- Massive $26 million commitment represents a doubling of investment
- Target to reduce suicide numbers by 50% over the next decade
- Evidence-based approach to reducing suicide risk
- New chairman of Ministerial council
An ambitious plan to halve the number of suicides and suicide attempts in Western Australia over the next decade was launched today by Treasurer Mike Nahan and Mental Health Minister Helen Morton.
Dr Nahan said the new suicide prevention strategy 'Suicide Prevention 2020: Together we can save lives' was a key State Government priority and had been funded in the 2015-16 State Budget with $26 million over four years.
"On average, we lose one person every day to suicide in WA. It's tragic," Dr Nahan said.
"This is something we can change if we work together, which is why the Government has just about doubled its initial funding to this important area."
Mrs Morton said the new strategy developed by the Ministerial Council for Suicide Prevention would fund evidence-based, targeted initiatives across six key action areas to reduce suicide risk across all stages of a person's life.
"It recognises that the biggest risk factor for suicide and self-harm is having a mental illness and a previous suicide attempt. We also know that young people, Aboriginal people and people who use alcohol or other drugs are at greater risk of suicide than the general population."
For this reason, more than half of the funding - $15.3 million - will be for co-ordinated and targeted responses for high-risk groups. This includes $9.5 million to continue a response to self-harm and suicide program in up to 60 high schools.
The strategy incorporates the latest international and national research, as well as the recommendations from evaluations and reports. It has specific actions focusing on the workplace, public awareness, community prevention, data and evidence, and training.
A detailed implementation plan is being developed to capture activity and commitments from relevant government agencies. A separate Aboriginal implementation plan and a youth engagement strategy are also being developed.
Mrs Morton also announced Dr Neale Fong as the new chairman of the Ministerial Council for Suicide Prevention.
"I thank the former chairman Peter Fitzpatrick for his commitment and dedication to the cause and wish him well for the future," she said.
"There is much work to be done and I am confident that Dr Fong, together with deputy chairman Andrew Harding and new members Dani Wright and Glenn Pearson, will provide strong strategic leadership over the next four years."
- More than $4 million will be spent on public awareness and local community prevention activities
- Six key action areas will be greater public awareness; local support and prevention programs in communities; targeted help for high-risk groups; enhancing workplace suicide prevention; more training in suicide prevention; and more information and data to improve responses
- To view the strategy, visit http://www.onelifewa.com.au
Mental Health Minister's office - 6552 6900
Treasurer's office - 6552 5700