suicide and self-harm.

They will work with stakeholders and suicide prevention experts to ensure that it incorporates best practice and knowledge from across the sector.

The Liberal National Government created the PHNs to deliver mental health and suicide prevention services that are tailored to the specific needs of local communities, and will continue to support and strengthen them to carry out this critical role.

Our Government remains committed to reducing the impact of suicide on our community and is ensuring Australians of all ages have access to the support they need to face life’s challenges.

We are prioritising better mental health for all Australians with $4.7 billion expected to be spent on mental health this financial year.

Our Government’s strong economic management ensures we continue to invest record amounts of funding into vital health initiatives including mental health, life-saving medicines, Medicare and hospitals.