Break O'Day chosen for national suicide prevention trial

SUICIDE PREVENTION: The municipality is one of five Tasmanian regions to be chosen for the trial. Picture: Shutterstock
SUICIDE PREVENTION: The municipality is one of five Tasmanian regions to be chosen for the trial. Picture: Shutterstock

The Break O'Day municipality has been chosen as one of five Tasmanian communities to participate in a national suicide prevention trial.

The trial aims at creating suicide prevention solutions for each community by identifying existing gaps in mental health services.

The federal government will spend $3 million on the Tasmanian trial, which will be directed at men aged over the age of 40, and women over the age of 65.

Primary Health Tasmania will implement the survey by using the Black Dog Institute’s Lifespan program.

The nine-step program uses evidence-based solutions to improve suicide prevention initiatives in smaller communities.

“The Black Dog Institute developed a systems approach to suicide prevention by reviewing all the international evidence for what actually works in suicide prevention and put together the nine-strategy framework we call Lifespan,” director of Lifespan Rachel Green said.

“Our relationship with the trial is providing implementation support – to provide access to the best evidence of the things that are most likely to have an effect.”

Ms Green also said it was important for the communities to take a proactive approach during the trial.

“We can’t actually implement anything, it’s the community itself that has to do that,” she said.

The municipality was chosen for the program due to a lack of current mental health services, according to project director Grant Akesson.

“Break O’Day was identified due to its relative remoteness to a major centre, its readiness to adopt a new approach to an existing issue and a recent reported increase in number of suicides,” he said.

Break O’Day mayor Mick Tucker also said the area had seen a higher number of suicides over the last decade, however Cr Tucker also said the council has a proactive approach to suicide prevention.

“We do have an active mental health action group in our community, and obviously we have been considered worthy to be granted an opportunity to further [our services],” Cr Tucker said.

For mental health support, Lifeline is available 24/7 on 13 11 14.