Libs have plan to prevent suicides

THE Mental Health Council of Tasmania has welcomed the Tasmanian Liberals' suicide prevention strategy, saying it will empower communities to help prevent suicide.

Opposition health spokesman Jeremy Rockliff yesterday announced the new policy, which would see the Liberals put $3 million into suicide prevention over three years.

Mr Rockliff said Tasmania had the country's highest suicide rate among people aged 15 to 45, and the second- highest rate across all age groups. He said the funding would go towards:

•Community suicide prevention plans.

•Early intervention referral pathways, especially following a suicide attempt or self-harming.

•Suicide prevention awareness training to people in key occupations.

•Ensuring Tasmanian researchers had access to information needed to allow in- depth analysis of the state's suicides.

•A youth suicide strategy.

•An analysis of suicide hot spots.

"We're encouraging communities to organise their own preventative strategies, to ensure that we can really target this problem at a grassroots level," Mr Rockliff said.

MHCT chief executive Darren Carr said he was happy the plan was built on existing initiatives, and appeared to address issues that he'd been concerned about for some time.

"We're particularly pleased to see action on identifying hot spots, and we believe that there is one definite hot spot, but there are other sites that warrant attention," he said.

Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne said suicide prevention was an important, complex issue that the government took seriously.

•If you need help or counselling contact Lifelink Samaritans 1300364566, Lifeline 131114, Kids Helpline 1800551800, MensLine Australia 1300789978, the StandBy Response Service 24-hour number on 0408133884, or beyondblue on 1300224636.

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